Monday, 3 March 2014


A picture produced with photographic materials, such as light-sensitive paper, but without a camera.

Photograms are unique and created using photosensitive light paper and placing objects on the paper before shining a light on it. The action of the light acts as a camera and captures the image on the paper. 

Photograms were originally used to gain scientific record of natural objects. Before it was used in a artistic way throughout many periods of art including surrealist and constructivist. Recently photograms have become a way of showing artistic expression and producing a range of imagery. 

Traditionally, photograms are black and white due to the chemicals used to produce them. However, if you find the right chemicals you can create colour versions. Photograms, I feel, are simple and elegant they can tell a story with just the use of objects and colours. 

Photograms Mood Board

The reason I chose these images from my Google Search was because I liked the idea of merging human figures to create a photogram. Also I found the colour ones to be truly beautiful. The Bird of Paradise flower photogram combines colours in a stunning way. Also the up close blurred images of the women look stunning. They are simply elegant which I like. 

Brainstorming for My Photograms

Looking at my previous research I like the idea of creating emotional artwork. I want to create something which has a strong meaning and will evoke a powerful emotion from the audience. Therefore I want to use a female model and blurred imagery. This is because looking at the mood boards I have done these are very interesting. I brainstormed this idea in my busy book based on my initial brainstorm. 

From my mood board and brainstorm I am planning on trying to reproduce the photogram showed on the side. The photogram was done by German artist Floris Neussus as part of a exhibition including work from the 1960s. I like the simple elegance of this piece and I feel how the artist has positioned the model is very interesting. I want to experiment with this within my own photograms but I will use a Barbie doll instead of a female model. 



I used a Barbie doll as the main object for my photograms as I liked how artists in my mood board used people to create a image. Also a key thing I wanted to explore from my previous research was eating disorders, and many argue that media influences young girls to be skinny e.g. a Barbie doll which is 'perfect'. 

The main thing about these photograms was trial and error. I needed to experiment with the light and developer to work out what is the best way of getting a good clear photogram. Please note these are photographs of the photograms THE ORIGINALS ARE IN MY BUSY BOOK please look at these as they are much better quality.

This was my first trial. I found it didn't work very well. I feel it was a combination of over exposing the paper and leaving it too develop too long. The hand is visible and parts of the lower body but that's it. Compared to the work in my mood board which explored this idea, my version didn't work as well. Also the key thing I like about photograms is the contrasting colours and this is lost here as the overall thing is far too dark. 
This image is much better, I only exposed it to the light for 5 seconds which meant it didn't absorb too much. However, I placed lace either side of Barbie to try and create a delicate feel to the image. This wasn't great as it was so thin it didn't block out enough light to create a clear image. Yet Barbie is far more clear in this photogram which I prefer as she is the main feature of this photogram. 
This was my final photogram. I placed the Barbie into a 'awkward' position and shuffled her skirt around. I found where the skirt had been overlaid on itself more it made a sharper white colour which developed as the skirt got thinner. Also the love heart pattern on her dress is slightly visible which adds a sense of romance to the piece. However, where I have placed it in the developer with my hands it has left finger prints on the image which is slightly annoying. However the prints are over her heart, this repeated idea of a heart could symbolise love and romance, linking to the idea of relationships, something I explored in my brainstorm. 

Editing my Photograms

I liked the second two photograms, I took these into Photoshop and played around with exposure and colour. 

For this image I used a basic editing process, I adjusted the levels, curves, exposure and colour balance. I aimed to make the Barbie stand out more and I feel I did this. However, there is a bit of a burn mark almost on the left side of the image. This is due to the lighting when I photographed the photogram and how it flashed back at the camera causing that part to be more illuminated. 
For this image I adjusted the levels, curves and exposure again. However I wanted to enhance the love hearts on the dress so selected them and copied them onto a new layer. I then placed a red layer over the top and overlaid the image using 'hard light'. From this the red was far too prominent so I changed the opacity down to 33%, this still wasn't great however, so I used a round soft brush with a 50% opacity and rubbed out the hearts.

Additional Photograms

After doing the last three photograms I went back into the darkroom and started investigating more with how long the light was on and how long the photogram was in the developer. I focused more on perfecting the process of making a photogram than the content of the photogram itself. Therefore they don't link perfectly to my ideas about growth and evolution. These are photographs of the originals. Originals can be found in my BUSY BOOK so please look in this. 

This was my first attempt back in the dark room. I placed a dolls dress over the paper and a sheet of acetate with a photograph of a couple on top of the paper. I shone the light on for 5 seconds and then placed it in the developer for around 30 seconds. I feel the photogram has photographed better and the lighting of the photo emphasis the blacks and whites creating clear chiaroscuro which I like. I feel the dress looks beautiful in this photogram and the couple suggests that this could be a wedding dress from the couple. Highlighting an idea of love and relationships - something I looked at in my brain vomit. 

With regards to this photogram, the silhouette of the head looks good but its not as prominent as I would have hoped. This could be due to leaving the light on for only 3 seconds it may have needed more to fully penetrate. However, the lace looks beautiful and where the light has caught certain aspects parts of it are brighter. The stands out most in the image. However, it is a bit grey/sepia whereas I feel photograms should show a clear contrast between black and white. Therefore I needed to leave it in the developer longer. 

This photogram was an experiment to see how colour photograms worked. I wasn't sure if its do to with the light or the chemicals. I used a purple plastic wallet with a cross pattern on the top and placed the paper underneath. I put a skull on the top as I liked the sharp outline and felt it may give a good outline/silhouette. However, this didn't work I found that it was still black and white, therefore you need to use different chemicals to get the colours rather than light. The plastic gave a blurred look over the whole thing and the skull wasn't fully pressed against the paper therefore light came in underneath so it wasn't a clear silhouette. 
This was my favourite photogram. It clearly showed the difference between black and white and looked beautiful. I used a dolls dress again but this time placed it under a sheet of glass which meant no light could enter underneath the dress giving it this clear cut shape. The edges where the lace is look ghostly which gives a interesting effect. This is all something I can play with as I start developing my ideas. 

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