Lumen & cyanolumen


Another cameraless image making technique I enjoy experimenting with is with lumen printing. This is the process of creating a photogram by laying an object as a “positive” on expired photographic paper and exposing the paper to sunlight. Over exposing the paper and adding elements to distress the process can create interesting effects as the image develops.

Bodhi leaves | Lumen

The lumen prints below have been created with fresh botanical elements and hessian fabric.


The cyanolumen process is much the same, however, one coats the expired photographic paper with light sensitive cyanotype chemicals prior to adding the subject and exposing to the sun. These images are then fixed in a chemical solution, but often I scan them prior to this as the colours can change.

2 thoughts on “Lumen & cyanolumen

  1. Jo,

    I came across your website as I was googling cyanolumen printing and love your work. I’ve been ding cyanotype for about 2 years and have recently began experimenting with wet cyanotype and am now addicted! I’m trying various papers including photo paper with different finishes and having some great results with it. A couple of questions: why do you and others refer to “expired” photo paper ? Does it bring certain properties that lead to certain effects ? Is it cheaper? Where do you get it? I’ve just been using regular photo paper but open to expired and that’s what most seem to be using. Also – you seem to get a lot of rust color in your prints and wondering what you add for that. I’ve been spraying with vinegar, adding soap suds, topping with kosher salt and sometimes turmeric. Other ideas? I expose for 3-5 hours on days with at least 6 UV. Having a lot of fun with lots of happy surprises lately. Welcome all ideas- Thanks!


  2. I kept papers that are 45 years old, here is a very nice way to recycle them into works of art… I still have to work, the talent does not come alone except at your home! Thank you for sharing your know-how so generously! Best regards!


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