Photogram Project




Goals:  Upon completion of this unit, you should be able to do the following:

            1.  Understand enlarger parts and operation.

            2.  Understand principles of exposure.

            3.  Understand paper processing.

            4.  Understand how to cut paper correctly and safely.



o      Complete at least one test strip, 2-5x7 Photograms and 1 8x10 Photogram in the two days provided.

o      Photograms should be of either artistic arrangement, or pictorial (a scene)


Materials Needed:

o      Study sheet on enlarger parts

o      Processing steps sheet

o      Paper cutting diagram (posted on wall)

o      Items to make photogram

o      Rough Draft of placement of items

o      Photo paper safe

o      Supply coupon to obtain photo paper


Concept Review

1)     Principles of Exposure

i)       Light affects the paper much as the sun affects our skin.

(a)   When more light reaches the paper, a darker final image results.

(b)  When less light reaches the paper, a lighter final image results.

ii)    Light can be controlled in two ways:  time and intensity.

(a)   Time is controlled by the mechanical or electronic timer attached to the enlarger.

(b)  Intensity is controlled by two factors:  elevation of enlarger or aperture of the lens.

1.      Elevation is usually determined by the size of print desired and therefore is not usually used as a control factor.

(c)  Lens aperture is controlled by the opening and closing of the lens diaphragm which visibly changes the intensity of the light.

2)     The F-Stop System

i)       The f-stop system is a fractional one.

(a)   The big numbers represent small openings.

(b)  The small numbers represent big openings.

ii)    Most lenses carry a range of these f-stops:  f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32

iii)  A change of one f-stop doubles or halves the amount of light passing through the lens.

3)     Photograms

i)       A photogram is defined to be a photographic image produced by protecting some parts of sensitive paper while exposing the rest to white light, then chemically processing it.

ii)    Photograms are unique because the shapes and objects used to protect the parts of the paper must be replaced each time, so no two are exactly alike.

iii)  The objects used can be transparent, translucent, or opaque, and should have unusual or creative shapes to produce interesting photograms.

        * Note: Translucent objects which are primarily red or yellow will have a unpredictable result as they will reproduce light that is similar to the safelights.



Steps to Complete Photogram Lab


Summary of Steps:

Place a piece of paper under the enlarger, place items ontop of the paper, expose the paper and process.

Full Steps:

1)     Enlarger Orientation

a)      Identify operational parts as compared to enlarger diagram labeled in class

2)     Paper Cutting

** Photographic paper comes in many standard sizes: 3½x5, 4x5, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, and larger.

** For economy, 8x10 paper is used and cut smaller when necessary.

** Care should be exercised in lining up paper on paper cutter.

a)      First cut the 10” edge into two 5”x8” pieces.

b)     Then cut the 2-5x8's by 1” on the 7” edge (stop here if 5x7's are desired). Keep the 1”x5” for a test strip. (Optional...leave it as a 5x8 or trim to a 4x10)

c)     Thus, an 8x10 can produce 4-3 1/2x5's or 2-5x7's.

d)     Also cut one of your 8x10s into 2”x8” test strips, which will give you 5 test strips.

3)     The steps to exposing a photogram are:

** You do not use the easel for this project.

a)      Make sure negative carrier is in the enlarger (be sure light is off before turning on the enlarger to put easel in place).

b)     Place your rough draft under the enlarger.

c)     Adjust enlarger height so that the focused light covers all of the paper…approximately 20” on the Enlarger Height Scale.

d)     Adjust aperture of lens to f/8 and turn off light.

e)     Set timer for 15 seconds.

f)      Place cut paper (initially, complete a test strip) under enlarger.

g)     Place object(s) on the paper.

h)     Expose paper.

i)       Subsequent exposures should be changed with the timer, not aperture.

ii)    Make changes in the 5 second range (up to +/- 15 Secs).

4)     The steps to process a resin-coated print are:

** Care should be exercised to avoid excess carryover of chemicals and to avoid splashing

** Care should be exercised to insure continuous movement of prints through chemical baths.

a)      Develop: Place print in developer for 2-3 minutes.

b)     Stop: Transfer print to stop bath for 15 seconds.

c)     Fix:

i)       Transfer print to fixer for 1 minute.

ii)    Rinse the print in the wash bath

iii)  Inspect under white light to evaluate

iv)   Return to fixer if keeping print/test strip

d)     Wash

i)       Transfer print to first wash for 3 minutes.

ii)    Transfer print to second wash for 2 minutes (turn on print dryer(s))

e)     Squeegee print.

f)      Place print in dryer.

g)     Remove print when dry.

h)     Turn in 8x10 on a white piece of copy paper in plastic protective sleeve. You may keep your 5x7s and any test strips if properly processed (fixed and washed).



Photogram Positives

Photograms, sometimes known as shadow pictures, are photographs made without a camera by positioning objects between a light source and photographic paper. The resulting image consists of shapes, forms, and tones that vary widely depending on the types of objects and how they are used.


Now, what I want you to do with a photogram is a bit different from the standard photogram.  What I would like you to do is make a print of the negative…ie. a positive. How can you do this?  Think about it. 

Negative prints, like film negatives, have a reversed, rather than a positive image. Dark subjects render as light; light subjects as dark. Your basic photogram is a negative.

Simple positive photogram prints can be made by contact-printing a negative print on to a fresh sheet of paper, using an enlarger as a light source.

To do so:

1.                Raise the enlarger head high enough so that the circle of light projected by the lens will cover the standard photogram (the negative sheet).

2.                Open the enlarging lens to its widest aperture. The exposure will be relatively long since the light must penetrate the paper base of the positive print.

3.                Position the unexposed sheet of paper under the enlarger, emulsion side up.

4.                Put the negative print face down on the unexposed paper.

5.                Place the sheet of glass on top of the two sheets of paper. Make sure the glass is clean and will press the two sheets of paper firmly together.

6.                Expose the paper for about 30 seconds, depending on the type of paper used and the density of the positive print (single-weight papers allow light through more quickly than double-weight papers). If the print is too dark, expose another sheet for less time; if it is too light, expose for more time. A test strip should be made first to help determine the accurate exposure time.

7.                Process the print like any other, and the resulting image will be a negative print of a negative print...making a positive.



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