Photograms capture the shadow of a object that is defined by light shinning down on the photographic paper underneath. Its another alternative processes that reveals the truth about objects and captures how it lies on the surface. Many photographers have used photograms as the basis of their work. Man Ray used photograms as part of the surrealist movement and called them ‘Rayographs’; images that brought to life the shapes and subject he brought to life through his work.

Learning about photograms was interesting because it was a popular alternative process that made surreal shadows of everyday objects and even the human form. Researching the work of Floris Nesuss as part of a group task I developed a real passion for the process. Its dream like quality with thick tones and unbelievable form struck a cord. The process itself was pretty simple but the techniques that you add to it at a more advanced level become harder.

How to make a Photogram

Ensure you’re in a darkroom or a dark room

1 / Ready the light source (directional light or a photographic enlarger) so it fits the size of you’re paper

2 / Make a quick test strip with all or some of the items on to figure out the exposure for the final image (Develop the test strip)

3/ Position everything onto the full size sheet of photographic paper and expose it on the settings from the most accurate test time (typically 9-11seconds on f8 on an enlarger)

4/ Remove all objects and develop the paper (as described) to see the results

You’ll be left with a black and white photographic print of the objects you selected


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