Progression In The Darkroom

I have made a fair amount of progress this week within the research of my final outcome and through experimentation in the darkroom space.

I decided to use A2 paper negatives as the transparencies for the large scale outcomes. This is both a cheaper option, but also when tested the negatives create a higher contrast image. The lens based technology technician looked at both my visuals produced by acetate and paper, and assessed the density in each format. There was a greater difference between the blacks and the transparent sections within the paper negatives and this is why the final image produced is consistently high in quality. Furthermore, the ink on top of the acetate that I used bubbles when printed as there was no absorbent layer and this meant that the white sections in the final image were speckled. 

I also tested the contrast of the image so as the lightest tones within the image are pure white and the darkest are pure black. The best way of testing contrast is by adding a magenta filter when exposing the image. Although this creates the true black and whites when set to scale five, there is no in-between tone which is not what I am aiming for. Therefore if I half the setting to 2.5 magenta I am not compromising the contrast of the print, but allowing for some shades to appear between the two extremes, also defining the individual layers. 

Another test to complete was that of the exposure time to insure the light can absorb through the negatives. When using acetate negatives I set the exposure time to roughly 30 seconds and the aperture on the enlarger to one ‘click’ above the lowest. However as the white areas in the paper negatives are not completely clear, a high aperture was used and the exposure time was quadrupled. I found that this allowed for the second negative layer to be picked up and for a distinction between the two, meaning that I ended up with a foreground middle ground and background in structure. 

The next stage is to edit my body of work so as I am able to understand which compositions work well together, but also which imagery should be placed within the visuals. When discussing with my tutor, it was clear that all obvious forms of communication should be avoided, therefore symbols such as hearts and cliché wording should be a minimum. This means that my imagery will become more abstract and interesting as the audience will not be focused on the decorative nature of some of my original drawings, but more on understanding the meaning behind the visuals. I feel that the darkroom is the workshop which is also inherent to my subject matter, sue to the fact that I am working in darkness. At the centre of this project is an exploration into the unknown and gaining an understanding how my body works inside. The darkroom allows me to concentrate, and metaphorically enter inside the darkness of my body to bring to light my imaginative visuals. I am effectively painting with light and creating x-ray like images which illustrate and bring positivity to Coeliac Disease. 

My aim this week is to print the larger scale photograms in the darkroom, focusing on presentation and consistency. Each of the photograms must flow into one another and create a narrative to the audience as a whole. I will then be experimental even in my final outcome to create a body of work which is of a high quality but the subject matter is rich also.


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