Recently I read an article in DIY Magazine, published by Better Homes and Gardens, about a way to do something interesting with digital black and white photos. The idea was to take your photo, then get one of those larger-sized paint chips at the store, the kind with gradations of color and about 5″ wide. Then, cut the paint chip to 4″ x 6″, put it into your laser printer, and print your photo. The examples looked intriguing to me.
I wouldn’t have gone any further with it, but we happened to go to the paint store a few days later and so I grabbed a few paint chips. Not even colors I really liked, just picked a few at random. I came home, selected some black and white digital photos from the days when I belonged to our local camera club. I could have converted some color ones to black and white but I wasn’t thinking much about any particular result I wanted – I was just curious.
The only flaw in the process was that I only have an inkjet printer. I was sure there was some reason the article specified laser – but – I decided to try it anyway. So I fed my cut-to-size paint chips into the printer and pushed the button. Out came some interesting results, I thought.
The reason the laser printer is needed is so that the ink will adhere properly to the backgrounds. With the inkjet, the prints will never be stable as a finger can smear the ink, and water will wash the image right off. But – let the prints dry for a few hours and they can be scanned, I discovered. So, I did that, and I liked the results, whether printed on glossy photo paper or on plain cardstock.
The ink reacts unpredictably with the varying colors of the paint chip – some interesting effects occur. You’d need to experiment to see how things turn out. It’s hard to tell from the original photos what you’ll get until you actually print.
I’m not going to clear the paint store of its sample colors right now and try this will all my photos. But I was struck by the mysterious nature the process imparted to some pretty straightforward images. I printed out a couple of my scans and they became mail art. I wonder what the recipients will think of them.