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From my first visit to a black and white darkroom I have been fascinated by the making of images without using a conventional camera. One cameraless image is called a photogram. Conventional photograms are made by placing objects onto light sensitive material, either paper or film, and exposing them to light. A negative image of the object is formed on the light sensitive material. Dense objects are usually shown in silhouette and translucent and transparent objects provide varying degrees of detail. The image "Feather" in this exhibit is a contact print of a conventional photogram of a feather.


The images in this exhibit involve a twist on the basic concept of the photogram. I placed very small "found" natural obects in glass slide mounts. (With the exception of the mosquitos, no insects were sacrificed to make these images. Perfectly good bug parts can be found in the summer under your automobile's windshield wiper blades or lying around the yard.) The glass slides were then placed into the enlarger in the same area where film negatives are usually placed. The image was focused as well as could be depending upon the varying degrees of thickness of the material. Negative images on RC photo paper were made of the materials in exactly the same manner as conventional black and white prints. The negative images were then used to make masked contact print positives onto a warm-tone fiberbase paper. These final images were then hand tinted using oil based pencils.


Being an artist who came to love making art after exploring a fascination with science this process was extremely satisfying. Enlarging the natural materials was like looking at them through a microscope.

The Images: (left to right)


Wings 2

Pink Honeysuckle

Yellow Honeysuckle

Japanese Maple

Maple Seed Pods

Moth Wings

Maidenhair Fern


Mosquitos "The Party's Over"

The prints are archivally processed using warm tone fiber base silver gelatin photo paper. Even though subsequent prints can be made using the paper negative, each print is unique as it is hand tinted. The archival matting has an outside dimension of 16 x 20 inches which is a standard frame size and images sizes are approx. 8" x 8".

To purchase an image contact the artist:

copyright 2008
all rights reserved
Donna Fay Allen
Updated 6-3-2008






"Light Bulbs"