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  1. #1

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    disapearing photograph experiment

    Hello
    I am fascinated about the idea of a photograph being an temporary object.
    Now I want to make a dissappearing photograph. The idea is that there will be a (b&w or color) photograph in an (lightproof) envelop, the reciever of this envelop will take the photograph out and, it being exposed by daylight, will go black before his/hers eyes.
    Question, is this possible?
    I did tests with developing bariet and platsic coded photopapers and did wash them but without fixing them I dried them and put them in an envelop, when I opened the envelops in daylight, I was surprised to see that they would only very slowly change color after being exposed to the light.
    Does anyone now how to fasten this process? Ideally it should turn black in a minute or so!
    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    edp
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    Do one of those one-year pinhole solargraphs, you only get one chance to look at them.

  3. #3
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Well you could store solagraphs in a light tight box and view them under safelight. The one that was posted recently on apug and elsewhere was destroyed as he decided to scan the image in. The bright light strip from the scanner obviously destroyed it.

    The impossible project used to have a product called fade to black where the Polaroid does exactly that. The image goes totally black within minutes or hours.

    I would also checkout different brands of paper. Each reacts a bit differently to light when not fixed. Some have different hues that appear, others go darker when hit with a light source. Good luck

  4. #4

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    hi sema

    i do this all the time ... and have a whole drawer FULL of photographs that have disappeared .
    what i do is a cross between a solargraph, as newt-on-swings mentions ... and a lumen print
    you just need a box camera, or you can even use your 35mm camera ( but the image will be as big as a 35mm negaitve )

    you take a some photo paper and put it in your camera ( this can be done in daylight, it doesn't really matter )
    then, you leave your camera bulb or time &c ... it takes between 45mins and a few days .. and all depends ...

    when you remove the paper, there is an image on it ...
    it will be there for a little while, but slowly it will disappear ( even in darkness ) - the paper turns grey, and the image just vanishes ...
    impossible to fix in a conventional way( if you try, the paper will turn as white as it was in the box.) i've been making cameras
    to do this sort of thing for a little over a year some small ( 2x3 ) some large ( 11x14+ ) i have one i am finishing today ( or tomrrow ) for someone
    who ordered one from me ...

    i mentioned lumen prints ... you can also do something sort of like that, but without plant/biological matter you are contact printing.
    you take you "negative" ( maybe a piece of acetate with a drawing on it, maybe a large format negative, maybe keys an change ( photogram )
    and you put them on a regular piece of photo paper, and leave it out in the sun ... you will get an image ( positive image if you used a negative )
    from whatever was blocking the sunlight ... and again, it will disappear eventually ...

    if you are interested i can make a camera for you ... glass lens and all !


    have fun !
    john

  5. #5

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    Thank you for all the great tips.

    The fade to black sounds good but it seems completely sold out.I will experiment with the solargraph but it is not very usefull to me when it disappears in the dark.

    To be more precise, my plan it to add the envelop with light sensitive image with a publication. So people who buy the book (the edition will be 70) can choose themselffs if they want to see the image, but by seeing it they will destroy it, or not see it and keep it intact.

  6. #6
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Maybe unfixed albumen print could be a solution too.

  7. #7

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    Sounds worth trying out, is this kind of paper still being sold somewhere or should I make it myself?

  8. #8
    Athiril's Avatar
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    Yes I was going to suggest an unfixed print, though I do not know how fast it will fade. You will want to put it in a black envelope though, so it doesn't fade (go dark) before opened.

    The other idea is to make some kind of peel apart thing like a polaroid that reveals the image when you peel it apart, but exposes it to the chemistry that will destroy it.

    (such as an unfixed print being exposed to a developer (turns black) or a bleach possibly (turns white)).

  9. #9
    Lars Jansen's Avatar
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    Hi sema,

    This sounds like a great idea to add to your book. One thing I'm thinking about is that as a buyer/owner of your book I think I would like to have the ability to enjoy that image a tad longer. Maybe have the opportunity to see the image fade over the course of a day or evening, or maybe have the opportunity to revisit the image in it's faded state over the course of a week or so, enjoying it for say 15 minutes and then putting it back in the envelope.
    This way people would have more opportunity to enjoy the process, and an accidental opening of the envelope does not immediately destroy the image.

    Anyway, just my thoughts. As I said, a great idea none the less.

    Lars

  10. #10

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    I did do some test with normal (plastic coded) and bariet papers, it takes approx 15 minutes to slowly change color (a light shade of purple/grey) Now two days after the the pics turned a darker purple but the image is still there, I figur it ll take a week to dissapear completely.
    Will this process be faster with albumen paper?

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