Bernd Hutschenreuther, born in East Germany have been using pinhole cameras, cyanotypes, developing with caffenol and most recently lumen prints.
From: Saxony, Dresden, Germany.
Shows: Lumen prints.
I was born in 1954 in Steinach, Thuringian Forest, East Germany. I took my first photos in 1960 with a Pouva Start camera. Photography has always fascinated me, although I also made more amateur films for a while.
In school, I joined a photography club and learned how to develop film. I never lost sight of it, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I began to pick up my camera more often and became a photography enthusiast. My psychologist recommended it to me, as I was suffering from a mild depression after losing my job as a technical writer.
Gradually, I found my way back to photography. I started with the modern Pentax K30, then brought out my old Praktica camera. I used pinhole lenses and eventually built pinhole cameras, first out of matchboxes, then out of film canisters, and later out of nutshells. In a DSLR photography forum, I saw cyanotypes. Some people complained about them, but I asked what they were. Then I started experimenting with cyanotypes. Last year, I had an exhibition with cyanotypes in our garden club.
I discovered Caffenol, which I initially thought was an April Fools’ joke, but it wasn’t. Then I got paper and chemicals. I found that tannin-rich plant leaves or fruits were used to develop photographs, while salt water was used to fix them. Caffenol, Teanol, Cenol, and many other developers can be made from everyday household ingredients, including instant coffee, tea, vitamin C, and washing soda. All of these can be used as alternatives to commercial developers.
If you expose the paper for a long time and keep the photos in the dark, you don’t need any of these developers. You can make lumen prints, which are photographic prints made without a camera by placing objects on light-sensitive paper and exposing them to the sun or other light sources. With pinhole cameras, I made long exposures, solarographs of the sun. It can be even simpler: you can do away with photographic paper altogether. I learned about anthotypes, which are made by using plant juice as a light-sensitive emulsion. By painting the plant juice onto paper, you can create beautiful, colorful images.
“Photography was not invented by humans, but by nature. The canopy of trees creates pinhole cameras. Fallen leaves create images of each other in the light. Chlorophyll prints. I had seen them as a child. Today, I make them myself.”
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