things with photos

This term at school has seen the students engaging with digital media to create artworks. Basically they have taken photographs and manipulated them using photoshop, iPhoto or iPad apps. The theme has been ‘urban landscape’ and it has been so exciting to see a variety of responses. The task was set to manipulate the photos to emphasise the elements of art, that is, Line, Shape, Colour, Line etc. being mindful of the important part that the principles of design play. (Rhythm, contrast, focal point etc)

Having reach the end of that challenge I thought it would be good to challenge the students further to use their images in other ways. So this weekend I have thoroughly enjoyed gathering together some transfer techniques, collage ideas and other ways to use photographs.

A selection of ideas
A selection of ideas

One of my favourite discoveries was a transfer technique that I modified a little from a book called Image transfer workshop by Darlene Olivia McElroy & Sandra Duran Wilson.

It is a fascinating book full of many image transfer techniques, that I find myself flicking through over and over again. As I’m flicking I’m asking myself how I could use the techniques and I am also trying to translate some of the media and equipment from American to Australian. Some of the media referred to appears to be a brand’s particular name not actually what the media is. For example, there is reference to Crystal Clear, which somehow I have deduced (and hope I am right) is a clear spray varnish or gloss. Perhaps I may not be right about this translation but it doesn’t matter too much as the technique works!

I have experimented with two ways of using this technique. One is to make a laser print of an image and completely spray it with the clear spray gloss. The amount of gloss sprayed directly relates to the amount of image transferred and clarity of the image. However too little and nothing happens, too much and you just have a glossy messy puddle on your paper.  I have found that I prefer a smooth, fairly heavily weighted  paper to transfer onto, perhaps between 200 and 300 gsm. I guess it depends on what you want to do with the image afterwards, as to what type of paper you will use. Textured papers give a more patchy effect. I am not too keen on that.

Image transfers onto paper

I can imagine multiple images being transferred this way and then being drawn over or torn up and collaged. I images appear mysterious and ethereal. That, I am really keen on.

The other method I explored was printing my image on an overhead transparency and then using the spray gloss technique. Nearly all the image is removed from the transparency and it is a fantastically direct method. Only don’t spray too heavily as the shiny sheet may move a little. This image is actually a drawing I did earlier and then printed it out on a laser printer.

Image transfer from overhead transparency

So simple, so easy. Just one thing to remember – this is a technique that must be done in a well ventilated area as the fumes can be quite overwhelming. Using a mask would also be a good idea. None the less, I love this idea to extend uses for photographs and computer generated images.

Have you tried using a spray gloss to transfer an image? What did you do with it in the end? I would love to hear about your success or otherwise! Stay tuned for more things with photos to come.

Thanks for your company. JP

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