Gum Bichromate Printing for Days

My misadventures in gum printing continue. This time I was a bit frustrated with the results I was getting and I had a stack of prints I hated and wanted to burn. Instead of burning them though, I did some experiments with bleach. I got a lot of different results, but I’m pretty pleased with how it went and I’m already making plans to use bleach to add to the content of my next images.

But anyway– here have some more gum prints:

Let’s start with this one. I worked in my bathtub like all the well-equipped photographers do, and I filled it with water about 1/4″. I then put about 1/3 cup of bleach into the water, submerged the picture, and waited two minutes to rinse it off.

Oh yeah, you wanna rinse these off or the bleach will keep on bleachin’.

Before, the image was dark and murky. I wish I had a before photo to show you, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. The bleach lightened it up and brought out the background. Yay!

This one was fun– not. I was trying to make a vignette with the bleach, but, uh, see the top left? I got carried away. So I just said whatever and immersed this one in the bathtub that had like a capful of bleach for twenty minutes, and then I took a brush and was just making marks on it. Talk about strange.

Yeah. I splattered bleach on this one and got carried away. Whoops.

 

I got super excited over this one. I made drops on the print this time, and they remind me of fairy lights. I also bleached my subjects, trying to bring them out of the background, but this was before I realized I needed to rinse the prints to get the bleaching to stop, so I brought them out so much they turned into ghosts. But I’m thrilled with that, because, I mean, look at the picture. It’s already creepy.

Ohhh this one. When I put it in the tub, I put the image face down. I was thinking about the gum bichromate process, where you put your image face down in the tray for development. I left my print alone for 20 minutes (I did this one the same time I did the failed-vignette,) and when I came back my bathtub somehow drained and the print was just chillin’ on the bottom of my tub. My bathtub has some swirly groove things, which apparently held onto the bleach, thus creating this cool image.

I played with the darkness and the colors of the prints a little bit in Photoshop, to make them look more dreamy/trippy. I think I succeeded.

That’s my latest update with these. I’m going to try a new negative process to try and get the colors I want, so wish me luck.

Happy Shooting!

 

Cyanotypes are the Stuff of Dreams

I’ve been itching to make cyanotypes, like, poison-ivy with itching powder on top kind of itching. We experimented a little bit in class last week, and I had a bit of fun. I brought in all kinds of objects: flat, round, small, large, opaque, translucent… And the results make me want to do more.

I also brought in medium format negatives and color slide negatives. The medium format negatives didn’t come out, despite being exposed for over half an hour, but my color slide ones gave some results. And here is why: cyanotypes respond to the blue parts of the light spectrum, so the more an object is transmitting blue light, the better. My color slide negatives were tungsten film, so they already had a blue tint to them, whereas my medium format negatives were orange, hence the struggle. My color slide negatives sat out in the sun for a little over 20 minutes, and I found the images that were higher-contrast came out better than the ones that didn’t. I want to try medium format again, to try and see what is the sweet-spot for exposure time.

Writing about this made my heart beat faster. I can’t wait to make more! I have to make some that relate to my semester-long theme of “dreams,” and I definitely think cyantoypes fall into the dreamlike category of image-making.

Happy Shooting (or Cyanotyping!)

The Story of the Girl from Bath

When I was in Bath, I did a shoot with my friend, Caroline. It was done on my Minolta Weathermatic A with expired 110 Pocket Film from Fukkatsu. I dressed her up in my classical-looking dress and dragged her around in public all day. Here are the results:

This is the story of a girl who is lost in a different time. When I initially thought of doing this shoot, I was thinking I was going to have a classical shoot, as in I would just stick Caroline in front of old buildings and such. However, when we were driving through the city, I saw a motor bike parked up against a Georgian-style building. Do you see where this is going? Well, you should because you can literally see the photo shoot above.

So, she is a girl in a classical dress that looks eerily similar to the gauze-like fabric that is portrayed on Roman statues, and has a lace collar and cuffs, reminiscent of the 19th century. She is in a city that is just like her- only she doesn’t have the trimmings of the modern-day world. Juxtaposition, my friends. Juxtaposition.

As for the quality of the photos: I love the grain, I love how she seems to glow in some pictures, and I love the faded saturation. These elements fit the narrative I was going for extremely well. Hooray for adding to content!

It is always such a thrill to shoot in different formats. I’m looking forward to trying even more things during my stay here! I really wish that there was a LomoLab near where I live in the States, because it is super convenient to drop off my fancy/weird/rare film and be able to pick it up within a week, instead of mailing it off, praying it gets to NYC, and waiting over a month to get the scans. I’m going to miss this luxury.

Yesterday I went to the White Cliffs of Dover and did another photo shoot with a friend. Now, to wait for the slides. I shot it with tungsten film, so here’s to hoping I get the effect I desire. Even though trying new things is cool, it’s still risky and anxiety inducing. Mais, c’est la vie.

Happy Shooting!