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  • Beate Gillson

Photogram's and Luminogram's

Both processes are camera less and developed around 1842 by William Henry Fox Talbot, but reported and possibly done long before photography existed. First mentioned at 1727 by Johann Heinrich Schulze. Talbot’s friend Anna Atkins published at 1843 her beautiful botanic cyanotype impressions using photogram methods. The first after WW1 to use household detritus like dust or shoestring was Christian Schad, who titled them as a wordplay ‘Schadowgraphs’ (shadowgrams) and revived around the 1920s by Man Ray, who claims wrongly to have invented the photogram. Primarily for scientific purpose and the enhancement of knowledge, rather than artistic expression used. They are more reminiscent of X-rays, or photocopies, than photographs. Mystify the object, rather than expose them directly. Peculiar and vague familiar do we recognize the silhouettes of overlapping grey/brown shaded objects. Those objects have been placed over light sensitive paper and exposed. They show negative shadows. The light-untouched surface stays white, also depending on the opacity, or transparency of the object. Luminograms are a form of photogram’s, where the object is not touching the surface of the light sensitive paper. I like to place the photo paper at night-time under water, and either wait for the moon to work as light source, or I torch for seconds to capture microorganisms floating by. The images appear only after the full cycle of development in the dark room.




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