Monday, August 08, 2005

follow up to a photo

No, I have no idea who they are or how their image got into my computer. I don't have the photo. But I do have dozens of other photos of couples taken from the late 19th through the 1930's and some later ones. I don't know why they move me, but they do. None of them looks happy; part of it is that they were very formal and had to sit still for the camera. But it must be more than that...and I want to know their stories. Never will -- so I just imagine them. And make them part of my artwork. As I worked with them tonight, I thought I would show you how I took them from here to there. Above left, where we started. Next, I deleted the background in photoshop Elements. This is a a pain to do; if I have the actual photo I put it on the copier and take a scissors to the background. This is much faster than fooling around with the eraser tool. But here's what they look like now. After this, I go back into Photoshop and do a few more things so that I can print it out in black and white on my laser printer. Laser printer is important because I can make a thermofax screen with the carbon print; I could also use my photocopier but this works just as well. Here's the laser print. Next step requires putting it through my Thermofax machine, along with the screening material. The infared lamp burns away the plastic on the screen and I am left with a screen to print with. Here is what the screen itself looks like with the image burned through. I took the photo after I had printed with it and washed it. The paint stained it a bit but that's ok. At least you can see what it looks like. And finally, here is one of the prints I made on the drop cloth covering my print table. There were a number of them, all a little different. I just picked this one at random: the drop cloth is a great place to experiment. If you click on it, you'll see it more closely. That's it for tonight. Start to finish.

9 comments:

Frances said...

thanks for this Rayna, very interesting seeing your process,

the unhappy people in the photos, I have one of my paternal grandfather with his parents and siblings, his mother looks unhappy and my mother has always refered to her grandmother as miserable but tracing my families history I discovered when the 1901 census became availble that there is another daughter and then found she died aged 5yrs. she is not in the photo but it must have been taken around that time so my thinking is they wanted to capture a 'likeness' of the family while they were all there,
like you I wonder about photos, I bought an old picture fame with a wedding photo in and could not help but feel sad that a photo which was once loved ended in the charity shop,

mary m. said...

Rayna,

Your process is as fascinating as the couple's mystery....thanks for posting it. Now that frances brought it up, it could have been the death of a child they are mourning...happened a lot more back then. Or maybe they lost someone in the Great Flu Pandemic. Or WWI. But they do look like they love each other.

lizzieb said...

I love to see process photos, Rayna.
I've been too long away from my thermofax and have been doodling ideas for more screens...Ihave to get this big quilt quilted and then back to the fun part! Thanks for sharing.

Elle said...

How very cool! Thanks for showing your process.

Debra Spincic said...

Enjoyed this entry! thanks for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blogs; I think I thanked you a while back, but it merits saying again. The photo is different from others of that era in that the couple has leaned toward each other, and are actually touching heads. I find that unusual for picture taken during my grandmother's generation. It is sad, yet compelling in that respect. As it was stated, one wants to know what was going on. Were they madly in love and this small gesture of closeness all they were allowed?
TatjanaA

Anonymous said...

Such a great idea! I have family portraits going back to the mid 1800's. Now I know what to do with them! I can incorporate some of their stories, too. They are whoppers!

Tuscanyblue, a fabric collage fan

Rayna said...

Tatjana, you are right that this is an unusual pose for that era: mostly the couples are not interacting but are stiff and disconnected from one another. For that reason, it is especially touching.

Tuscanyblue - I'd love to see what you do with those family photos.

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