The Blue Project – Contact Printing Frame

I designed a plan for my contact print frame using Visio. In order to make this split screen contact print frame I need the following:

  • Glass Sheet 13″ x 19″ (A3+) (edges dressed so that they are not sharp)
  • 2 x Sheet MDF (15mm) 13″ x 9 1/2″
  • 2 x Blass Flat Hinges 3″ x 2″
  • 1 x Rubber Sheet (3mm) 13″ x 19″ (A3+)
  • 4 x Metal Spring Clips 4″

Contact Frame Plan

So far I have ordered and received the rubber sheet and spring clips. It is my aim to source the glass, MDF and hinges from a local hardware store. Once constructed this frame will be able to accommodate paper up to and including A3 in size.

The Blue Project – Cyanotype Requirements

Experimental Photography – A Handbook Of Techniques has been a great source of information relating to creating sensitizing solutions for relating various solar photogram and contact printing methods. This includes creating Cyanotypes which is my intended medium for this particular project.

In order to try this method  I need the following:

  • 8oz (227g) of Ferric Ammonium Citrate Green
  • 8oz (227g) of Potassium Ferricyanide
  • 3 x 500ml Amber Bottles (Solution A, Solution B & Sensitizer Mix)
  • 600ml Glass Beaker
  • 200g Electronic Scales
  • Glass Stirring Rods
  • Plastic Funnels
  • Foam Brushes
  • Working Trays (probably use takeaway / food tubs)
  • Art Paper
  • Matt Postcards
  • Storage Box
  • Light Proof Bags (for the papers once sensitized)
  • Gloves (Nitrile) XL
  • Distilled Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
  • Contact Printing Frame (will make)
  • Source of Ultraviolet Radiation (Sun or possibly a 2nd hand UV Sun Lamp)

I have ordered the above and most has already arrived and now together in a decent sized plastic storage box. I am constructing a split contact printing frame using the plans in the book. This frame will be able to accommodate paper up to and including A3 in size.

Safety Data Sheets for the chemicals used in this process are shown below:

Ferric Ammonium Citrate Safety Data Sheet

Potassium Ferricyanide Safety Data Sheet

Hydrogen Peroxide 3% Safety Data Sheet

The Blue Project – Introduction

Whilst stuck on Assignment Three I have been musing over, researching and doing some work towards a longer term project that may well take a great deal of time (and energy) beyond EYV.

I have been taken with the idea of producing cyanotypes for quite some time and have been researching into the methods and technical details of what is required. I have found a great deal of useful information online and have sourced a rather excellent book:

Experimental Photography – A Handbook Of Techniques

Thames & Hudson

ISBN-10: 0500544379

ISBN-13: 978-0500544372

This book covers the chemistry and techniques of most early sensitizing and development methods including Cyanotypes.

My idea for this project centres around:

  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Self Harm

Blue being a colour strongly associated with the above, I thought that Cyanotypes would be a good medium to reinforce my project theme. These items could include but are not limited to the following:

  • Razor Blades
  • Knives
  • Pills
  • Rope
  • Belt
  • Train Tracks
  • High Point
  • Car Exhaust
  • Gunshot
  • Drowning
  • Fire
  • Crash
  • Electrocution
  • Poison

Assignment 2 planning part 4

Texture blending

I thought I would try some of the images I took on Friday blended with a texture layer. I have been collecting a great number of image resources from photo magazines for the last few years, these include a number of textures. Looking through my collection I chose to experiment using the texture below.


I added the texture as a separate layer to several of the station images. I tried several of Photoshop’s blending modes and settled on using ‘Vivid Light‘. This blend process is described below:

Vivid Light

Burns or dodges the colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

(Incorporated, 2016)

The six images I created are shown below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am pleased with the results and would really value other people’s opinion. I used the same texture and blending mode on each of the images for a degree of consistency. Not sure whether to try a different texture and blending mode with each image. Personally I think that this will just appear rather random and muddled.Further experimentation could be made using a different single texture and a different single blend mode.


Incorporated, A.S. (2016) Blending modes. Available at: (Accessed: 24 October 2016).

Assignment 2 planning part 3

Hmm… Well I spend few hours at Waterloo and Euston Stations Friday afternoon and used the tube to get between them. There were a reasonable number of people about at each location and less down the tube. I took quite a number of images, but on reviewing them when I got back home I was less than happy. Most were blurred manly down to camera shake and me trying to focus on moving people. Lighting was very mixed and shutter speed increase was a contributing factor. I might have had better (noisier) results if I had used a higher or even auto ISO.

I really want to photograph larger crowds, so I will really have to be there during rush hour. I was also very concerned about getting stopped or quizzed by station staff or security so didn’t make use of the tripod I had with me. However hindsight being a wonderful thing I thought I would check online exactly what Network Rails policy was towards photographers and photography was. I was actually pleasantly surprised and wish I had read it before now. The following link explains it in-depth:

An extract from the information page is shown below which may be of interest to fellow students:

You can take photographs at stations provided you do not sell them. However, you are not allowed to take photographs of security related equipment, such as CCTV cameras.

Flash photography on platforms is not allowed at any time. It can distract train drivers and train despatch staff and so is potentially very dangerous.

Tripod legs must be kept away from platform edges and behind the yellow lines. On busy stations, you may not be allowed to use a tripod because it could be a dangerous obstruction to passengers.

(policy, 2016)

Now that I know this I could have used my tripod providing I had taken care! To quote Alanis Morissette “Isn’t it ironic!“. Therefore I shall treat this visit as another scouting trip and plan another trip. Though as already mentioned I would see larger crowds during rush hour times. So timing is critical (07:00 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 19:00), and with a larger amount of people even greater care when using a tripod. Also trying different positioning to get more faces and crowds coming towards camera would be better. I know that on the underground tripods are a no-no and only small camera photography is permitted. They may well classify my SLR as a large camera and get all official, so would have to be careful.

I did have a play around with stacking and merging some of the images I took to try to get the effect in the images I wanted. I want to have elements in the composition in focus and others in movement. Not just a slight blur but a stacked blur to really emphasise the movement.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I may also try blending textures to achieve my desired outcomes.


policy, c. (2016) Railway enthusiasts. Available at: (Accessed: 23 October 2016).

The Documentary Impulse – Stuart Franklin

More lubricant for the rusty brain cells, this time in the form of ‘The Documentary Impulse‘ (Franklin, 2016). In fact, I am already half way through reading it for a second time.


The book is by the renowned photographer Stuart Franklin, who was responsible for the famous image of a lone man in Tiananmen Square stopping a line of tanks. In it he discusses and attempts to explain what has driven the human race to record events since man lived in caves to the present day.

The book cover covers the driving need or impulse to document life from cave paintings to everyday life. How photography full of bias and sentimentality tried to capture a lost Eden rooted in Colonial outposts or concord nations. The use of documentary photography to highlight inadequate or substandard care of the mentally ill or those in prison as a force to drive change or reform. The use of image-choc (shocking pictures) to influence or prick public and political conscience is discussed, along with the arguable concept of ‘Compassion Fatigue’.

Though I found the discussions regarding the way documentary photography has influenced and driven change most interesting. From social reform of the poor and child labour to driving political change in the cases of war such as the Nigerian-Biafran war and the Vietnam war.

The book also discusses staged documentary shoots and manipulation of documentary photography.

As I have already said I am halfway through reading it for the 2nd time as I really want to understand what Stuart Franklin is saying. If you are interested in documentary photography or just want to ready a good book about photography I do not think you will be disappointed, this is a well written, well presented and interesting read.


Franklin, S. (2016) The documentary impulse. United Kingdom: Phaidon Press.

The Photograph as Contemporary Art – Charlotte Cotton

I have been doing a lot of thinking of late. Getting myself wound up in a knot over the exercises in Part 1. I guess I am trying to read too much into what is required. This feels like trying to start an old car; the key is in the ignition and the engine is making some sort of a sound, but it is not firing up and starting as it should and therefore isn’t moving. Depressing eh, and I guess I am far from alone in this regard. So I am trying to lubricate the mental machinery by reading.


Along with the course materials I received a book ‘The Photograph as Contemporary Art’ (Cotton, 2014), so I started with that.

The book is broken down into 8 chapters each covering different ways and genres that photographers/artists have utilised the photograph as contemporary art. These are:




Chapter 1: If This Is Art – This chapter concerns itself with the photographic image being the desired outcome of the artists’ idea/s. Images look for all intents and purposes as unplanned happenstance or serendipitous, where in fact there are all carefully planned, crafted and executed.

Chapter 2: Once Upon a Time – This chapter discusses the use of storytelling by the use of contemporary art photography. The essence of creating a single image that tells a story by the careful crafting of a visual narrative.

Chapter 3: Deadpan – This chapter covers a range of photographers who utilise a Deadpan aesthetic in their works. The photographer takes the image with a cool detached and unemotional intent. A favoured documentary style that allows the viewer to engage with the image and form their own conclusions.

Chapter 4: Something and Nothing – This chapter is about how artists have created contemporary photographic art using non-human artefacts. Everyday objects, mundane items and the obscure are posed, positioned and staged into something artful.

Chapter 5: Intimate Life – A chapter devoted to how stories of intimate and personal nature are brought to life as contemporary photographic art. Narratives are portrayed in powerful, shocking and sometimes tender ways that are charged with emotional intent.

Chapter 6: Moments in History – This chapter considers how contemporary art photographers present images that bear witness to significant, momentous or infamous events. Many of these images cover war, conflict, distress and disaster, but can equally concern themselves with personal or domestic history.

Chapter 7: Revived and Remade – This chapter introduces a postmodernist stance towards the creation of contemporary photographic art. The postmodernist approach full of signs and symbolism is utilised in creative and manipulative ways to present a fantasy or homage.

Chapter 8: Physical and Material – The final chapter presents artists who utilise all forms of photography, medium, materials and methods of presentation in their contemporary art. They celebrate the rich diverse past of photography mending it with current methodologies to create something unique.

This book was an interesting and eye-opening read. It was complimented by 244 predominantly colour pictures. The chapters I felt most interested in and drawn towards were; ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘Deadpan’ and ‘Moments in History’ as I like documentary photography and could see how might employ these styles in my own photography. I also liked the created fantasy of the ‘Revived and Remade’ chapter. I think the hardest chapter for me to grasp was ‘Intimate Life’. I found difficultly in engaging with or relating to the presented imagery. I will endeavour to reread this chapter and try and fathom out why.



Cotton, C. (2014) The photograph as contemporary art. 03rd edn. London, United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson.