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Features &

Phytograms & Lumens 

"A lumen print is a solar photogram, similar to the photogenic drawings made by Talbot. The term was popularised by photographic artist Jerry Burchfield, who has worked extensively with the technique. One of the remarkable aspects of this process is that black & white photographic materials produce a range of colours when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The range and tonality of these colours depend on the type of material used. Also, expired photographic paper or film can be used successfully. Using these older materials can even result in extraordinary colours that differ from the results obtained with fresh materials. Besides the unexpected appearance of colour, lumen prints are also exceptional because of the simplicity of this process. To make a lumen print no darkroom or specialised equipment is needed. By simply placing a plant or object on photographic paper and exposing this for a sufficient amount of time to the sunlight, an image will appear. The areas of the paper that are shielded from light will remain white. The surrounding areas will darken, the tonality will depend on the duration of the exposure. Many artist and photographers who use this technique work outside with organic materials, especially plants. But artefacts can be used as well.

©shootapalooza artists

The phytogram is a variation on the lumen print, using a (phyto)chemical component in conjunction with the effects caused by sunlight. In other words, a phytogram combines the concept of the photogram and the chemigram. The vitamin C and soda solution that is used in phytography creates marks and colourations that differ from lumen prints". ~ Karel Doing

Featured Community Event

World Cyanotype Day Event

For many of us Cyanotype Day is every day! Our World Cyanotype Day Instagram page has over 10,000 followers. It is always a delight to discover and share the many different interpretations of this enduring process by artists from all around the world.


The World Cyanotype Day Celebration will be hosted again this year on September 30 by The Big Camera and Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Last year there were over 300 flags displayed for the month of October. Thousands of visitors to Ijams saw the flags and the staff said they were comments and questions about them every day.


The theme this year is “Inheritance” - something that could be received from past generations - it might be a possession, such as the necklace in the Cyanotype of my mother, or a condition, or a trait… open to anyone’s interpretation.


The Cyanotype flags need to be 12x12 fabric squares and sent by September 25 to:


Anna Lawrence / The Big Camera

2012 Emoriland Blvd.

Knoxville TN 37917


Return shipping is required if the flags are to be returned.


The Big Camera has already had one Cyanotype workshop this spring with many more to come - hopefully we will have more interest in World Cyanotype Day this year.

Last year we received 35 flags from LabClube in Brazil for World Cyanotype Day. They kindly allowed us to keep them until this spring and they have been displayed at several local libraries around Knoxville.

©shootapalooza artists
©donna moore
©shootapalooza artists
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