what is a shadowgraph

Almost everybody gets in touch with a shadowgraph for the first time during a check-up with his doctor, since an x-ray is essentially a shadow picture. It is a fixed shadow of a three-dimensional object on a light-sensitive material.

Conceptually there is a controversy as to whether shadographs are merely an experimental camera-less branch of photography, or if it constitutes its own medium. The front lines in this debate became obvious at a symposium at the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, which for the first time was devoted explicitly to the photogram (read more). Part of the scope of www.shadowgraph.org is to strengthen the medial independency of shadowgraphs, as they differ greatly from a photographic image made with a camera. Everybody knows the strange feeling watching for the first time his own body as photogram on an x-ray. The shadowgraph technique is at least as old as the existence of photosensitive surfaces. The real breakthrough for the photogram constitutes the discovery of x-rays by Conrad Röntgen. In the arts, the shadowpgraph was explored rather late, after the first World War.
In 1925 László Moholy-Nagy tried to establish the notion "photogram" for cameraless processes. With respect to Christian Schad and Man Ray who used the technique before Moholy-Nagy, sometimes the technique is also called "Schadograph" or "Rayograph".
Making shadowgraphs at home is extremely simple. One can easily create his own shadowgraphs by placing an object on a photo-sensitive surface (like photo paper) inside a dark room. The paper is then briefly exposed to light and later developed.

More: Read a scientific definition or listen to personal statements of artists and curators.