Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Cyanotype : A photographic blueprint.

I created these cyanotypes by taking the paper with the chemicals on it outside, laying it flat on the ground in direct sunlight, then taping acetate on top and pouring on black ink and using a paintbrush to splatter it. I left this one for about 6 minutes before returning to the dark room to wash it. The paper starts off green and then turns blue when you wash the chemicals off. As you can see, the second one (pictured below) didn't work as well, and I think that this is because as I was pouring the ink onto the acetate, it wasn't actually taped down properly, and briefly moved as it was quite breezy that day. You can see that I actually got some of the ink onto the paper. However, I think that this experience was overall helpful and I think that it almost looks like it is being held under a UV light, or something of that sort. I think that it would be quite interesting to try this out using fabric, a thin one like cotton or something similar, as you would be able to see through it a little bit, and therefore would distort the image even more.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Cutting Technique - Enhance and Distort Photographs

As I can't develop colour prints in the college darkroom, I got the photographs printed and decided to distort them myself without using darkroom techniques or photoshop. I scratched into the prints, cut parts out and overall I think that this technique worked well, and has helped me to further my distortion experiments. When scratching onto the prints, I used a circular motion, so that it looked like the scratches were wrapping around the objects, for example the tree shown above. I thought that this looked distinctive and added to the effect. I also created more subtle scratches, for example on the table in the last photograph. I thought that this would make the viewer really study the image. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gerhard Richter

'Clouds (Pink)'

'Clouds (Blue)'

Gerhard Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden, and is a painter. Although this isn't photography, Richter uses a similar distortion technique to the ones I've been photographing and experimenting with, where he has a slightly blurred effect to his paintings. I particularly like the pink clouds above, as they have a 'dreamy' quality to them which is something that I want to replicate in my own photographs. The blue one has a slightly 'haunting' quality to it. I find this work really inspiring as these two photographs are of the same thing - clouds (at different times and positions however) yet they look completely different. This is something that would be good to try and recreate myself with my own work, perhaps taking photographs of an object that relates to my current work, for example trees, but take the photograph several times at different points throughout the day, for example, one in the morning, one in the early afternoon, and one in the evening when the sun is setting. I also like how there are the two lines in both images. It makes it seem more like a painting than a photograph, however it makes it seems like a 'series of three' piece or a 'puzzle', which is something that I want to explore for my final outcome with pieces of glass. 

The paintings have a grainy effect to them which I really like as this makes this makes the detail more intricate and also makes you think about whether it is a photograph or a painting, as some photographs have a grainy effect to them. This effect is more visible on the darker painting, the blue one, which could be symbolising how different the night is from the day time. I think that this relates well to the current exam theme of Inside, Outside and In-between, as the painting is of an outside setting, painted onto a canvas that will be displayed inside, but it brings the in-between space between people and the sky closer, so that they are able to see the little details of the sky, such as the different tones, the colours of the sky throughout the day, and the shadowing. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Dark Room Experiments

For my recent rolls of film, I have been developing my distortion experiments. I took the photographs with the same technique that I did with the digital - spray acetate or clear plastic with water and held it up in front of the camera lens, focusing on that so that the items that the photographs are of are out of focus, and the water creates a bokeh effect.

In the dark room, not only did I create prints of just the photographs themselves, but I also placed scratched glass on top of the photo paper as I exposed the photograph. This added to the distortion and is a simple yet effective way to develop my experiments. Just by moving the piece of glass around the paper, you could get a different scratched effect each time you made a new print, even if you were using the same negative, which is something that I really enjoyed doing. You could have a series of prints that were the same image, but by using different pieces of scratched/texture glass, you could create entirely new images every time. On one of the prints, you can see water droplet marks. Before exposing the print, I put a little bit of water on top of the glass. This is a simple way to experiment with the selective developing technique, as it doesn't ruin the paper before it is exposed as the water is on the glass. Here are some of my prints:

When I was making prints of all of the photographs, I used 5 as the setting for the filter, and the light setting was 8. 

Experiments: Liquid Emulsion

Liquid emulsion is a technique that I really like to use when creating prints. By using liquid emulsion, you can expose your photograph onto almost any kind of material - from regular paper, card, texture paper, fabric, and even glass. To create this effect, take the material that you want to use and paint the liquid emulsion onto it. You then have to leave it to dry before exposing it - make sure it is completely dry. Part of the paper was still damp when I exposed it and you can see in the bottom right hand corner that it is faded and pale, however this actually helped to distort the image further. Expose it like you normally would, but perhaps try creating a test strip with slightly longer exposures, for example for normal test strips I use 1 second intervals, but for liquid emulsion you might want to use 3 or more second intervals.  I like this technique because it creates a rough edge/effect to the photograph, especially if not all of the material has been covered equally. This also adds to the distorted idea that I am currently exploring.

The test strip didn't work so well, as I think the exposure intervals were too long, so I shortened it and it worked quite well.

The below image is the test strip, and as you can see, it didn't work, however the final print turned out well and because of the photograph that I took (the water droplets), it created an interesting bokeh, blurred effect which looks quite ghostly. I particularly like the rough appearance to the image, as when I painted on the liquid emulsion, it was perfect (mainly because I painted it on in the dark room, and it was harder to see). You can see the brush strokes very clearly and I also layered up the liquid emulsion, so you get a varied surface for the photograph to be exposed onto.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Photo Transfer onto Glass : Final Outcome Idea

Images and inspiration and idea from here.

Photo transfer is an old technique, and fairly simple to create. On the blog linked above, I saw that she had tried out photo transfer onto glass, and I have to say that I really love how this looks. She used beach glass to create it, which gives the images a rough and cloudy effect.

How to create this technique :

Print off your image onto regular inkjet paper (if it's a dark room print, scan it in and print it off in the same way)

Trim and stick the photograph face down onto the glass with 'Mod Podge'

Allow to dry and then the paper in water before rubbing the paper off of the glass.

Not only will this transfer the image onto the glass, but it also gives it a ghostly quality to it.

I think that this would be a really creative final outcome piece for me, as not only is is something new that I haven't done with any of my other outcomes, but the technique itself adds to the idea of distortion. The outcome would be distorted even if I hadn't distorted the original image, which is something that I think looks really interesting.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Photo Transfer

Although for my final outcome, I want to do photo transfer onto glass, I decided to first try it out on paper, to see how the technique worked, and to give me an idea on how long to let the 'mod podge' dry for. I got the tutorial here, but the method to creating this is fairly simple:

-Print off your image onto paper (it works best with an ink jet printer, as I tried it with a laser printer and it didn't work as well). I used photographs that were quite vibrant in their colours so you might want to edit it a bit before you print it off. Then get the material that you want to transfer your image onto, in my case I used sketchbook paper.

-Cut the image to size and apply 'mod podge' to the image - I used a paintbrush and applied a couple of layers before then sticking the image face down onto the sketchbook paper. I left it to dry for a few hours, before returning. I think that this technique would work best if you left it to dry overnight, as I tried this technique several times, and before I had not left it for very long, and there for it hadn't worked very well.

-I then just took a clean sponge and got it damp, before pressing it onto the image. When the paper was then damp, I began to use my finger to rub off the paper. You have to be careful not to ruin the sketchbook paper, as this can easily happen when the paper is wet. As you can see in the photographs above, not all of the paper came off, leaving a white, cloudy look to the image, which personally I really like as it distorts the image further.

Overall, I really liked this technique, and will definitely be using it in my exam.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Exam Review

The themes that I am currently working on for the inside, outside and in-between exam topic is the everyday. I originally intended to do portraiture, however I felt that this was similar to previous work that I had done, and so I changed my idea to the everyday, as although it is a simplistic theme, it can be explored in many ways which is something that drew me to the idea. I think that my most successful experiment has been with distortion, which is something that I want to continue with and develop with for my exam. 

I think that this technique has worked particularly well for my experiments and to further my developments I could look at using different coloured inks as apposed to just water, and perhaps experiment with the 'colour splash' techniques so the background is in black and white and the ink is the only thing in colour, or the other way around. I plan to refine my ideas further by also experimenting with black and white film, and perhaps even colour film. An artist that I have researched in relation to this idea is Jorma Puranen, who is a photographer that inspired me as he has also used the technique that I have shown above. To recreate a piece to be more like his, I would use experiment with both cool tone and warm tone colours, and simpler surroundings/objects to focus on. What I love about his work is that he uses textures and distortion to make the photographs look like an oil painting:

In the two weeks before the exam, I want to really use my lesson time wisely by taking full advantage of dark room, and really experimenting with distortion for example, using scratched glass and creating handmade negatives by using cellophane, salt and washing up liquid to create interesting techniques. I also think that overlaying the cellophane can make the photograph appear fragmented where the ends of the cellophane meet. I also want to experiment more with using other materials to create photographic prints, for example, using liquid emulsion and also using different types of paper (for example, coloured paper, card, graph paper, textured paper). Also experimenting with building on top of my photographs, for example by using fabrics, paints, and more. Not only will this add to my collection of experimentations, but it will also help me to decide on how I want to present my final outcome - what do I want to do with the final negatives/photographs? For example, I might keep it simple and just pin the photographs onto card or foamboard, so that they stand out without a busy background taking attention away from the photographs themselves, or I could print the photographs onto fabric and create some sort of installment.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Digital Distortion

Over the Easter holidays, I visited Orlando, Florida, and I decided that with the photographs that I took, it would be interesting to use Photoshop/Gimp to distort them to see how they turned out. I tried lots of different experiments, such as the LOMO effect of gimp, as well as changing colours and adding light orbs to distort them. I personally really like the middle one, as it is the most distorted and makes the viewer wonder about what the photograph could be of (Hogsmeade Village). The photographs above were taken at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal.

For the above photograph, taken at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, I experimented with the lomography effect of gimp, as well as adding a slight neon outline, which you can see if you look closely, especially at the Magic Kingdom itself, as well as the statue of Walt and Mickey.
This photograph above was taken at SeaWorld, and I didn't do much to this when editing, but if you look close up, you can see a slight mosaic effect.