Lumen Prints

As I have commented in previous articles, this holiday I have been testing a technique of photography that returns us to the nineteenth century and the beginnings of camera-­less photography when William Henry Fox Talbot made his “photogenic drawings.”

I came up with the idea by looking at the work of my friend Anu Medina, who has specialized in alternative photography, pinhole, lumen, cyanotype…  She does a great job, her images are full of sensitivity.

In the photo you can see us in the first workshop we made of Pinhole four years ago, I think from there she began to be more interested in these types of photography, which do not seek perfection, nor detail, but emotion and delicacy.

Anu in the center of the picture and me on the left, along with other friends from my photography group, spent a very fun weekend between boxes.

I had not tried again, I was very lazy with the whole process of developing with chemicals.  But I asked Anu about the lumen process, which I thought was simpler.

And I got into it…

Materials required:

  • Expired photographic paper of any size or age  (As I couldn’t get expired paper, I bought Ilford Multigrade IV RC photo paper, it cost me a little more…)
  • Two trays for washing and fixing
  • Hypo fixer mixed at 1:9
  • Tongs
  • Contact printing frame (I bought several simple glass frames)


Select a plant specimen, place it on the photographic paper, then insert it on the contact printing frame. This should be done under green safelight or subdued lighting.  Expose it to sunlight for up to 60 minutes. Exposure time depends on the strength of the sun and how you want your image to look. In my case, exposure times have been approximately 1 hour, most of them in the morning and in full sun.  After that time, washing and fixing.

It has been a very fun activity and as I did not have much hope of getting any results, I am very happy with what I have come up with. Despite the lack of adequate exposure time control and the fact that in many of them there are areas that have not been well exposed.

After scanning the originals, I edited them directly with Photoshop Camera Raw.  In most cases I have kept the blue color that results from reversing the original, but in other cases I have changed it to black and white, also in CR.

After doing this natural series, I got bored with so many plants and I thought to try other things, but I’ll tell you about that another day…

12 thoughts on “Lumen Prints

  1. This is wonderfully creative, Ana. I love the “ghostly” feel to these images. The blue tinting is marvelous! I hope you continue your experiments. And it was fun seeing you. I love those red glasses.

    Liked by 1 person

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