Tag Archives: contact prints

tiles and lumen prints

i have been making lumen prints for a while now they are created by putting things onto a piece of photo paper and leaving it in the sun.  the sun makes a photogram or prints a negative or both.
i have made these lumen prints with cameras as well, leaving the camera open for an extended period of time, sometimes 3/4 an hour, sometimes 6 or 7 hours.   sometimes i even use cameras i made by hand, the largest camera i have made was 12×16″, i have sold a few too.

recently i started to coat plates with photo emulsion again.  i did this years ago as a student, but i made darkroom or in camera exposures to be
developed out using developer, and traditional darkroom chemistry.

two of them looked like this:


from glass plate

lumen plate








lumen plate

exposed in a cyclone #5









a few days ago i decided to use some water color paper/ velum i have coated with a few layers of photo emulsion.  like with the plates
the emulsion was old, expired and given to me by a friend  ( thanks winger ! )   i put a clipping from the

flowering forsythia bush on the paper
and left it in the sun for an hour, or hour and a half.  i scanned what i could of the image and inverted it in photoshop and the image looked like this:




1-1.5 hour exposure








i replicated it a few times and made some tiles:



photoshop duplicated








most of the images you find here are available on imagekind printed on paper, or canvas.


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i have been spending more time at chepiwanoxet island these days.
years ago it was an island, but when the gaulidette airplane factory was
there, they trucked in dirt and linked it to the cove. no one knows
what chepiwanoxet means. i have an old dictionary of new england place names
and their english translations and it refers to chepiwanoxet island as “devil’s island”.
a few years ago i spoke with a elder of the narragansetts and when i mentioned that name
he got very upset. he said if i wanted a clue to the island name’s meaning
go in the morning or evening, and look to the north, south, east and west,
and maybe i would learn from experiencing.

the other day i was there with my box camera, i walked and listened, i walked and looked.
these views are what i felt and saw when i was there. the bay was quiet,
and silently lapped the shoreline. the wind blew through the weeds and tall grass.
i saw potowomut ( land of fire ), and cowesset ( place of the small pines )
and everything was still.

i also have a copy of the dictionary roger williams created
so he could learn the narragansett language.
if offers some clues too, but spellings are different.
chépewess means a northern storme of war,
chepassotam mean dead sachim
and chepasquaw means dead woman …

maybe if it was the place of a fierce battle, or where many people may have died
or a place where one could be touched by the spirit world.
it seemed quiet and offered a place of reflection when i was there.

i plan on going back sometimes soon, maybe my camera will help me
learn the true meaning …


the sea was quiet and wind was whispering
the birds didn’t see me as they sunned
i walked the shoreline, scattered with the
remnants of staples and airplanes
and looked across to the other side

looking north south east and west

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Cyclone #3 Camera

many years ago i bought a cyclone #3 camera on ebay.  at the time, i was buying old falling plate cameras, removing the shutters, cleaning them, and reselling them.  i worked on and sold many of them, mostly long format box cameras, some with variable speed shutters, some with just and instantaneous speed ( 1/30thS sometimes faster ).  the design was simple and worked very well.  in the days before roll film, glass plates were loaded up inside the camera in metal septums after the exposure, a button was depressed and the glass plate would fall to the front of the camera on a rail, and the next plate was ready to expose.  after i stopped fixing and selling them, i bought one last one, one that took 4×5 plates, the cyclone #3.

a few years ago, i stripped the dried, mottled broken leather off the wood box.  i took a paper towel and made it wet, and scrapped it right off.  i cleaned the cobwebs out of the inside of the camera, removed front plate where the shutter was, and put a drop of oil on the shutter.  the camera was ready to use.

i put sheets of 4×5 paper in each of the 8 septums and went out and made some exposures.  i processed the paper negatives in old print developer to control the contrast, i’d scan or contact print the results, it was a lot of fun  …  i hadn’t used the camera in over a year and picked it up again the other day.   i loaded it up with 4×5 film and made some exposures.  soon after i cut 5×7 paper in half and used a enlarger filter ( #2 ) to cut the contrast a little bit.    i went to the cove near my house and photographed the marsh and the beach weeds.


paper negative grass

the point

marsh near the point

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cyanotypes and sun prints

i have been kind of busy the past few weeks and haven’t had a chance to update my blog.  since my last post i have added about 60 or 80 images to my selling page on Imagekind.com ( my gallery is jnanian.imagekind.com ) .  i’ve been selling work there for a few months now, and i am donating 100% of the proceeds to disaster relief efforts in japan.  i was spending too much time infront of my computer screen …  one thing lead to another and i have been seeing a chiropractor for a few weeks.  she has fixed  me up good, so you don’t need to worry.

while i have been “recovering”  i have been spending a lot of time making sun prints.  i have been using bottled liquid emulsion, as well as cyanotype materials.  the liquid emulsion prints have been like “lumin prints” but i don’t fix them, and i don’t leave them in the sun for hours, maybe an hour tops …  the cyanotypes take about 15-20mins …  i wash them blue, and soon after i bleach them back.  they sometimes have a yellowish hue, sometimes a blueish and a greenish hue.  THEN  …  i work on these images with crayons, and water color paints.














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paper, coffee glass and the sun

it is a long story but i will try to make it short  …

we returned from the mountains a few days ago, and i went into the darkroom soon after we got home.  i coated some paper with photo emulsion,
nothing i made myself, i haven’t done that since i was a university student,  it was emulsion from a bottle.  i coated 6 sheets of drawing paper some with emulsion that a scientist gave me, and some with some emulsion i had been saving, half used stored on a shelf for about 15 years.  i rummaged through my paper safe for a piece of glass and i coated it with some of the 15 year old emulsion as well.

i filled a 5 quart container with hot water from the tap, and got a plastic beaker and filled that too.  into the beaker the bottle went, and into the hot water the beaker went.  i got the paper ready and looked at the glass.  the glass was coated about 15 years ago, but i never did anything with it, so it just aged in the darkness of the paper safe waiting to be used.  the scientist’s emulsion was liquid by now, or part liquid, so i poured some out on the paper, and dragged a glass rod over it, one way and then back again.   the paper dried on the line.  i did this 2 more times and then did the same thing with the 15year old bottle.  while the papers hung to dry, i poured some of the emulsion into a wide jar that used to have cheese.  it was runny cheese so i thought it would be perfect to put runny emulsion in, so i did.
i got the hake brush and coated the plate with the emulsion.  two or three times until there was nothing left in the jar, and then i used the blow dryer and heated the glass.  it was dark outside so i could leave without worry the light outside would fog my paper or glass.

a few days before i made some photograms.  i used some outdated ( it really never is outdated ) azo paper, and materials i fashioned into small things and put it on the paper, and then a light.  i put the papers in coffee developer, and watched the paper go from white to dark in about 4 minutes.  they washed and dried overnight.

a day or two later i looked for something to print one of the photograms on, and i rummaged through the paper safe and found a piece of paper i had coated with emulsion maybe 15 years before, i had forgotten about it.  the emulsion gets better with age so i printed the image onto it and it looked great.  i took the newly made and dried paper and put it into the paper safe, i figured i wouldn’t forget it was there.  and i took the glass and put it into an envelope and a box.  i looked for a camera it would work with, but since the glass was about 4×6 it wasn’t going to be easy, i don’t have 4×6 cameras, only 4×5 …  so i used a camera i made last fall.  it is a 4×5 camera with a glass lens and hand made paper holders.  i set the camera up, and focused.  i took the glass out in the daylight and loaded it into the paper holder and left the camera open for 4 hours.

i took the glass out and  brought it to the scanner to see what the camera had recorded.  these sorts of images are singular.  they can’t be fixed or developed, or they will vanish or turn black, and they can’t be printed because the intense light will turn them grey and dark, so

i scan them.


















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chemical free photographs

what is a chemical free photograph ?

usually when i make a photograph i expose paper to a small amount of light.  i either project a negative from an enlarger onto the paper
or i put the negative on top of the paper itself and expose it to a small amount of light, or i put materials on the paper and use a small amount of light
to expose the paper.  the paper is then put through a developer, where the image appears onto the paper and then a fixer to remove all the unexposed
silver so it will be “light safe” .

last fall i wondered what would happen if i just made a long long exposure with paper, in a camera or in contact with a negative.  would an image appear on the paper?  would it be able to be saved somehow so it could be viewed ?  or would it just fade away?  there were people i know of on apug.org and other places who
put plants and “living” materials onto paper and expose it this way.  the plants ‘sweat” and “cook” on the paper and a photograph is made showing the outline
and translucency of the plants.  the stuff that oozed out of the plants reacts with the photo paper and the image can be fixed in fixer and toned and can last as long
as any photograph.  i was hoping to do something similar, but without plants, and without making a photogram.

i loaded an old sears box camera up with paper and left the shutter open for an hour or so, and an image was on the paper.
i put a 4×5 negative on a sheet of paper and put that in a contact frame and left that outside in the sun, and in an hour an image appeared.
soon after i began to make my own cameras out of foam core and i bought simple lens cells.  the largest camera i made was 12×16
and i made 11×14 prints with it.  i taped paper inside after the camera was focused and left it for upto 4 hours.

i did run into trouble though.  i tried to fix the images and make them light safe, but they faded to white.  my exposures were too short so the fixer bleached the image off of the paper.  instead of using rapid fixer, i bought hypo ( sodium thiosulphate ) and with the help of a friend learned of a milder way to fix the images,  a way used for printing out paper.  unfortunately my images were still too underexposed and they bleached.
i did manage to scan many of the images i made so they were saved somehow.    the next ones i made will be exposed for two or three times my initial exposures
and hopefully will last longer.









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