5+1: Chiara Dondi Teaches us the Forgotten Art of Hand-Tinted Photography


Many of you may have wondered how some images from your fellow Lomographers compose and create their distinctive photographs. In the spirit of learning and growing in 2021, this series features the experimental essence of Lomography through short yet succinct visual guides and samples, 5+1: a photo for the very process or project, and 5 extra photos showing the results from their work.

Let us introduce you to the talented Chiara Dondi and her tips on how to hand-tint black and white photographs.

My relationship with painting began many years ago when I was still a child. I would say that painting came first into my life compared to photography, an art I discovered during my university years. My process stems from the desire to combine these two arts, trying to obtain works suspended in time and as connected as possible to my imagination.

Another fundamental characteristic is analogue B&W photography, more precisely the use of 120mm film with its wonderful square format. The starting point of my process is black and white photographs that I always enrich with the colors I prefer, regardless of a purple meadow or a green sky!


Below the materials I normally use:
- printed photographs
- water-based paints (so you can mix them and lighten the intensity)
- brushes with soft bristles (to avoid "scratching" the print)
- blotting paper
- water and a small plate for mixing the colors

The Process

1. Take a photo and print it out. The choice of paper is crucial and must be chosen according to the result you want to achieve. With very absorbent paper the time needed to apply the color is very fast and makes the paper delicate because it becomes very wet. I get on well with papers that are not very absorbent and which give me the possibility of spreading the color over several layers.
2. Start painting the photo with pure colors or mix them together to get different shades. You can add water to the colour for a lighter effect.
3. Dry the photo often with blotting paper to prevent the paper from becoming fragile.
4. Unleash your imagination and use as many colors as you like. It's definitely amazing to see old pictures in different ways!

Hand-Colored Results

I have always been hypnotised by the almost time-suspended, esoteric settings and hypnotic characters. With time, I realized that this was the goal I wanted to set myself, so painting on photography was the obvious choice for me. Coupling it with the black and white of film, with its depth, allowed me to give my photographs a sort of ambiguity: it is never totally clear whether you are looking at a photograph or a painting.

Read here an interview we did previously to Chiara Dondi, visit her website and Instagram profile to see all her works.

written by melissaperitore on 2021-04-17 #culture #people

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