“INTERFERENCE” by Peter Friedrichsen

​​My 2019 exhibition: Imprints, was my first solo exhibition consisting exclusively of photogram works. In this exhibition, I continue my exploration of the technique in my exhibit: “Interference: Photograms in Cyanotype.”

​I am intrigued by shadow effects, which is what is recorded in a photogram. Shadows are discarded by some as a simple lack of light, but to photographers and many other artists, they are an important aesthetic to their work. Shadows become the focus of work in photograms. The technique has deep historical roots, most notably Anna Atkin’s British algae photograms of 1843. Man Ray applied the technique in silver-gelatine capturing shadows of inanimate objects. Many modern-day artists continue the practice.

In this series, I recorded photograms in cyanotype, where the inherent blue shades of the process lend a meditative introspection to the work. My choice of subjects in creating shadows is both intuitive and observational. In this series, I used clear film sheets printed with a multitude of parallel lines. The lines interfere, creating a moiré pattern. In others, it is a screen overlapping and interfering. The patterns are captured photographically in Prussian blue or may be toned.
Cyanotype toning involves converting the Prussian blue to a simple iron oxide and then to a salt of iron tannate, a pigment having various shades of black or brown and occasionally, tints of green or purple. Here, my tannin source is locally grown sumac leaves.
Two of the prints in the show are split-toned. If you only convert a part of the Prussian blue, what remains will affect the hue of the toned areas resulting in a blue to black shade. The toning process is inherently unpredictable, so you meet somewhere in the middle.

In an upcoming book by Annette Golaz, the artist goes beyond traditional toning, making among other works, multi-coloured cyanotype prints using only botanicals. I am honoured to be among a number of featured artists in the book. It is scheduled for release in late 2021.

Golaz, Annette. Cyanotype Toning, Using Botanicals to Tone Blueprints Naturally. New York: Routledge, 2022.

I hope you enjoy the exhibition!

My short ‘Process’ video below goes into a little more detail about my studio, setup and techniques.

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