Where the sun always shines

“Where the sun always shines” is a series of photographs about a dream. It’s about that moment we have all had when we realise that we have been dreaming about being on holiday in the sun.

If you ever dreamed of blue skies, white fluffy clouds, or the feeling of waves lapping on your feet, then you know what I mean? Or had an overwhelming desire to get away from it all? If so, then you too are on the same wavelength. Perhaps you have longed to feel sand between your toes, escape the boss, your work colleagues and simply escape?

These images are not about a place. It’s about the feeling, the vision, or the emotions that we feel at the time of booking a holiday.

I printed this series of images using the historical “Cyanotype” process (invented in 1842) in order to reduce the literal interpretation, and to visually represent a dream.

Each image is handmade, and perhaps this parallels our desire toescape technology and the pressures of modern life?

Sun stuff

Image 1 of 19

Sun stuff

Making “Where the sun always shines”…

It has taken 10 months to print 26 unique images. For each successful print, there are almost five failures.

When I set out on this journey, I had expected it to take 6-12 weeks to print the “Where the sun always shines” series. So where did the time go?

I had decided that I wanted to make prints on A2 paper. While my preference is to work using film cameras, the equipment required to make negatives this size are huge. Travelling with them would be impossible. So, I made digitally printed negatives from both scans of film or from digital camera images.

Each print has been double coated. Firstly with a starch solution, and then when dry, the paper is coated a second time with light sensitive chemicals. It is then left to dry in a dark environment.

One of the most challenging step in any “Alternative printing” process is to create a tone curve that maps a modern digital curve onto the chemical behaviour of the chemistry and paper. It took six weeks of experimentation to create a look and feel that supported the “Where the sun always shines” project.

Each print took about 30 minutes to make. The negative is placed onto the hand coated paper and sandwiched under glass. Exposure varies day by day and lasts for 10-20 minutes. Cloudy days are useless, and useful UV light could only be found in the courtyard where my artist studio was between 9am and 2pm.

The exposure of the print is controlled by the darkness of the negative. Even today, I find that the only real way of determining if I have got it right is by trying it out!

Was it worth it? I think so. In making “Where the sun always shines” I have created a unique series of images that fulfil the artistic vision that I started with. Art has always been part conceptual, and partly a technical subject. In understanding the technical aspects of this technique, I have undoubtedly made my life easier for the next project.