Exploring the Medium; Lumen Prints & Other Experiments

Lumen Prints

I’ve been experimenting with different ways to explore the medium of photography as part of the work I am producing for A5. I don’t want to limit myself to a digital camera with perfect lenses and a very predictable outcome. I just don’t like it; I want a sense of playfulness and experimentation I suppose. I want to try things and see what happens.

The last few days have been really sunny, so I’ve been taking advantage of the weather to produce some lumen prints and to experiment a bit more with cyanotypes.

I found the lumen prints really interesting; the first three in this series were exposed for 6 hours, between 12 noon and 6pm.

lumen 1lumen 1 1lumen 1 2

This second set were exposed between about 7pm and 8am, so overnight on a (nearly) full moon. I have no idea if the light from the moon has made any difference at all. I wasn’t being very scientific about the process. Although both sets were exposed in my garden, they are from different parts of the garden.  This pinker set that was exposed overnight may have been in a more shady spot. The top three were in bright, direct sunlight for 6 hours.

lumen 2lumen 2 1lumen 2 2

Experimental Cyanotypes

This was an interesting cyanotype experiment. The (flawed) thinking went like this; cyanotype works when the chemicals are exposed to UV light. Suncream blocks UV light. What happens if I use suncream to mask an area of the cyanotype before I expose it?

I’d placed ferns on top of a prepared sheet of paper that had been coated with cyanotype chemicals and left to dry for several days. I used a spray factor 30 sunscreen to spray the paper and then removed the ferns. I immediately saw the outline of the ferns, and they were clear during exposure.


but as soon as the paper was rinsed this happened…

mono ferns 3

You can see some ghostly imprints on the top right and bottom left, but that’s it. Thinking about it, that result makes sense. However…

this is what I am left with on the back of the print. I quite like it.

mono ferns 2

I have also tried the same process with photographic paper, but I used too much sunblock spray so I’ve lost the outline of the ferns.


The next experiment went reasonably well though. I’ve used a fern to produce a mono print, and used the glass that I inked up as a glass negative.

mono ferns
Mono print

This is from a house plant – it’s a different type of fern, but I wanted to try out the process without having to go and collect more ferns as my plant material had dried out. I’m reasonably pleased with the result from this.


I’ve also been experimenting digitally, mainly using various apps. I shall put those in a separate post in a few days.

Published by Sarah Cassin Scott


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