A photogram is a photographic image made (without a camera) by placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The result is a negative shadow image varying in tone, depending on the transparency of the objects used Areas of the paper that have received no light appear white; those exposed through transparent or semi-transparent objects appear grey.Citation
last = Langford
first = Michael
title = Basic Photography
place = Oxford
publisher = Focal Press
year = 1999
edition = 7th
isbn = 0 240 51592 7

This method of imaging is perhaps most prominently attributed to Man Ray and his exploration of rayographs. Others who have experimented with the technique include László Moholy-Nagy, Christian Schad (who called them "Schadographs"), Imogen Cunningham and even Pablo Picasso.fact|date=October 2008


Like all photographic processes, photograms require light. The most commonly used source of light for this purpose is the enlarger used in conventional negative printing, but any light source can be used, like, for example, the sun. The figure on the right shows how the image is formed. In the traditional darkroom setting, the paper is held in place using a printing frame. The objects to be used in making the image are placed on top of the paper. When a suitable composition has been found, the enlarger is used to expose the paper (tests will have to be done to check the exposure time and aperture required). Finally, the paper is processed, as normal, in print-developing chemicals, and washed and dried.fact|date=October 2008


Some of the first photographs ever made were photograms. William Henry Fox Talbot made numerous of these images (which he called "photogenic drawings") by placing leaves and pieces of material, like lace, onto pieces of photo-sensitive paper and then leaving them outdoors on a sunny day to expose, making an overall dark background and a white outline of the object used (which had blocked the light from the paper). Also in the early days of photography, Anna Atkins produced a book of her photograms, the first book of photographs ever made. These were somewhat similar to Talbot's images, in that they were exclusively images of botanical specimens (ie. plants), but they differed significantly in their appearance as they were made by the cyanotype process which made them blue in colour, as opposed to the more conventional brown/black silver halide processes. This book, a one-off, can still be seen in the National Media Museum in Bradford, [England] fact|date=October 2008


Photograms were again used to startling effect in the 20th Century by a number of photographers, particularly Man Ray, who called them "rayographs". His particular style included capitalizing on the stark and unexpected effects of negative imaging, unusual juxtapositions of identifiable objects (such as spoons and pearl necklaces), varying the exposure time given to different objects within a single image, and moving objects as they were exposed.fact|date=October 2008

Cameraless photography

There exist a large range of techniques to produce photographic images (i.e. involving light) without using a camera, including the usage of scanners and photocopying machines - and this is not even including printing processes like modern lithography or photogravure. Experimentation with such techniques has become popular since the 1960s, when artists like Robert Rauschenberg started to push the boundaries of the photographic image-making process. Even other adaptations of photograms have been experimented with, such as those using birefringence, a process whereby polarized light is used instead of normal light to create an interference pattern of crystals or plastic objects, creating colourful, abstract pictures. Photobatik is one of Photogram techniques produced by a Japanese artist Yoshio Machida. The Photobatik image is produced with only source of light and print-developing chemicals, without cameras and objects.fact|date=October 2008

List of notable photographers using photograms

*Susan Derges
*Max Ernst
*Garry Fabian Miller
*Adam Fuss
*Raoul Hausmann
*El Lissitzky
*Denton McCabe
*Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
*Pablo Picasso
*Sigmar Polke
*Robert Rauschenberg
*Man Ray
*Curtis Moffat
*Alexander Rodchenko
*Dieter Roth
*Christian Schad
*Kurt Schwitters
*Raoul Ubac
*Piet Zwart
*Gilbert and George
*Yoshio Machidafact|date=October 2008


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Photogram — Pho to*gram, n. [Photo + gram.] A photograph. [R.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • photogram — /foh teuh gram /, n. a silhouette photograph made by placing an object directly on sensitized paper and exposing it to light. [1855 60; PHOTO + GRAM1] * * * ▪ photographic print       shadowlike photographic image made on paper without the use of …   Universalium

  • photogram —    A photographic print made by placing an arrangement of objects on photosensitive paper exposed to light to yield an image of ghostly silhouettes floating in a void of darkened space. The first photogram was probably made around 1802 …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • photogram — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1859 a shadowlike photograph made by placing objects between light sensitive paper and a light source …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • photogram — noun A photograph made without using a camera; normally by placing an object in contact with photosensitive paper and exposing it to light …   Wiktionary

  • photogram — noun a picture produced with photographic materials but without a camera. ↘archaic a photograph …   English new terms dictionary

  • photogram — pho·to·gram …   English syllables

  • photogram — /ˈfoʊtəgræm/ (say fohtuhgram) noun a photograph made without a camera, by exposing to light an object placed on sensitised paper …  

  • photogram — n. 1 a picture produced with photographic materials but without a camera. 2 archaic a photograph …   Useful english dictionary

  • Luminogram — A luminogram is an image created by exposure of photosensitive materials to light without the intervention of an object. TechniqueThe light is modulated by varying the intensity through distance from the photosensitive surface, the power of the… …   Wikipedia

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