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Creating Mobile Images Using Plant Matter… Anthotypes For Mobile Photography

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As you know, we are looking at as many ways to expand mobile photography into the many realms of ‘traditional/typical’ photography as possible. We have a close working relationship with the team at Impossible as you would have seen with the number and quality of articles we have published, if not see here – and we have a blossoming relationship with the team at PhotoJoJo.

We were interested in the following article relating to analog post-processing that they published last year, it’s the perfect time (in many places of the world) to delve into anthotypes and create a photo print with your captured mobile images and whatever else you can find, spinach, daises, wine, strawberries, onions and many other plants are all light sensitive.

It’s a case of once captured, leaving them in the sun long enough for your own plant prints. There is the issue of print longevity and that plays at odds with photography, recording and capturing but you can of course, scan your images. Take a look at this article featured on PhotoJoJo and let us know your thoughts and we’d love to see your creations, we are considering setting up a Flickr group, purely for these.

Reproduced with kind permission from the team at PhotoJoJo.

 

WHAT’S AN ANTHOTYPE?

The concept behind Sir John Herschels anthotypes goes like this. Grind up plant matter and paint the juices onto paper. Plop a positive film on top and allow nature to execute its handy work.

You can use all kinds of petals, leaves and berries for this process.

Here are just a few to choose from:
Note that the final color may not be the color of the original plant!

Spinach: 4-5 hours, light green (This is what we used.)
Daisy: 1 week, sepia
Red Wine: 1 week, burgundy
Pansy: 2 weeks, purple
Onion: 3-4 weeks, orange
Beetroot: 4-6 weeks, fuchsia

There is one catch. Anthotypes will fade if left out on display. You can slow down the exposure a couple of different ways.

Artist Binh Dahn encases his work in resin. Rosemary Horn exhibits her anthotypes but covers them so that viewers have to lift a flap to view the print. This protects her work but also makes you think about the fragility of nature.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • Newspaper
  • Rubber gloves
  • Grubby clothes
  • Petals, berries or leaves
  • Blender or mortar and pestle
  • Denatured alcohol (found at hardware stores)
  • Container for mixing
  • Coffee filter or cheesecloth
  • Foam brush
  • Hefty watercolor paper (300gsm suggested)
  • Contact print frame
  • A positive image on transparency film
  • OR items to produce a photogram
  • The Sun

STEP 1: TRANSFORM THE PLANT INTO EMULSION

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Once you discover the plant that suits your fancy, it’s time to blend it up. In the case of spinach, use only the leaves and you will receive a darker pigment.

Splash some denatured alcohol in the mix. Alcohol is an ideal diluter because it helps extract the chlorophyll from the plants. Blend until it looks juicy.

Strain your mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a bowl. Drip, drip, drip.

STEP 2: COAT YOUR PAPER

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Brushes with hair shed all over your paper, so you may try a foam brush.

Dampen your brush with water, so it doesn’t suck up all the plant goop. Dip it in your juice and coat your paper any funky way you like. Make sure you get it evenly spread out.

Since the sun bleaches the light areas of your positive, begin with as saturated a color as possible. This may require several applications.
Dry in a dark place to avoid premature exposing.

STEP 3: FRAME IT

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Grab your positive film and arrange it on top of your dry piece of coated paper. Place it into your contact print frame and close it up tight.
You can also use a regular frame as long as the positive stays in place. Contact print frames are really the way to go if you can get a hold of one. They have a hinged back that lets you check the exposure without accidentally moving the positive.

You can snag a reasonably priced contact print frame at B & H Photo.

STEP 4: GIVE IT TO THE SUN

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Find a place in your yard that has the brightest sun and leave your soon to be anthotypes there to cook. Check on them periodically to make sure they are not being blocked by shadows.

Now it’s time to wait. The length of your exposure depends on the weather conditions, so if it’s an overcast day, give it more time.

STEP 5: FINAL RESULT!

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Admire your print!

Anthotypes are low contrast, but instead produce a subtle and delicate looking print.

From here, you’ll want to store it away from the sun. You might want to scan your anthotype. That way, even if it fades, you’ll be able preserve what it looked like forever.

TAKE IT FURTHER

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1.) Expose your petals while you pedal, like artist Rosemary Horn. She attaches anthotypes and chlorophyll prints to her bike!

2.) Recommended Reading: Anthotypes by Malin Fabbri. The plant index is especially helpful with tips on which plants to use.
3.) Make a fancy food centerpiece. Place a stencil or positive directly onto fruit and put it in the sun!

By Joanne Carter

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said.
Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London.
Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art.
Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK.
She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: joanne@theappwhisperer.com

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