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Nightfall' is a series of photograms made on large sheets of resin coated silver gelatine paper in the Amsterdam forest in the autumn of 2021. A registration of falling leaves and branches from dusk until dawn on light-sensitive photographic paper using the available ambient light at that moment.


Under various species of beech, oak, maple, and willow, we made photograms on large sheets of photographic paper at night. A photogram is a print of an object placed directly on light-sensitive material in the dark and then exposed to light, a form of photography without a camera. 

In this case, we did not lay anything on the paper in a dark room, but in the dark of night, the trees in the Amsterdam Forest let the wind drop their leaves and branches on the light sensitive paper. Only a glimpse of evening twilight and dawn and the moon standing over the forest all night provided enough exposure needed to make its contours visible.


Resin coated silver gelatine paper is paper with a layer of gelatine contains silver halide crystals ( silver bromide) coated with a protective polyethylene coating, making it very strong and water resistant. It was developed and widely used in the photographic industry from the 1970’s and still has applications in fine art photographic printing today because of it’s archival quality.

The flexibility and strength of the paper makes it ideal for laying it on the ground in the woods on a stormy autumn evening, resistant to the falling branches, gusts of wind and rain.


Nightfall refers to searching in the dark, intuition, doing something with conviction but not quite knowing why , but also to the night that turns out not to be so dark in the Amsterdamse Bos, the encounter with the full moon, the edge of the city asleep and the strange. 

A forester came up to us to ask what we were up to, our way of walking, we kept looking up to find the right trees, raised questions in his mind and the large rolls of photo paper under our arms and wrapped in black plastic looked a bit unusual for an evening walk in the woods. 


Capturing a moment, in concert with the trees and their surroundings, the right place and time and the occasional low-flying plane, just taking off or just descending, casting just a veil of extra light to 'etch' into the photographic paper the contours of that which the trees had given us. 

Early in the morning we rolled up the sodden sheets, some leaves stuck to them, even acorns and beechnuts had settled firmly into their second life, we took them to the darkroom to fix forever the traces we had captured during the night.

© arja hop / peter svenson 2013
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