Creating a Photogram

Review: Photograms are unique photographs made by placing a variety of transparent, translucent, and opaque
objects directly upon the surface of photographic paper, and recording the shadows they cast from the light of the enlarger. Step One: Arrange objects into an interesting composition (see your sketchbook ideas!) Review: What makes an interesting composition? • A visual pathway • Interesting break-up of positive & negative space • Variety of sized shapes • Shapes touch the edges of the frame. Note: If objects can be easily flattened (such as leaves, flowers, etc.) you might consider placing them directly inside of a glass easel upon the photo paper. If objects cannot be flattened, place them on top of the glass of the easel, or directly on the paper itself.

Step Two: Make a test strip Review: Make sure you review the correct procedure for making a test strip! Set enlarger aperture to f8 or f16, set enlarger timer to 2-3 seconds. Note: Since some objects will stick up above the surface of the photo paper, you may have to hold your opaque cardboard (for creating test strip times) above the easel. Assess your test strip and determine the correct exposure time for making your photogram by looking for the first exposure that shows the darkest blacks and the lightest whites. Step Three: Make a well-exposed print. Note: Your final exposure may be whatever size you would like, 5x7 or 8x10. Record your aperture setting and exposure times for future use!

Step Four: Experiment! Review: Your problem for this assignment is to create a series of 3-5 high quality, well-composed photograms that visually illustrate a metaphorical story or relationship between your objects. How can you experiment with exposure times, multiple exposures, and movement to further develop an interesting composition or relationship between objects?


Multiple Exposures:

The illusion of movement can be made in both an implied and literal way, you can make multiple exposures of an object to suggest movement, or you can literally move an object by rolling, blowing, or sliding it across the surface of the photo paper while its exposing! (see hints below and on back!)

What does this mean? A multiple exposure is created when more than one exposure is made upon a photographic surface at one time. Points to consider when making a multiple exposure: When you expose photo paper more than once, you run the risk of overexposing it. How can you avoid overexposure? Hint: A smaller aperture on the enlarger will reduce the amount of light that is projected, which will in turn allow you to expose multiple times, (or for longer times) without overexposing the paper. Another Hint: Shorter exposure times will “freeze” an object in place without overexposing your paper, just make sure you have enough light (by opening/closing the aperture) to allow these shorter exposures to appear.