Jon Lybrook

From Darkroom to Lightboxes
- by Jon Lybrook

I started experimenting with painting on film with photochemicals after college. Having a technical knowledge of photography, but without access to the film equipment to shoot even cell animation, I began to work with raw 16mm film stock by dripping and drizzling standard film developer, fixer and bleach on it. I'd stretch out the film along the porch railing about 10 feet at a time, tape it down, and move quickly to lay down some patterns with the chemicals using brushes and spray bottles, let it sit for a while, then wash it off with a hose.

The smeared imagery on the tiny pieces of film had a rich lushness to them, but when projected at 24 frames per second, the look I fell in love with was completely lost. It squiggled by so quickly on the projection screen that it actually made me a little seasick.

Later I begin working on larger, individual pieces of film which gave more of a field to create broader compositions rather than simple gestures, and thus began my work with luminograms. I didn't know what to call them at the time and had no knowledge of photographers working in this medium in the past, so I dubbed them Lytescapes. It was a not-so-clever play on my last name, Lybrook, and the term lightscapes. This was around 1996 and the web was starting to become more accessible to the public at large. I knew I wanted to put these images on the web, but the domain was already taken.

Since that time I've produced hundreds of luminograms on film and have presented them in both tiny lightboxes and large, wall-sized triptychs. In recent years I've started to incorporate some of my photography in with the abstract scenery of the native luminograms. What the future holds has yet to be seen.

- Jon Lybrook
Erie, Colorado
April, 2013

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