Review of my Photogram Alphabet

The evolution of this piece of work stemmed from myself wanting to create a traditional analogue and silver based darkroom alphabet, so I came up with the idea of making a photogram alphabet. A very simple way to communicate what the brief asked for. I love the concept of photograms and have been fascinated with them for many years now but I have not really experimented with them a lot myself.  There are many subjects and themes that can be interconnected as an alphabet with the use of photograms. What I really wanted to highlight is my personal homage to the importance and the art of photography and its birthplace in the UK. It is a very big nod and a doff of my hat to our greatest pioneer of photography William Fox Talbot. The first time I ever heard about photograms is when I was a small boy, I remember the kids TV program Blue Peter did a piece on the home of William Fox Talbot the English inventor of photography and his home Lacock Abbey. I recall being captivated with the conception of how you could capture light and chemically fix its moment in time into a photograph without the use of a camera. This is where my passion for photography first began. While being on this HND photography course I have been reintroduced to the notion of photograms, and this has reawakened my hunger and enthusiasm for the most basic of photography mediums.

I spent time considering how I could bring this concept to life, what did I need to use to construct the alphabet form?  I thought about using Blutac, Playdoh, Playskool Magnetic Letters but I wanted something a bit more hands on and constructive.  Williams Fox Talbots early photograms included a feather, I really wanted to emulate the softness but without the use of a feather as I could not easily form an alphabet from this material. I wanted an item with a soft covering that could easily be manipulated into alphabetic shapes.  I decided to use pipe cleaners as they had a soft down exterior covering that would best resemble a feather giving the appearance I was aiming for.

 After purchasing the pipe cleaners I sat and considered the simplest way to shape and form my alphabet.  I found that to create the shape I needed to bend each pipe cleaner into the basic formation of each letter.  I then cut differing lengths and attached where necessary to complete each letter.

After I had finished making the alphabet out of the pipe cleaners the letters looked pretty cool and I was ready to take them into the dark room.  I have a dark room at home so it was much easier for me to make the photograms, I wasn’t constricted to lesson time so I could have a much more relaxed approach to producing my work for this alphabet.  I started by cutting dark room paper into quarters, this was not only to save paper but I also wanted to make 26 individual photograms. I used a standard dark room method and chemical fix to obtain my images. After I completed a few test prints and was happy with the results I continued to print the whole alphabet.

The results I achieved from making these photograms were very gratifying and they look very cool. I got the exact appearance I was aiming for; the pipe cleaners gave me the feathered soft edge I was aspiring for. Once the photograms were dry I had to scan them all into Photoshop just to do a final post edit to clean them up and sharpen before I put together the final image using InDesign.

 When I showed the final image at a critique session in class a very interesting conversation presented itself. It was pointed out that the font I had inadvertently designed with pipe cleaners looked very child like almost like a Comic San font, I never even thought of this.  It is an interesting comment and when you do take another look it could also resemble writing on a school chalkboard. This makes this particular piece multi meaningful in a retrospective kind of way; everybody seems to interpret it slightly differently. This is a good place to be as it just shows how other people envisaged and view other people’s art. Overall I was very happy with this alphabet and I nailed it to what I was trying to communicate as a piece of work.

D.W Images Photography Milton Keynes

Photogram Alphabet






Milton Keynes Photography – Commercial, Event, Product, Family and Wedding


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.