Lumens by Ginette
The lumen prints technique is as old as photography. At photography's cameraless beginnings, plant specimens were used as subjects like in Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawings or the more documentary Anna Atkin's botanical studies. Plant cuttings are simply placed on a photographic black and white paper and left in the sun for hours. As the exposure progresses the paper will darken and different colour will emerge. After the exposure looks satisfactory, plants are removed from the paper and the paper is now ready to be chemically "developed". Putting it in the traditional developer will result in a totally black image because of the heavy overexposure, the print is simply put in fixer. The image will change rapidly in the fixer and original colors will shift greatly. In fact, results are a bit unpredictable!
For this workshop, Ginette will demonstrate the process from beginning to end, bringing in lumen prints in various stages of development.
I was born in St-Roch- de-l’Achigan (Quebec), where I continue to live and work.
Self-taught, I have always been surrounded by photography. It has often been used in my publications for various newspapers and magazines, and recently for art works for museums. I have worked in this sector, moreover, as a museum technician.
My personal approach normally involves photographing landscape details on black-and- white film with large format 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 cameras or with a Noblex panoramic camera. I then make classic prints on silver bromide paper.
Paradoxically, it is the processes without a camera or enlarger that have attracted me over the past few years. Lumen and chemigram filmless techniques have dominated my work. With no negative, black-and- white photographic paper has taken over, a raw material that has produced a multitude of surprising hues through excessive sunlight overexposure. For someone committed to black and white, here I was with colours arising from the process. For someone committed to strictly controlled techniques, here I was working with a method in which intuition was my creative guide.
This lumen series is based on my preoccupation with nutrition and body image at a time when my aging body is imploring me to lighten its load. All the plants appearing in these works grew in my vegetable garden, and my body is interfused with the images created by the plants.