August 25, 2013

an album of prints: photoplymer etchings

the prints below catalogue some of my work using photopolymer etching plates.
i use the single exposure technique. when i first learned photopolymer etching i decided that what was more important to continue working and using this technique as well as collagraphs, was a press, rather than the aquatint screen which was necessary to capture fine detail and perhaps depth. both of which were expensive. i asked my teacher if we could use the single exposure method. she replied by saying that the single exposure was what she had first learned, but therafter she had used the screen, particularly for photographs and photo collages. we could try it out and take a chance on the results, as she wasnt sure what we might get. i was ready to do that because i thought that it would be easier to waste a couple of 5 x 7 inch plates and be sure of what i could do. and it worked. the two images below show the first photo collage etchings that i made, a series on the lahore fort. they show details from the naulakha pavilion on the right, and on the left a bastion and stairway from the main entrance area of the fort.
the first image was made using the aquatint screen, i.e. double exposure; the second, using the same transparencies, was used to make a single exposure plate. the third image shows another plate made using a collage of six images: the bridge at the bottom; graffiti on an old wall, a detail from the famous mosaic wall and a filigree stucco window in the centre; and at the top a view of the outer battlements surrounding the main fort. i found this plate hard to ink, and had to experiment with it several times until i was satisfied. i was about to throw it away initially, but luckily i was working out of joan thompson's studio at the time, and she encouraged me to ink it in different ways. 

the single exposure technique gives one areas of great detail while it bites away others, so that in one plate you will find areas of intaglio and relief. this is particularly noticeable in the third image. 
although i now have an aquatint screen, gifted to me by john lingenfelter, who runs bare naked press and jilink studios with his wife irene, i have not used it so far, mainly because i enjoy the uncertainty of the results and the open quality of the resulting plate. except for the top image, all of the prints shown here are single exposures. i like the exposed quality which highlights the erosion in old buildings.

mausoleum at makli necropolis.
this tomb is of red sandstone.

looking out from the mausoleum
of Isa Khan Tarkhan(he was said to
have had the right hands of his best artisans
cut off when they left work on the monument).

looking out of the doorway
 of the room housing the tombs
 of isa khan tarkhan and his family.

inscriptions from unidentified tombs at makli.

in the centre is the tomb of jam nizamuddin,
 which has muslim and hindu architectural motifs.
right: tomb inscriptions from a broken pillar
 propped up against a half broken chhatri
the following three prints are new ones from the continuing arizona series. all of them are single exposure etchings, which shows you that by playing with exposure timings and washout times you can preserve plenty of detail. 
although i prefer to ink my plates in black and white, i sometimes use colour with water colour pencils, or ink the plate a la poupee.
because i often cut my etching plates into small pieces to fit the images i am using, you will find that many of my prints have an irregular edge, unavoidable if you want to play with sizes that differ from the standard plate size.

night blooming cereus


prickly pear, or nopal

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