[PICTURE-moire photogram]

made with halftone screens,
resulting in moire patterns
(83k jpeg)

(23k jpeg)

all images © wendy mukluk

(50k jpeg)

- a little slide show of photograms -


A photogram is a contact print. It is made by placing something opaque or translucent on light sensitive material and then exposing it to light. This blocks out part of the light, and makes a pattern or picture on the light sensitive material when it is exposed to light and processed.


Any light sensitive material may be used, including black and white or color, direct or reversal photographic paper or film; hand sensitized papers such as blueprint, gum bichromate, or brownprint; commercial blueprint paper; color key. Outdated or partly fogged photographic paper or film may be used. Outdated materials may need longer exposure times than the same materials new. Fogged materials might give interesting effects (blotches, overall grays, pale thin spots or dark dense spots, etc.)

Block out the light with things that have interesting shapes or can be arranged in interesting patterns. Some possibilities are:


Place objects on light sensitive material. If objects are thin enough, cover with glass to hold in place.
Expose to light. Use enlarger, room light, sunlight, depending upon type of material. Use standard exposure times for the particular material. For example, if the average time for blueprints is 15 minutes in bright sunlight, a blueprint photogram will take about 15 minutes in bright sunlight; or, if your photo paper usually needs about 10 seconds in the enlarger, a photogram on that paper in the enlarger will take about 10 seconds.
Process according to manufacturer's instructions for specific light sensitive material.

For variations, try:

For more information:

Robert Hirsch, Exploring Color Photography, William C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque Iowa, 1989

Kodak Creative Darkroom Techniques, Eastman Kodak Co. Rochester NY, 1973

[PICTURE-head photogram]

self portrait with Chapstick smudge
© wendy mukluk

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last update 1-19-02 (link added 9-22-09)