Selected Lumen Photographs

My mother was looking through a drawer filled with old photos and mementos when she discovered a herbarium that had belonged to my great-grandfather's sister. She had completed this herbarium as a school project in 1895, at the age of 15. My mother gave me this folio.  Not only was I taken with the fact that I was looking at plants that had been pressed 114 years ago, but I was also taken with the beautiful effect created by the ghostly reverse photographic images that the plants had left imprinted on the opposing pages.

Before viewing this herbarium, I had already considered creating ghostly images of plants that are native to my yard.  These would be woodland plants of the Carolinian Forest. Inspired by what I saw in my great-great aunt's book, I contacted a photographer friend of mine who suggested that I use a Lumen printing process in which the light of the sun exposed photographic images of plants laid out on photo-sensitive paper.  The results are stunning.  I want to state here that I have not been poaching protected wild areas for the plants I use in this series.  They have all come from private properties with their owners’ blessings.

Aquilegius canadensis, 2011 16 X 20" | Mary Abma

Erythronium americanum, 2011 16 X 20" | Mary Abma

Hellenium autumnale, 2010 16 X 20" | Mary Abma

Monarda fistulosa, 2010 16 X 20" | Mary Abma

Oenthera biennis I, 2010 16 X 20" | Mary Abma

Podophyllum peltatum, 2011 16 X 20" | Mary Abma

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple), 2010 11 X 14" | Mary Abma

Polygonatum biflorum, 2010 11 X 14" | Mary Abma

Polygonatum pubescens, 2011 11 X 14" | Mary Abma

Tilia americana and Erigeron philidelphicus, 2010 16 X 20 | Mary Abma

Vitis riparia, 2010 11 X 14" | Mary Abma