Research Project Proposal
Over the past year, I have been highly interested in experimenting with alternative photographic processes. This interest led me to start making cyanotype photographs- blue prints that are made with the sun. Last Spring I inherited about thirty century old glass negatives, which I used as the imagery for my cyanotype study. I was tired of the blue tone these prints are known for though, so I began experimenting with different methods of toning the prints. I tried hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, coffee, red wine, black tea, and ended up settling on green tea (which produced a warm, brownish tone). My fascination with this process has led me to discover a similar, but more eco-friendly process that uses plant matter to create photographs.
My area of interest for this project is the “Anthotype and Chlorophyll Process: The Art of Printing with Flowers & Vegetation” (The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition, James, 42). This involves making photographs from light and organic matter, such as flowers and fruit, based on Herschel’s 1840s process.
In order to further explore alternative photographic processes, I will collect data and samples of plant matter found on the grounds of UWF. I will use the anthotype and chlorophyll processes to create environmentally friendly photographs.
For inspiration and reference, I will study the work of artists Binh Danh, Christine Elfman, Bev Conway, and Jane Hatcher. Also, I will reference "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition" and "Christine Elfman: A Murmur of the Past in Anthotypes."
I plan to conduct my research based on findings from the UWF Camellia Gardens and Nature Trail. As part of my research I will focus on collecting organic plant matter (samples of flowers, fruit, leaves, etc.), sketches of my findings, and will document my findings through digital photography. In addition, I will experiment with printing photographs on live plants vs. dead plants, and will experiment with crushing various organic matter to extract pigment for toning photographic paper. If I am unable to find a wide enough variety of organic matter for toning, I anticipate that I will have to resort to using store bought vegetation.
The materials I will be using are as follows: watercolor paper, water, various plant matter and fruits, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, cheesecloth, foam brushes, glass lasagna dish, sponge, contact-printing frame, pencil, film, and paper towels.
My proposed idea for this final project is to take my the data from my field work and present two digital photographs. Depending on how well my experimentation process goes, one photograph will be an anthotype and the other will be a chlorophyll print, or there will be both anthotypes, or both chlorophyll prints. Due to the fact that these prints fade over time if exposed to light, I feel that the presentation of digital documentations of the two prints would be best.