Chemigrams

I had the privilege of sitting in on Denis Roussel‘s photo I class for a session yesterday. His class was doing Chemigrams, something Denis hadn’t covered in the alternative processes class I took with him last semester. He caught up with me in the darkroom yesterday when I was adding cyanotype to this print and asked me to sit in and learn about chemigrams.

He did a quick lecture with resources to other artists working with chemigrams and gave us some references of images along with a tutorial. The how-to can be found here on alternativephotography.com (a great resource for anyone working in alt processes.

Here’s a basic rundown of the process, as written by Christina Z. Anderson:

The chemigram process was discovered by Pierre Cordier on November 10, 1956. It is a unique process that uses resists on photographic paper much the same way as wax is used as a resist in batik.

What Cordier discovered in 1956 was that a resist can hold back the chemical effects of developer and fixer on black and white photo paper for a time. Paper put into developer that has been exposed to normal room light for varying periods of time will turn black, except where a resist blocks the chemical reaction. The parts of the paper protected by the resist will continue to change color from extended exposure to room light, of course.

Likewise, paper put into fixer turns white, except where a resist blocks the chemical reaction. The parts of the paper protected by the resist continue to change color from the room light exposure, and suddenly there is the possibility of black, white, and colors in-between on normally monochrome paper.

With a back and forth from developer to fixer or fixer to developer, the resist begins to dissolve, so the next chemical bath either turns slowly exposing paper under the dissolving resist black (developer) or white (fixer) or some color in-between because of the now-lengthening room light exposure. With time this dissolution can be coaxed into creating beautiful, intricate patterns.

The chemigram process is actually very simple, using common household ingredients and common darkroom chemistry. There is no end to experimentation with this nonfigurative, physico-chemical process.

There are some great photos up there. I’ll put the ones I liked best here.


Chemigram by Cynthia Huber, handcoloured


Chemigram by Cynthia Huber, handcoloured


Chemigram by Cynthia Huber: stencils, coconut oil, varnish, sprays on both fixer and developer.


Chemigram by Patrick Rooney done with nail polish and then put through a mordancage solution.


Chemigram by Clare Parsons. “Face” is butter resist and then chemigram is mordancaged.

He also linked us to some work by Heather Oelklaus

These are my two chemigram experiments:

Identity and the self portrait

I have to do an assignment on “identity” for printmaking. I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means to me since I started working with found photographs in my alternative photographic processes class last semester. I want to work with old photos of myself as a child, juxtaposed with new photographs of myself now, to talk about how I’ve changed as a person but am still struggling to identify with the body I live in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say after I finish doing my reading for my printmaking class and get some ideas out of that, but I wanted to talk about my ideas for what I might do for my first photo project for photo 4 this semester. 

I was thinking about using masks. I worked with masks some last semester when I was making tintypes:

I included the third one because it gives me interesting ideas about how I can incorporate the masks with reflections of myself or my face either in other masks or out of masks to talk about how the mask is a part of my identity or how it hides parts of my identity. Neither of those masks are of my original design and were for costumes. Costuming has been a huge part of my life and really is a part of my identity. I feel strangely more comfortable in costumes being someone else than I do as “myself”. I have trouble identifying with a “self” particularly as it relates to my physical body, but also as it relates to a personal identity. I always have trouble with “tell me one thing about yourself” introductions because I can’t think of anything that’s uniquely me. Maybe that’s normal, but it’s part of the problem.

I decided to look up some other art that people have done as non-standard self portraits. Some of what I found was photographic, some wasn’t.


The Dream Children’ from The Hypnagogia Series by Kalliope Amorphous

Found via this amazing post that talks about Kalliope Amorphus’ work: Kalliope Amorphous Visualizes Identity, Gender And Archetypes


Self Portrait l Identity 2 l by shaikhdanial

The left shows a traditional self portrait, but the right shows it shattered and fragmented, which really speaks to how I feel about my own self identity. This could be done in photography either by digital manipulation or possibly with the use of mirrors angled away from a camera or with the camera behind the subject (me) in some way, supported by a tripod. Ideally, the easiest way to shoot something like this might be with a 4×5 because you can angle the camera down and shift it out of the line of sight of the mirrors. I never got fantastic with tilt/shift, but it might be worth playing with again sometime.



Self Portrait by Nathaniel Wolfe

From the artist:

This mosaic portrait is composed of 3000 images from various angles from the front of my head, and then organized to recreate an image of the back of my head. The 30″ by 30″ portrait pokes fun at visual perception and identity, as we’re “a sum of all our parts.”


Identity Self Portrait 2011
by symons-photography

This talks to me about not identifying with the self, with the face, specifically, which is the center of the self for most people, and not something I identify with, on my own. It’s done via long-exposure, which is something I began experimenting with more last semester.


Camouflage Self-Portrait (RED)

Andy Warhol, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas, 1986

Using a projector to distort parts of myself is another really interesting idea that I might try exploring. Also painting my face/body with some kind of body paint to change the way it looks. I’ve considered wearing clothing that has additional body parts attached that distort the way my body looks – not necessarily into something I identify with, but into something monsterous or disturbing or abnormal to communicate how I feel about my own body and my distorted sense of self.

This is just a start, a place to brainstorm ideas going forward.

Assignment: Kinetic Type Animation

Description: Create an expressive typographic animation containing verse/lyrics (10-12 lines) of your own writing. the 20 second animation will be exectued using After Effects.

So I went through some old poetry and lyrics looking for something I didn’t hate. I didn’t find much, to be honest. Most of it is either really bad, overly long, or far too short to meet the requirements and I’m not feeling particularly lyrical or poetic lately, so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Here are the old poems I found that I considered using either parts of or expanding on:

Untitled 1:

Drowning
Abstract lonliness
“Why did you call?”
You’re right. 
I shouldn’t have

Passing
Heartsick emptiness
“In the purely physical sense of things…”
Maybe you’re right…
But I can’t walk away.

Darkening
Mournful Hatred
“I had hopes and dreams before I had you.”
It’s not like I asked to be born.
I’ve tried my hardest…

Disconnected
Endless isolation
“I only want to be around him.”
Maybe that’s how it should be.
I’m part of the rest of the world…

Aren’t I?
(May 1, 2003)

Tanka: Butterfly
(Adding to this would change the format – it was written as a tanka, so I’m not really thrilled about changing it since it was so painstakingly arranged to begin with, but whatever)

Your hands released me
And I flew inside of you
I nested in your heart
Waiting to be reborn
Longing to feel your touch again
(September 23, 2009)

Haiku: Revelations: still reeling

Revelations on
a red-tinted horizon
Halo round a ball
of burning gas. I admit
it, you had me fooled.
(Oct 4, 2009)

Freeverse: Derelict, Distracted

Lazily licking corners of perception
Feline-esque in presentation, and brilliant like the sunrise
It begins,
Drifting in and out of this conscious state of self-awareness

Served up, preformed ideals
and I’m wishing the limits weren’t so tight.
Violent thrashing in heavy pulsation
Beat, pause. beat, pause.
But faster, rushing, strobing frenzy

Volume increase and
left with a stalking feeling.

Receding prey and washed out post-high exhaustion.
October 2009

Unfinished lyrical snippets of various lengths:

1:
More in face, than in name
Take this pride away and let me fall
A gift for one so weary
I surrender
To take the blame
Of this parade
And may the waves just pull me under

These scars so deep that none can see
The truth that lies between you and me.

—-

2:
And all this time spinning round
In circles of my own design
Streamlined screaming of your name
Nothing will ever feel the same

What do I do when the music inside me dies?
When you rip my feet out from under me?

—-

Atroquinine, My Love

Drowning in blue
Drowning in you
Atroquinine poison
Telltale color of your eyes.

15 minutes to love
This bitter taste of you.

I played the fool for you.
Blindly I would fall
Into blue

Never felt the rapture.
Never the release.
These chains in which you hold my heart
Are cutting way too deep

A letter, a name
Nothing ties me to you like the blood in my veins

These chains
Binding my heart
A whisper of release

Your name

Darkness, descent
My words lost
Black on empty white
Illegible by the sun’s light.

Then I have maybe this one piece of prose writing that I could use:

Don’t Ask

“That blood! How did it get there?”
No one asks. No one tells.
“That bruise! Was it from training drills? Did you get into a fight?
No one asks. No one tells.
“Where were you last night?”
“Don’t ask.”

And this that I wrote today, some unfleshed out prose I was working on that I’ll probably never finish. Also under the “lines” requirement and probably won’t work:

“I am a delicate flower.”
“You are strong.”
“I am a perennial.”
“We are coming out of winter now; spring is coming.”

I really have no idea what I’m going to do for this. I’m so frustrated. I used to write so much and now that I need writing, I can’t find anything I’ve done that I want to use.

Urban (dropbox link)

So this is the curatorial project I spent six hours today working on. Ugh.
The assignment was to “curate” an exhibit with four artists including yourself large enough to fill a gallery about the size of our student gallery. I have to present it Monday.

 

Drunk Driving (How can the dismal statistics be improved?)

An Infographic for Design Media, 2013

Jack & Jill and The Fool On The Hill: Thumbnails (first)

Jack fell down
and broke his crown
But nobody wants to know him
Day after day, alone on the hill
and he never gives an answer

This is a rough idea of what might be able to be done with the provided dingbats for the first of the six narratives. Thumbnails will be made for all six, and probably posted here. A lot more work will be done in illustrator on the final one, including manipulating and dissecting the dingbats in much more detail than was done here, of course, but this is just a rough idea.

Jack and Jill and the Fool on the Hill (part 2)

So it turns out that I wasn’t completely clear on the assignment. We were not expected to make only one narrative out of the given lines from “Jack & Jill” and “Fool on the Hill”. Rather, we were meant to do six narratives with accompanying thumbnails, then one will be selected for a final to be presented – printed and matted.

The images will be contained in 6 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares on a black 15″ x 20″ board with 1.25″ horizontal gutters, a 1.5″ vertical gutter and 2.25″ vertical margins and 2″ horizontal margins.

Images will be made using provided dingbats file images.

Here are the six rewrites:

Jack fell down
and broke his crown
they can see he’s just a fool
but nobody wants to know him
day after day, alone on the hill
and he never gives an answer

Jack & Jill
went up the hill
but the fool on the hill
they can see he’s just a fool
but nobody wants to know him
and he never gives an answer

To fetch a pail of water
the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
and broke his crown
day after day, alone on the hill
they can see that he’s just a fool
and he never gives an answer (((or: but nobody wants to know him)))

Jack & Jill
went up the hill
day after day, alone on the hill
the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
and he never gives an answer
they can see his just a fool

Day after day, alone on the hill
they can see that he’s just fool
but nobody wants to know him
Jack & Jill
went up the hill
and broke his crown

Jack fell down
they can see that he’s just a fool
day after day, alone on the hill
the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
and he never gives an answer
but nobody wants to know him
(((alternatively swap the last two lines)))

Jack, the fool on the hill

So, for Design Media, we’re required to take 6 lines total from “Jack & Jill” and “Fool on the Hill” and make a new narrative, then use dingbats the instructor provides to create a visual of the narrative.

Here is the new narrative. Visual will be done in illustrator (why illustrator for what seems to be a cut-and-paste assignment, I don’t know, but that’s what she wants us to use).

Jack fell down
and broke his crown
they can see that he’s just a fool
but nobody wants to know him
day after day, alone on the hill
and he never gives an answer