Casting a Shadow

In the 1840’s, after friend Sir John Herschel invented the cyanotype photographic process, Anna Atkins began making photograms of scientific specimens. To this day interesting and unique photograms are still being produced by photographic artist around the globe.

A few months back I posted about dry-plate artist Jayne Hinds Bidaut and her photogram work on gelatin dry-plates. Recently I ran into a few more photographic artists working with photograms that caught my interest.

By Stephanie Valentin

The image above is by Australian artist Stefanie Valentin which is a part of her Ether series. Valintin’s primary focus is color photograms of butterflies, moths, and other insects and scientific elements. To learn more about Stefanie Valentin and see more of her work, please visit the Stills Gallery.

By Keith Carter

The image above is “Two Swallowtails #2” which is part of a project called “Talbot’s Shadow” by Keith Carter. Carter has the following to say about the project:

“This series was inspired by my admiration for the work of William Henry Fox Talbot, who invented the positive/negative process from which modern photography is descended. Some of Talbot’s earliest experiments involved placing objects (such as a leaf or a fragment of lace) on a piece of sensitized paper and exposing it to sunlight. He called these images “shadow pictures”. I have attempted to blend this elegant 19th century process with 21st century techniques.

To create the original image I have used a photographic paper that has been continuously manufactured since the 19th century. Objects were placed on the paper and exposed to light, then treated in arcane chemistry, including gold and platinum toners. The resulting 20×24 image is one-of-a-kind.

Chromogenic prints are then made to translate that unique image into a small, carefully matched edition. This series, called Talbot’s Shadow, is printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper.”

Keith Carter is an internationally recognized photographer and educator. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website.

Would you be interested in a DVD doc about Keith Carter? Go here for a quick 4 minute preview of an available fim.

~ by Phil Nesmith on October 14, 2007.

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