After thinking about it and seeking peer review I’ve decided to make A5 about the photograms. This scratches the itch that I’ve had about making work about both lace and Fox Talbot and has a neat third axis about feminism and the familiar.
Discussing the work on the forum live I was encouraged by the readings that people made of the work. I realised that I want to keep this simple. I want to keep it life size, this feels important in a world where so much is seen, and so many interactions made via devices that fit in the palm of our hands. Even a relatively small size 8 looks larger than expected when shown flat and life size. I don’t want to give any sizes of the underwear, I want to show it all at life size, move it away from our conceptions of a size 8 or a size 16 or whatever.
I want to keep the spirit of Fox Talbot’s salt prints of lace, that I saw at the Matt Collishaw VR exhibition and the normal exhibit at the Fox Talbot Museum. I always wonder where the lace came from.
I am keeping the glass panels, they give an idea of a microscope slide, a scientific specimen, something that is under analysis. I am however going to get a larger panel made so that I can make larger photograms across two contiguous 12×16 sheets of paper, thus exploring taking the image outside the frame too.
To move this forward I have collated various used underwear from ebay and other sources. It feels important that it should be used, even if only once. I’ve ordered 50 sheets of photographic paper and booked the darkroom. Once school starts I shall go to the glass showroom and buy the new panel.
My original photograms were of pants that had been cut to only show a single layer. I would like to try showing both layers where possible, I think this will work with a long enough exposure. The dark room now has a point light source which I can use to provide extra light to more opaque areas. Ditto with bras, I will do a test shot to see what happens if I leave the foam in the cups rather than cutting it out.
Because of the school holidays it’s now been about a fortnight since I made the first photograms and I’m starting to worry that it won’t work so well second time round. Even though a photogram in a dark room must be one of the most consistent scenarios to reproduce!
I also need to put some context together. A peer on Instagram kindly sent me links to some similar work made with different kinds of clothes and I will also revisit the Shadow Catchers Cameraless photography online (from the V&A) and also Man Ray’s photograms.