Krista McCurdy uses sunlight and flowers to make painterly botanical images

Not every photograph is created with a camera, and not every print is developed in a darkroom. Krista McCurdy makes lumen prints, which require neither.


"Lumen prints are fairly new to me, having spent the last couple of years interfering with the cyanotype process to create a new one that yields colors beyond the traditional blue and white. I find myself approaching lumen prints with the same desire to push the process and investigate its boundaries. This first one was done with 5" x 7" Kodak Polycontrast IV RC B+W paper, expiration date 2006, some flowers I pinched from a neighbor's yard, and wet coffee grounds. Exposure time in the sun was about 24 hours. I later realized the flowers that I used were coreopsis, which are used for natural dyeing, which explains the color that remains"


Krista is on instagram at @kristamccurdy











ALTER/ANALOG: What is a lumen print?

It's basically a contact print. The “lumen” stands for the light needed to make the print. ALTER/ANALOG: So you put objects on photosensitive paper? Yes, but you use expired bnw photo paper. Like the expired paper would be foggy if you tried to print normally with it but it works great for lumen prints, and each batch will give different color results. ALTER/ANALOG: How long do you have to expose it to the sun? So you put the stuff on the paper and expose it anywhere from an hour to hours to days. ALTER/ANALOG: If it's bnw paper, how do you get the colors? I'm not really sure. The colors change quite a bit when you put in the fixer, they lighten up considerably. So the background paper is the color of the paper and then the colors are from what I've put on the paper. I put plant material on the paper and sandwich it between two pieces of glass clamped together so that the plant is pretty smashed into the paper. And then the various chemistry of the plants can have a difference … you don't need a darkroom. All you need is a fixer bath and a rinse.
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