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2018 Annual Conference

Philadelphia

March 01-04, 2018

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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Joseph Rheaume

SPE Member since 2002
Member Chapter: Southwest

Photogenic Drawings in Van Dyke Brown

It is very much in the spirit of William Henry Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins that I created these images of plant or botanical specimens (photogenic drawings) by contact printing them directly on my coated substrates. It is true that Anna Atkins learned directly about the invention of photography through her correspondence with its inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot, and she owned a camera, however she used only the camera-less photogenic drawing technique to produce all of her botanical images. With the assistance of Anne Dixon, Atkins created albums of cyanotype photogenic drawings of her botanical specimens. She learned the cyanotype printing method through its inventor, the astronomer and scientist Sir John Herschel, a family friend. Talbot had experimented with contact printing from as early as 1834, but it was not until the announcement of Daguerre's discovery that he made public his results. Talbot's photogenic drawings were prepared by salted paper printing. His exposures were usually made by contact printing for as long as it took an image to appear. Talbot created a photographically illustrated book of his photogenic drawings, The Pencil of Nature, published in parts beginning in 1844. My photogenic drawings were not made using the cyanotype method or using the salted paper printing process; I simply utilized the van dyke brown printing process. The van dyke brown formula I utilized was Fred Endsley's given to me by Ann Simmons-Myers and my exposures were made utilizing available sunlight and ranged from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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