A photogram or lumen print of four lilac leaves.

Photograms or lumen prints are photographs achieved without cameras; shadow-pictures made by placing objects upon or in front of photo-sensitive surfaces, and then exposing them to light. The first permanent photograms were made by the pioneers of photography in the early 19th Century: Niépce and his “photoengravings”; Fox Talbot’s “photogenic drawings”, etc.

In the summer of 2010 I tried my hand at making a few. The one above was one of my more successful efforts. I arranged four lilac leaves on a sheet of Fomaspeed Variant paper placed outdoors in bright sunlight, with a square of glass holding the leaves in place (it was breezy). I didn’t record how long the exposure time was - I’m guessing it would have been 45-60 minutes. Afterwards I fixed and washed the paper.

Like the other prints I made in this way the resultant image was fairly low in contrast, so I made some enhancements using Photoshop after scanning it. The print captured some fine detail of the leaves' structure in places, but the condensation trapped under the hot glass blurred other parts of the image.