Barely-There Prints

I could not make it through this semester without popping into the print studio. My research of drawings and photographs always lead me into the loving arms of the screen printing beds and the exposure light box.

After researching sites for my fashion film, I was left with a lot of interesting photographs of what I called ‘Urban Voids’ around Dundee. I wanted to create prints out of these photographs using only the colour white. I emphasise the word colour as white is not the absense of colour as many would believe, but the presence of all colours.

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Screen print of void drain on tracing paper

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Screen print of void drain on white paper with foam on top

It is not easy to create a print that is entirely white. First of all, the shades of white from the ink and the paper can be different making one look less white than the other. Secondly, white on white is very hard to make out. To get around this, instead of screen printing on white paper or even tracing paper like I previously had, I wanted to play with the levels of the paper.

After working with blind embossing in 3rd year I was desperate to give it another try. The simplicity that this technique produces is so appealing and incredibly satisfying. Embossing is the way to go to create all-white monochrome prints without any ink at all.

I took a photograph of the Urban Void at Park Place, Dundee and other sites, and drew onto them on Photoshop. I used both thick and thin lines to achieve depth in my embossing. I then used this image and exposed it onto a photo plate and left the plate to develop in the sun.

This was my second attempt at making a photo embossing plate as the lines were not thick enough on my first plate meaning the embossing was not as deep and the lines were too hard to make out. As I now knew how thick I needed the lines I was able to play about with the thickness to make the print more visually interesting. Fabriano paper was the best choice for printing onto as it is both thick and soft. Unfortunately, although visually very interesting in person in my opinion, the embossing is not the easiest to photograph.

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It is hard to make out the finer lines in the background when photographed, but here is an idea of what the embossing looks like. I love that the viewer will need to come in close to these prints to realise what it is showing. My idea behind the Urban Void is to notice empty land that we walk past every day so in making these prints I am encouraging the viewer to really stop, come in close, and take notice of these Urban Voids.

To develop these prints I will scale them up. I am limited by the size of the photo developing box in the print studio but to get around this I will laser cut my image onto MDF and put this through the press with the paper. I am also currently thinking about presentation and was hoping to illuminate the prints to both attract viewers and make the prints more visible. I have been considering creating a film piece on the green screen and projecting this piece onto my prints. I would be filming one of my models moving or dancing around wearing my Tyvek costume and putting them in the place by projecting them onto my embossing. My plan is to scale up these prints first and see if the projection would work or if the piece is successful enough in its own right without the dancer. So get ready to see some big Urban Voids!

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