Why are Lumen Art Prints of flowers so unique and why do I love them so much? Well, it’s a combination of their beauty as pieces of art and the delicate, ethereal imprint of the flowers’ essence left behind by how they are made.
I was reminded of this recently when my husband gave me some flowers on my birthday including some alstroemeria flowers. I adore flowers and get a double whammy with them as I can enjoy their beauty and scent, and then use them to create art that can be enjoyed long after the petals have faded and fallen. This is where Lumen prints come in.
Lumen prints, lumen art and lumen negatives, which are different names for the same thing, are created using a cameraless form of photography dating back to the 1830s and Henry Fox Talbots’ experiments with ‘photogenic drawing’. You can read more about them here, but essentially a real object or item, such as a flower, is used to create the image. I find it one of the most intimate forms of photography because the flower is not simply seen at a distance through a lens but is physically in contact with the negative when it is created. There’s an ethereal essence to them that ‘regular’ photography, drawings and paintings just don’t have.
Last year my husband bought me some flowers for our anniversary a beautiful bouquet that brought beauty and scent into my studio while putting a smile on my face. I had the joy of seeing them for a week or so while I worked before taking a few into the darkroom. I created a few different pieces but my favourite was a lumen print showing the flowers as a delicate almost ghostly negative image. This has now been framed and is on the wall where I can see it every day.
Recently on my birthday he once again bought me a beautiful bouquet that I have placed in my studio so I can enjoy them every day. Perhaps in a week or so I’ll head back into the darkroom with these new flowers and see what they will create with the help of some light-sensitive chemicals and some processes from back in the 19th century.