Lumen Prints are made from organic materials gathered from the kitchen, the garden and Vancouver beaches. These prints are made by a contact printing process using organic materials that leave traces and shadows on photosensitive surfaces. These materials leave x-ray like marks of both their shapes and interiors. Plant enzymes and atmospheric conditions also interact with the surface of the paper to produce unexpected results.

Lumen prints are unique photograms made without a camera or darkroom enlarger, a process first used by botanists such as Anna Atkins and William Fox Talbot in the early 1800s. Jerry Burchfield explored the potential of this contact print process by placing Amazon Rain Forest plant specimens on fibre-based gelatine-silver paper, exposing the prints to sunlight, and fixing the prints with sodium thiosulfate (photographic fixer); he called these prints Lumen Prints.

Bladderwrack and Rainwater (2010)

Spanish Banks Impressions is a series of Lumen prints made from organic materials gathered from Vancouver’s Spanish Banks seashore. Each month, seaweed and other seashore materials (sand, beach debris, crushed sea shells) were gathered to make prints. As the seasons changed, so did these prints until each beach walk became a narrative about both the seashore and an abstraction of the seasonal yield.

Leeks, Sprouts and Rainwater (2009)

Botanical Traces is an on-going series of Lumen Prints that are digital prints made from handmade negatives using a lumen print process. Organic materials are placed on sheet film, exposed to light, and processed with fixer to preserve the image. The materials used to makes these photograms are included in the titles.

Whereas Burchfield’s work is about the ephemeral quality of light, my work was about the direct transmission of data from the subject to the photosensitive paper without the use of a camera or enlarger. It is about the intensity of the marks made on photosensitive paper, an investigation of the chemistry activated by light. In a larger sense, my work is an inquiry into the nature of permanence and impermanence. It asks, “What remains?”

more lumen prints ~ http://sassamatt.com/sass/lumenprints/index.html

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