Today we went in the darkroom to produce photograms. To make a photogram you need to use an enlarger which produces the light that you need to expose your photographic paper for a photogram. You need to at first check that the enlarger shines the light in the right place so you know when to place your photographic paper. But you must not expose your photographic paper to light before you have placed all your objects on to the paper, as this will turn your photographic paper black. This paper you can then not use which becomes expensive if you keep wasting paper. Once you have found where your light shines turn the light off and place your photographic paper under the enlarger. After you have done this then you need to place your objects on top of the photographic paper, arranging them in different ways making your photogram as interesting as possible. You can print text on to photograms if you do that you need to use a sheet of glass in between the photographic paper and your objects. You use the glass sheet to flatten the paper which could either be (five pound note, newspaper etc). This creates a very interesting print.

Once you are happy with your objects you then need to expose your photographic paper to light using your enlarger. Before you do this you need to check the time that is set on your enlarger, this is how long you will expose your photographic paper to the light. The amount of light you use depends on what shades of black, grey and white you want your photogram to turn out. For example, if you expose your paper to 3-4 seconds of light, your objects will be white and the background will be black. But the longer the expose 6-7 seconds the greyer your objects will be, which means they will not stand out as much. However the time limit is down to personal preference depending on how you want your photogram to turn out.

After you have exposed your photogram you then need to develop it, which to do so you need to place into three different chemicals, this develop the picture, stop it developing and then fix it in place. You leave your photographic paper in the DEVELOP tray for TWO MINUTES then place it into the STOP tray for 30 SECONDS and finally into the FIX tray for THREE MINUTES. When your photogram is in each tray, you must agitate the tray gently as this helps your photogram develop. This then gets posted through a water tank the other side of the darkroom which washes off the chemicals on the photogram, leave it in the water for TWO MINUTES. When using the chemical trays do not mix the tongs as the chemicals can contaminate the trays which then means your photogram may be not be successful as the processes of developing, stopping and fixing won’t take place.

After your photogram has been washed in the water, you then need to take it out and gently place it in the dryer, one photogram at a time. Once it is dry you have completed the process of making a photogram!

Health and Safety Rules

–       Bags should be left outside of the darkroom, as it is very dark and if they are left lying you could easily have an accident by tripping over them.

–       If the chemicals in the trays come into contact with your skin you should wash it off immediately with water. If you don’t this could poison you, stain you and make you ill.

–       If you get the chemicals in your eye you need to wash it out with water immediately and tell a member of staff know, as you may need to go to hospital.

–       Do not drink the chemicals as if you do, you will die. So don’t do that!

–       If you feel strange from being in the darkroom, faint, sick or dizzy you must get out of the darkroom straight away and then let a member of staff know.

–       If you are in the darkroom longer than an hour and a half you need to make sure you go outside and get some fresh air for five minutes as the chemicals can give you headaches.


Man-Ray is a photographer and most known for his photograms. In 1922 he experimented with producing images using only light and photographic paper. He called these images Rayograms, combining his name and the source of light. He produced these Rayograms by arranging translucent and opaque objects on photosensitive materials. He intentionally used objects that were three dimensional in order to create unusual shadows on the two dimensional photosensitive photo. His techniques included immersing the object in the developer during exposure, using stationary and moving light sources. He breathed life into this technique and inspired many people to experiment using photograms.