Photograms are made by placing an object in contact with a photosensitive surface in the dark, and exposing them to light. Where the object blocks the light, either partially or fully, its shadow is recorded on the paper.

The term ‘photogram’ seems to have appeared around 1925. The photogram artist is not able to predict the results in the viewfinder of a camera, and often works in the dark. The final image is only apparent after physical and chemical manipulation or development.

This method creates artistic shapes on the photo paper. The method can also be used to make acetate prints combined with objects to give further context to photographs where needed; simply to create an acetate print, print an inverted digital photograph onto acetate paper then use this sheet like a giant negative. Place the acetate sheet and objects onto the photo paper then expose and develop the paper as normal.

This method offers a bit more flexibility than normal analogue photography as this method can combine both 3d and 2d objects to for unique prints. Layering can also be used in this process, which will offer interesting and usual shapes and textures.

Examples of Photograms


This photogram shows how different objects can be used to create an abstract and unique piece of art. You can combine different textures and layers to create different photographs. For this photogram I was looking at different shapes and curves of both natural and man made items. The solid black background makes the whites and greys of the different objects stand out making a bold and vivid image.


For this photogram I decided to experiment and used my hair to create this very abstract photogram. The natural lines and curves of my hair contrast to the harsh black background, making the image very striking. With this photogram I wanted to demonstrate the wide range of different items that can be used to create interesting and unique photograms.


This photogram demonstrate the use of acetate to create this image, however without the objects as I wanted to test the use of acetates to for prints. I got my digital photograph printed onto the acetate and then used it like a giant negative to expose my photo paper. Overall I think this outcome has worked well as the photograph is clear with good detail and contrast, it looks like any normal analogue photograph.

To create an acetate print ready for exposure you need to take a digital file, invert it and then print onto acetate.

I really love this process as you get to see the whole image in full and no detail is lost, unlike in other processes such as Cyanotypes.


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