Teaching Materials - Exercise

Photogram

Name of Artist Educator: Chris Wong
Level:
Excercise Category: Technical exercise

Photogram was originally used for scientific purposes in research of plant structure. This technique was later employed by artists and became one of the media in artistic creation.


Concept / Inspiration:

Photogram was originally used for scientific purposes in research of plant structure. This technique was later employed by artists and became one of the media in artistic creation.

Photogram was originally used for scientific purposes in research of plant structure. The image is made without a film. By placing objects directly onto the sensitised paper, areas that are exposed to light will turn black, the areas covered by the object will turn white. This technique was later employed by artists such as Christian Schad, Man Ray, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and became one of the media in artistic creation.


Goals:

  • To let student grasp the photogram technique and understand image development process.

Materials / Equipment:

  • A box of photographic paper (Llford multigrade photo paper (glossy))
  • Objects prepared by students
  • Photographic developer
  • Photographic fixer
  • Timer
  • Torchlight and the light used on an ancestor altar, i.e. red light bulb (applicable at school)

Location:

Darkroom


Workshop Description:

Duration: 3 hours

  1. Instructor asks students to bring along objects of different textures for the experiment, such as their personal belongings, plants, and plastic bags, etc.
  2. Two students share the space and shoot together. They should plan carefully beforehand and have a clear idea of the image they want to create.
  3. As the next step needs to take place in a darkened room, students need to arrange the subjects on the desk according to their design when the light is still on.
  4. Switch off the light and put the sensitised paper in the device. Place the arranged items on the device. Switch on the spotlight for a while.
  5. Develop the film. The development process can reference “Dark Room Skills – Developing Photographic Paper”.
  6. At last, students can share their work and difficulties encountered.

Note 1: Even at school, the activity needs to take place in a totally dark room. The spotlight of the machine can be replaced with torchlight of different intensity, while the red-coloured safelight in a darkroom can be substituted with the light used on an ancestor altar. While the photographic paper is not sensitive to red light, a red-coloured light can be used to illuminate the darkroom for safety purposes, for example, it can indicate the power switch without compromising the work in the darkroom.


Expected Outcome:

Students could create with objects and planned composition. By controlling the extent of exposure of the photographic papers, students could create a wide range of tones from white, through shades of grey to black, recreating the themes and objects lively on the photograms.


Actual Outcome:

During class:

Instructor reminds students to pay attention to the exposure time which could affect the colour tone of the photo. Colour tone of photos could affect audience’s understanding of the photos.

1 2


Work:

12 11

10 9 8 7

6 5 4 3


Student Feedback:

“Photogram is very interesting. I like this medium”

“Photogram is easier than self-made pinhole camera in terms of capturing the image.”


Reference Materials:

Photogram: http://www.photograms.org/