Hand Coloured Digital Photograms…(c) 2013 Sharon Greenaway.
I am delving into digital photograms, a technique I have been working on, on and off, since 2008 when I was inspired to try this after working in the wet lab at university.
At university we worked on creating photograms (taking a picture without using a camera) in the darkroom. Now that I am far away from that lab I am enjoying creating similar imagery in a digital environment.
I use a flat bed scanner to scan the objects, laying them as flat as possible onto the glass top. I know I will get a limited depth of field, which adds to the magic of not being quite sure what I will achieve – very similar to working in the wet darkroom.
I can then simply close the lid down onto the objects and scan them or more often than not I need to cover the objects with material in order to block out all other light. This latter piece is particularly important if you are using objects that are too thick for the lid to close down completely onto the glass top.
I then preview the scan to ensure there is enough light scanning the objects. If I am not happy I will adjust the settings until I get a result that appeals. I find though that even doing this the end result will sometimes offer surprises that I only see when I save the scan and enlarge it.
As I am using a fixed sized flat bed scanner (A4) and am limited to that size for the photograms I tend to design the layout of the image onto a piece of paper beforehand. However when working with light weight objects such as feathers that move with any breeze I am often presented with an image that is not quite what I had designed…but for me this is part of the magic of photograms.
I have been printing in my studio these photograms in colour and monochrome on good quality photographic art paper; the latter I have been hand colouring using pastel pencils. I love the control that I get with pencils…I’ve never been able to paint anything other than the walls of our home!
The images I am working on will form a new body of work which I hope to show later in the year, entitled Remanoir. This work celebrates the changing seasons by endeavouring to capture the beauty of the natural world found in my own small PLACE in Central Victoria. Each year I see and hear and smell the changing seasons of my home. Without the sounds of the birds, yes bees, flies (ugh) frogs, and so on living here would consist of quietness, solitude, human sourced voices such as cars, trucks, airplanes, mowers, air scatter guns, sudden metallic bangs, silence, house noises- television, washing machine, shower, etc etc.
For me first and foremost in my view of what is important here are the birds…calls,colour,character…as they dart about in the trees, scatter on the ground, wash in the bird bath or under a sprinkler or in the rain…they make this area a unique and wonderful home. Layered with them are the insects that dart in the garden, honey bees,blue banded bees, grasshoppers of all sorts, preying mantis, flies of all shapes and sizes, ants of all sizes, mozzies (ugh) butterflies such as the vibrant orange Monarch, tiny yellow ones, cabbage moths (are they really a moth) pale blue ones, etc.
As the seasons change these creatures live and die, often the only evidence of them being here is a feather or two (or many) wings of a dead butterfly, empty nests, gum nuts scattered over the ground or bark and branches stripped from the trees and tossed aside.
My body of work is inspired by these natural parts of the Junortoun bush where I lovingly live.
Word and Visual Art