Oxford Summer School

Sustainable Camera-less Photography

Monday 8th August for 3 days — Cost: £156

Tutor: John A. Blythe

This course is fully booked - contact us to be added to a waiting list

What does a plant-based photography practice look like? Over a period of three days, this workshop will walk you through a progressive and connected series of processes that explore a conceptual relationship between photography and plants. Though the predominant view of photography may be one of technology and machinery, in fact early photography was much more in tune with the natural world. From William Henry Fox Talbot’s photograms of leaves and Anna Atkins cyanotypes of algae and ferns to Sir John Herschel’s anthotype of a scarlet heath ( Erica cerinthoides) there has been an ongoing dialogue between photography and nature. Using plants and flowers both as our subject as well as a key ingredient in our process, we will investigate a more sustainable approach to analogue photographic practice. We will explore the Cyanotype process from raw materials to completed exposure, make Phytograms on both paper and film, make Chemigram’s using our own plant based chemistry and experiment with Lumen printing, developing an understanding of each medium and exploring the overlaps and creative possibilities they present.

Day 1: Cyanotype image making; from a simple plant impression to an exploration of personal creative approaches, we will experiment and play with material choices subject selections and creative interventions and intentions.

Day 2: Chemigrams and Phytograms; we will experiment with making our own plant based photographic developer chemistry and work with conventional light sensitive photographic paper, without the need for darkroom or camera to explore the hinterland between the representational and the abstract.

Day 3: Lumen printing and combining processes; our final day will start with probably the simplest but no less beautiful process of creating lumen prints, followed by an opportunity to playfully explore ways of combining aspects of each process to find unique personal expressions.

Materials Costs to Students

£20 to cover materials.

Please Bring

  • Fresh or dried flowers in a range of sizes and shapes
  • Objects to act as a resist when printing e.g. lace or net