These photograms are counterfeit.

Real photograms are created through a simple photographic process in which solid or translucent objects are placed over light sensitive paper. The paper is then exposed and processed, resulting in images, which look like negative silhouettes and shadows. In making these counterfeit photograms I have devised an integration of this early experimental photographic process and computer graphics. My intent is to produce a plausible reality through artificial means. In a 3D modeling computer program I construct a digital or virtual model that – if existed – could produce a real photogram. I create 3D objects, assign properties to these objects (e.g. Transparency, reflectivity, etc.), arrange these objects over a surface, and cast lights over the whole arrangement. I then isolate the objects’ shadows, which fall on the surface and invert the image into a negative image using a photography software program. The final image is inkjet printed with Lysonic permanent inks on fine art rag paper with the look of an aquatint.

This work synthesizes aspects of a particularly complex and politically charged dynamic between society and technology: How technology is used by terrorists and how electronic surveillance technology is used to counter terrorism. I researched the subject by reading counter-terrorism manuals and catalogs of espionage and terrorism equipment and found that many of the items one would find in a terrorist’s luggage are dynamic forms in themselves. And, while I have always found the images in airport X-ray security monitors compelling, they grew in significance as I developed the strategies for producing the counterfeit photograms described above. The X-ray process and the photogram process share some interesting similarities.

Kimberly Burleigh received her MFA in Printmaking in 1980 from Indiana University. She has had a number of solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group exhibitions internationally. She has been the recipient of several honors and awards and was selected as the single artist for the 1999 Ohio Arts Council Artist in Residence at Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Burleigh is and Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati.