Jon Lybrook - Art & Intaglio Prints
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Jon Lybrook on Chemigrams

Colorful Chemigram Prints by Jon Lybrook

Jon Lybrook Artwork Q & A

Last updated: July 12, 2015

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. I have been creating such imagery on photographic 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 dripped, 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 characteristic to them. Inkjet prints on this site are made from the original luminograms directly for the most part, but sometimes after some degree of physical or digital enhancement has brought it to a more expressive place.

I create luminograms on large format film to render delicate, graduated tones and colors. The nature of working with these old-school materials allows for a very free feeling of controlled chaos with images taking on the appearance of the macrocosm and the microcosm... From a tempest in a teacup to interstellar nebulae, I strive to have my work embody the process of capturing nature at work.

Listen to a radio Interview with Jon Lybrook about his work in Chemigrams.

See great examples of chemigrams by printmaker Christina Anderson here.

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