Experimental photography: a handbook of techniques


I came across this book in a local art gallery and thought that it might provide some interesting ideas for experimentation. When it comes to my photography, I am aware that I have a tendency to stick within my comfort zone. To rely upon, seemingly safe, techniques. However, during the final stages of my last OCA course (People and Place), I tried something new (digital photomontage) and was really excited by the results. As I move forward with my studies, I would like to find more creative avenues to try, which is where this book comes in.

The book made for a fascinating read, but unfortunately, many of the techniques require serious investment in terms equipment and chemicals. Since I have a small house and two very young this does not seem entirely practical at the moment. However, even without this kind of investment, there were several techniques that I’ve found myself wanting to try.

The two techniques that I would most like to try are chlorophyll and transaquatype printing. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that I may be able to experiment with the transaquatype process for my first DIC assignment. Part one of the first assignment is to “use traditional ‘cut and paste’ techniques to produce a series of simple photomontages”. I wonder whether I could use transaquatype printing to create ethereal/surreal backgrounds as a starting point for my photomontages?

I have not yet seen an obvious way in which to incorporate chlorophyll painting into my DIC work. However, I see no reason why I shouldn’t experiment with this as part of my own, independent, research. In fact, I have already purchased all of the items I need to build my own contact-printing frame. Now, I just have to go and collect some suitable leaves.

In conclusion, this book has proved to be rather inspirational. It has certainly sparked some new, creative ideas that I am very excited to try. I would highly recommend this book to other students (although if my experiments turn out to be frustrating and unsuccessful, I may have to revise my opinion).

Antonini, M., Minniti, S., Gómez, F., Lungarella, G. & Bendandi, L. (2015) Experimental photography: a handbook of techniques. Thames & Hudson Ltd: London.