Photogram Research

Before we carried out our photo-gram task we were asked to research three different photographers that use or used photo-grams in their work. we were also asked t0 define the term photo-gram and also look at the history of photo-grams and how it has changed the way we use them in photography today compared to before. here is the research that I got about photo-grams.

What is a Photo gram?

A Photo gram is an image that is produced without a camera. It is a silhouette image that is produced by placing a variety of objects on to a sheet of sensitized paper and then after this it is ten exposed to light.

Different Photo gram Producers and their work.

Anna Atkins.

Anna was a huge fan of photography in its early stages during the 19th century. She was very close to another keen photographer named Henry Talbot and they was one of the first to experiment with cyanotype photography and she did this so that she could create accurate images of flower and fauna. Some people may say that her work may seem/appear dull or boring but for the time period that it was produced it was seen by many as very innovative and taking this praise in her stride she went on to produce the very first photography book.

Her photo grams are mainly of nature, these including plants, flowers and tree’s.

anna atkins work anna atkins work 2

Her work is very accurate and it clearly shows each piece and aspect of each plant that she analyses. This would be a very handy process for scientific and nature photographers as they will be able to analyse plants and flowers further than just looking at them. Especially in the flower image you can see each of the lines and the folds and also where the petals and leaves overlap each other. In the other image you can also see in detail each other branches and what comes off of them. Having the image on a blue sheet can make it seem like a blue print of the object. A blue print is a basic breakdown of a construction. So this image could symbolize a basic break down of the plant so that it can be a little bit easier to analyse. I like both of the images as they show the simplicity in plants. They take away the color and it shows that they are pure and simple. They show diversity between the different plants as because the color is taken away it shows that all of the plants are the same inside no matter what color or shape they are.

Anna’s work is very different to Man Rays work as he uses a variety of different objects to create a good image, whereas Anna uses one thing or object to create her idea of a good image. Their difference in thoughts shows how they have a difference idea of perfection or creativity. They both set out to create a good image but then again they have a different way of portraying this. This shows how photography has changed over different time periods and how peoples way of creativity have changed, however it also shows that not everyone in the industry has the same way of thinking or the same ideas and this is what makes everyone in the industry different and known for their own unique ideas.

Man Ray

Man Ray is known as a central character who is in the development of both photography and modern art. He was a well-known photographer in the late 19th century and also the early 20th century. He was part of a unique photography group called Dada and Surrealist Movements. They are unlike painters and they use photo-grams rather than paintings to express his thoughts in his inner subconscious mind and he went against the work of early 19th century photographers and used photo-grams instead of the standard photography process. In his work he uses a variety of different objects to create an idea or to portray a message. He would expose the image to light at least three times to show a different way of portraying his idea each time. An example of this is this certain picture, which he attempted three times with three different sets of objects to be certain that he captured the right image.

man ray work

Each time he used different objects they would act as a stencil that would eventually be put together to make one image. Firstly he used two hands in his image, following this he then used two heads kissing and finally he used two darkroom trays. In the end this image would then look like two people coming together and embracing each other through a kiss. I like this certain image as he has used a variety of different layers to create this image and using his knowledge of photo-grams he then decided to change the lighting and the exposure each time to make sure that all of the layers would fit together and look right in the image. The lighting from the hands look real almost like the two people who are kissing are actually touching each other faces. Using the two darkroom trays adds a sense of seclusion to the image and makes it seem like the picture has been taken through something and the two people are behind something like a window or a barrier.  Each of the different layers are used to create a different tone of color throughout the image. When making photo-grams if you don’t take it the right way it is very easy to make mistakes and for the whole thing to turn out black. But if you get the exposure and the layers right it is very easy to get different tones of blacks and grey’s. This artist’s work is very different to another artist called Susan Derges. Susan focuses on using the four elements in her images, which are earth, wind, fire and water. Where as Man Ray focuses on using objects in his images. Even thought that they are both very different they are still artistic in their own special ways, this is important to the industry because if everyone focused on the same thing then every photo or photo-gram would be artistic in the same way as all of the others and everything would be the same. There would be no different styles or genres. I think it is good that everything is different because it means that you are able to analyse and compare images, if everything were the same you would only be able to give a brief description about it. Therefore Susan and Man Gay have both a similarity and a difference. Their difference is that they have different opinions on being artistic and their similarity is that they both have artistic photo grams.

Susan Derges

Susan Derges is a relatively modern photographer and she very much enjoys using the photo-gram process as he feels that it takes it back to the olden days and goes back to old photography in the digital age. Almost all of her work is based around the four elements, which are earth, wind, fire and water. The reason she uses these elements and doesn’t focus on anything else is because they are the most basic building blocks that philosophers feel that every thing is based and continuously based upon in creation. Her work is very artistic and is very simple when it comes to color and the use of props or objects. Most of her photo-grams are mainly 1-2 colors and have very minimal shape this is because she focuses on very basic elements, which can be portrayed in a simple way. Also a lot of her work has very calm and cool colors, which make her work seem very tranquil and calming.

susan derges susan derges 2

Many people enjoy her work because of its calming and tranquil vibes it gives off. As a lot of her work is seen as fine art it is very hard to put a meaning to her work and it’s hard to say what her images actually mean. Because of this you not only have to analyse the image, but you also have to look deeper into the connotations. So that you can have different themes and ideas about what her images could mean. For example in one of her images, an abstract connotation from her image is that it flows through her work like water. This could be a symbol of something that us forever changing and doesn’t like to be the same. However if you look at it from another aspect it could be significant of light and water and how light and water are sources of life. This theory also proves how it links to calmness and tranquility. I love the photo-grams from Susan Derges as they show that photo-grams don’t have to be over complicated and over worked to be successful, they can be so simple and easy and they cans till convey a message. I like also how they don’t actually look real and some of her work also looks like illusions and it is a good way to intrigue artists and photographers and because of the success of her work it also is good inspiration for young and new photographers. Susan’s work is very different to the work of William Talbot. His work is very nature based and this is mainly because it was one of the first times were ever produced. Some people may think that their work is similar because Susan’s elements are so close to nature. But this is not the case, this is because there are so many different elements to nature that they would never clash and because Susan’s elements are so simple they would never clash and there is hardly any similarity between the two.

Why Are Photo-grams Important To The History and Development Of Photography?

Photo-grams are important because they show how times have changed throughout history. Photo-grams were almost like the starting point in photography and using photo-grams in practical’s and research means that you are able to compare the way that they look and the way that they are taken. If you look at a pristine edited image taken with the most up to date lens and camera and compare it to an image from a photo-gram. We can also use photo-grams now for many things and this is good because we are using something that is so old and the way that they come out is so quick and easy so it means that other people can have quick and easy results with their image like people did in the 19-20th century. Companies were also inspired by the Polaroid camera as this is also like a photo-gram because of the development s and the quick and easy results of the photo.



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