Photogravure Adventures

Memory, time and the image are what drive my practice, (the dynamic visual status of remembrance and daydream). In print, this means introducing interruption in the way an image is received, through the process of reprinting, and then again in how it is presented in exhibition. Exaggerating the aesthetics of photo etchings, pushing bleed and blur, or ‘error’, as Boym says, ‘errors’, “capture a manual labour of memory and a “personal” touch that imprints in the images like a disruptive signature”.


Because of this it could either be easier, or harder to compare digital and analogue photo transfer to printing plates. Similarly comparing toyobo photo etching plates, and photo polymer laminated plates, may also be harder or easier to see the effects of. But this is where my starting point is.


The visual effects of digitisation such as dpi and pixilation, are often carried across to plate when using digital photography or an acetate aqua tint screen and image (that is digitally printed) to transfer an image & aqua tint to the plate.

There is here, in my opinion, sometimes a loss of the physicality, and the gestural because of this. I wish to use analogue technologies to reconnect with more traditional etching aesthetics in photogravure, to show human ‘error’, and to re explore mark making; intervening in the process of image transfer and exposing plates.


Another ‘spanner in the works’ however is that the photo’s I use often already contain blur, or are close ups, sometimes microscope close ups.


I have started at Derby by using glass plate negatives to transfer an image to toyobo plate so that no digital effects are introduced. But have had to use an aqua tint screen still.


I then went back to ‘Image On Blue Film’ a photopolymer film, which i feel is closer to traditional etching. A seemingly common feature of photo etching with toyobo plate is an almost clinical precision, which looses touch with the material aesthetic of an etching sometimes. But this could also be flipped to show blur in more detail!


I am now in the process of using both toyobo and photo polymer laminated plates to print with to compare. Again, because I intend to use a photo of the prints to expose a fresh plate to, I will exaggerate the effects of the printing in both mediums to compare this also.


Boym, Svetlana, Nostalgic Tecnologies: multitasking with clouds, Photo works, 05/2012, issue

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