Lumen prints Work in Progress

Rectangle image: blog banner image with 6 lumen prints of leaves, stems and flowers in sepia tones in polaroid photograph frames on a grey background, with the text Lumen Prints, Work in progress in the centre, with onlythemoon art gallery on the lower right hand corner


Lumen prints are a simple & beautiful form of cameraless photography. They are made by simply putting an object or objects onto darkroom photographic paper (& placing them in a clear frame) & leaving them out in the sun or light. Here are some of my experiments from last summer.


Square image: of a Lumen Print in the process of being made, green leaves, arranged at an angle with a red flower and stalk in the middle, a smaller leaf is on the bottom right corner, rock sea salt sprinkled over to the top centre and left hand corner, darkroom photographic paper underneath in shades of purple on the edges and pink around the foliage and fauna.


Before Image

The process for making lumen prints is as simple or complex as you make it. Here I've selected a number of leaves & flowers & arranged them onto photographic paper. I also experimented with using coffee, lemon juice, water & sea salt to see what happened!   

Square Image: After image in pink tones, leaves in white and light pink diagonally with flower image in the middle, white cuboid marks from the rock salt.


After Image

After being left in the sun for a few hours, the lumen print is made. Simply remove the objects (the leaves, flowers & salt) to reveal the "print". The image is likely to change slowly over time (unless fixed), so photographing or scanning the image right away is a good idea!

Be Creative

in the image above, you can also see that I've created a diptych, by using two pieces of photographic paper.

With lumen prints you can experiment with the materials, paper, positioning, as well as development time (the image being left out in the light) to create different effects. Each print is unique and one of a kind.

Here's another example of how unique each print is. The resulting image is a simple arrangement with a pink sepia background & white silhouetted foliage, rather than the differentiated white and pink detailed tones in the previous print. 

Layering the leaves & flowers, also creates a sense of depth & an ethereal quality to the image. Here again, you can see a variation in the tones, with the details being less defined creating a softer, barely there image.

Once you've photographed or scanned in your print you can get even more creative, by adding frames, colour, texture, creating photopaintings (that's a different blog post!) or keeping it simple to create beautiful timeless prints. 


By experimenting, different effects can be achieved, the main thing is to have fun, to be creative! & this simple alternative photographic process will have wonderful results! Have a go and let me know how you get on!