“For me the printing process is part of the magic of photography. It’s that magic that can be exciting, disappointing, rewarding and frustrating all in the same few moments in the darkroom.”

– John Sexton

I’ll be honest, I don’t typically print my work. When I do, most times, it’s specifically for a show or sale. That said, it’s something I aim to do more, at least to keep images in a solid portfolio. Photos seem much more real when physically in your hand.

That said, sometimes the printing process can be a part of the art making itself.

The Concept

Awhile back I took portraits of 2 cm tall worry dolls with my iphone. I was in awe of how expressive these tiny dolls, meant to carry our worries for us, were and I wanted to make them larger to expose their odd body movements.


The Process

After taking the photos, I made them into digital negatives and printed them on transparency film. I then roughly painted Lumi Inkodye (a paint on, light sensitive dye for fabric) on the paper, placed the negative over top and then directly exposed the paper to a halogen work light for 35 minutes. I washed the print as Lumi Inkodye instructs, and set them out to dry.

Once dry, I used pastel pencils to color the prints. I kept the images to 2-4 colors each, to keep the color schemes simple and less distracting. These dolls are filled with worry, so the schemes are mostly cooler colors, nothing too warm and inviting, and the background lines close in around each doll, symbolizing their burdens and pressures.

Looking Forward

It was an at times frustrating, yet overall rewarding process and something I hope to work with again in the future if I find the right images for it.

Do you ever print your work? Are there any alternative forms of printing or working with photos that you have experimented with?

Jennifer Nichole Wells