|Last updated: March 17, 2013|
Chemigrams use photo-sensitive paper, primarily in conjunction with photo chemistry to create pictures. These can be either figurative or non-figurative images. This is distinct from Luminograms, which are done on film. Jon Lybrook has been creating such imagery on film since 1991. The silver gelatin is modified by light and chemistry in order to create the desired image or effect. The chemicals may be dropped, sprayed, or applied with a brush. Often a combined technique is employed: Exposed photosensitive material is sometimes developed or fixed only partially. Conventional black and white photo paper or film can result in different color tones.
The emulsion also can be modified by a large range of metallic salts, toners, and couplers. "Finished" chemigrams can be very dynamic. The tones often change by the influence of light, temperature and humidity, especially when they are not fixed or chemicals remain on the surface.
Color photo papers react in different ways and can be used as well. Organic substances like enzymes can have a immense influence on the emulsion. Sometimes the emulsion is physically modified by scratching into the gelatin or even by burning (brulage) parts of the paper. Many chemigrams have a strong painterly character to them. Inkjet prints offered by Jon Lybrook on this site are made from the original luminograms directly for the most part, but sometimes after some degree of physical or digital enhancement.
Jon Lybrook creates luminograms on large format film as the core image of his prints because of film's ability to render such delicate, graduated tones and colors. The nature of working with these materials allows for a very free feeling of controlled chaos with images taking on the appearance of the macrocosms and microcosms...from a tempest in a teacup to interstellar nebulae, it embodies the process of nature at work. These film-based images are then transferred to polymer photogravure plates where they are hand-wiped with multi-colored, oil-based inks and printed on to fine art paper using an intaglio press.