Lumen Prints

I had come across a form of photogram called Lumen Prints, from Christina Z. Anderson’s book Experimental Photography Workbook, 6th Edition. The process is simple: arrange objects on a sheet of regular B+W paper, place under glass, place in sun for several hours. Use standard silver gelatin paper as a Printing Out Paper. Then wash in water to get any crud off, and fix and archival rinse to get a one of a kind print.

lumen-1600

I’ve been mostly in bed these past few days, and on various drugs.

Woke up early this morning with a bit more energy than recently, grabbed a knife and sliced off a calla lily flower, a leaf and a sprig of salvia. The callas are huge – grabbed a 16×20 sheet of matte Ilford warm tone. Sliced the calla in half lengthwise. Wet paper, place on plywood, arranged elements, flattened with large piece of plate glass. Exposed slightly under three hours in morning sun.

Rinsed off the organics from the paper thoroughly, fixed in rapid fixer, archival wash.

What fascinated me about the process is the long exposure, printing out approach, and interaction with organic material cause the B+W paper to display colors. There’s a hint of red from the salvia leaf, there’s a hint of green in the calla stem, maybe yellow. All these colors are relative to a decided overall moody warm brown. The water I used to wet the paper to make better contact with the plant pieces create a textured background. The examples in Chris’s book show much more outrageous color effects.

The motivation to tackle this came from a discussion in my Photo History and Concepts class at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, being taught by Peter Tonningsen. We covered Adam Fuss’s innovative photogram work, which should be the subject of a future dedicated blog post.

Chris told me that Larry Burchfield fully developed this process. I found a quick how to by Sarah Lycksten on alternativephotography.com.

Tres cool. My first sort of successful photogram actually.

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