|What:||30" x 40" black and white photograms|
|Where:||Murphy's Mug in Murphy Library|
|When:||Second half of fall semester, 2009, when Murphy's Mug is open.|
|Reception:||To be announced.|
An exhibit of photograms created by UW-L photography students is on display in Murphy’s Mug in the library. The exhibit is titled “Vo De” (Untitled), and is the work of 18 students in Linda Levinson’s Black and White Photography Course (Art 272)
Students whose works are in the exhibit are: Kirk Benson, Daniel Chihak, Ashley Eide, Nicole Feldmeier, Seth Forecki, Jaclyn Garrow, Andrea Gaustad, Sarah Higley, Yuhan Luo, Van Ngo, Derrick Olheiser, Justin Panich, Anne Plunkett, Peter Poppele, Kenneth Rosales, Chelsea Roscovius, Savanna Westbrook, Elizabeth Wuensch.
Photograms are essentially camera-less photographs that involve
placing an object such as a leaf or piece of lace on paper that
as been treated with chemicals and exposing this to the sun or
other light source. The process is similar to getting a tan in
the sun. The action of light darkening the paper can actually be
observed and does not require any developer to create the
photographic image; it is light that creates the observable
Students worked at an enlarger station in the Beginning Darkroom with several sheets of RC photographic paper and a selection of objects either found or created for this assignment. They had to consider the opacity of the objects they collected and map out the placement of the objects prior to making an exposure. They learned how to make a “positive” print from a “negative” photogram.
The photogram is one of the earliest forms of photography, going back to 1834 when William Henry Fox Talbot, the British inventor of paper photography, began his photographic experiments with light sensitive materials.
His first examples involved coating a sheet of writing paper in a darkroom with a solution of Sodium chloride (ordinary table salt) dissolved in water, with a second coat of Silver nitrate dissolved in water, then placing an object such as a leaf or piece of lace on the sensitized paper and exposing this to the sun. Exposures depended on the intensity of sunlight on any particular day and ranged anywhere from several minutes – in direct sunlight – to several hours – on an overcast day. The area of the paper receiving the most sunlight would slowly darken due to the sun’s action on the light sensitive silver halide compound present on the paper while the area of the paper under the leaf (in shadow) would remain white and unexposed.
After exposure, the paper with the object on top is brought back into the darkroom where the object is removed and the paper is submersed into a fixing bath. One of the first fixing agents Talbot used was a solution of Sodium chloride. This fixer seemed to stabilize the photographic image at first, but was soon replaced by a stronger and much more reliable fixing agent, Sodium thiosulphate, or hypo, that was discovered by Talbot’s contemporary, Sir John Herschel, in the early 1840s.
People can view the exhibit at Murphy’s Mug during its open hours from 7:45 am – 2:00 pm, Monday – Friday and 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday – Wednesday. An opening reception will be announced in the near future