The QR code system was invented in 1994 by Toyota‘s subsidiary, Denso Wave. Its purpose was to track vehicles during manufacture; it was designed to allow high-speed component scanning. Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes now are used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (termed mobile tagging). QR codes may be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user’s device, to open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), or to compose an e-mail or text message. Users can generate and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use by visiting one of several paid and free QR code generating sites or apps. It has since become one of the most-used types of two-dimensional barcode.

My aim in this is to produce a QR code ABC but not in the standard sense. This code will be produced digitally then printed on to OHP transparencies. After this they will be reproduced in the dark room using traditional methods of silver based developing, using the transparency as a negative and making a darkroom print.  Once ready I will scan the darkroom prints back to digital files and present as an A3 Print using Photoshop to stich everything together.

I think this idea is pretty cool as it’s taking the alphabet, which is thousands of years old. Making it 21st century digital reproducing the digital version with 19th century analogue methods, then turn it back to digital thus completing a full circle photographic reproduction.

Below you will see my first time experiment from producing a QR code from an online QR code generator, printing it on plain paper. I then took this print to the darkroom and using an enlarger reproduce a darkroom print using traditional darkroom methods and chemicals.  I have added examples of these prints alongside test strips I made to get the exposer time correct.

I wanted to keep the darkroom prints nice and clean but I could not achieve this, because the QR code was printed on to paper and that was making the whites very grey.  This is nothing that I had envisaged in my head, I want clean blacks and whites so my next step is to use OHP transparencies.

To get an all-round good first exposure I tested at 2 seconds’ intervals and opted finally for and overall 3 second exposer.