This project is an exploration of depth perception. Originating from the dakroom printing technique of enlarger printing I wanted to see how I might boil the process down to its essence. By removing the recognisable subjects from the imagery and allowing the light to find its own path I could study the light in relation to depth perception.


Central Questions

What is depth perception?
In experimenting with this laser light refraction you become very familiar with this illusion of depth on a totally flat surface. Although you know this is an illusion it’s near-impossible to unsee it. 

How can I frame this project in a way that makes people think?
Considering the conceptual nature of the project I find it very important that there coherency in communicating the idea. Maybe more so than the results themselves. In this way the project leans more towards becoming a conversation piece.

What can / have I find / found in my work?
As the basis is somewhat abstract it is important to take real lessons from it. I have discovered a new technique for developing interesting visuals and I found a new interest in light behaviour and depth perception. 


Understanding the fact that usually darkroom practices in analogue development and printing is based on what we perceive as a “perfect result” or a “perfect print” I wanted to use “imperfections” as a starting point. Having always had a fascination in “happy accident” photography, double exposure and the like, I was looking towards the imperfections for inspiration.



  • I feel I have truly explored and exhausted the possibilities
  • The work sparks wonder in the viewer
  • There is still an apparent connection with the original production technique
  • My interventions in the original production technique have lead me somewhere new



The first stage(s) was still traditional darkroom practice. The biggest first intervention, as shown in examples, was removing the negative from the equation. It was here that I started to become interested in the lights behaviour. Specially the behaviour of light around the object(s) like in the whiskey tumbler print. It isn’t the recognisable shape of the glass – it’s the refractions that fall outside of it, that sparked my interest.

Key Experiments :

Removing the negative and experimenting with transparent objects.


At this stage I had been doing a bit of research into various artists surrounding experimental darkroom practices. Using a laserpointer I searched out the sweet spots of light refraction. Discovering at this stage that, for me, crystal glassware (heavy lead percentage) produces the more aesthetically pleasing results. Sticking photosensitive paper in the area of the projection I would expose the photo paper to the free-hand laser light refraction for 20 seconds and then reenter the usual process of developer, stop and fix.

Key Experiments :

Introducing laser light. As a controlled light source it gave me one constant in my experiments. 


Wanting to gain more of an understanding for the projections I started to experiment with different glass vessels. Using a clamp I set up a very make-shift rig allowing me to study singular projections more closely and photograph them. It was in photographing these images that I started to realise the illusion of depth. Despite knowing it’s on a flat surface you can’t stop your brain from seeing it as a 3D object.

Key Experiments :

Clamping the laser light. More precise, more efficient and therefore sped up my exploration.

Hover on image for greyscale.

Various tested vessels – mainly cystal


Until now the photography was done on an iPhone. I got the sense that the naked eye was not picking up on everything. The closer you look the less able you are to focus on anything – you start to realise you are just looking at a bunch of assembled photons that give you the sense of depth perception. I wondered if introducing higher quality photography might be a means to magnify some of the details. 

Key Experiments :

Building the rig. Allowed for control and methodical research and taught me a lot about the equipment I was working with. Namely the quality of the laser. 

DSLR photography – high quality photo’s of the projections gave me access to another level of detail that was otherwise nearly impossible to see.

In an effort to further my methodical approach I built a rig, for reproducibility, and started using a professional camera studio for optimum results. The clamp worked fine but the rig gave me a new level of control in studying the behaviour of the light. Furthermore it would take ages to find the same projection back again. The DSLR photography did indeed make a huge difference and opened up possibilities for post-production techniques.


I knew by now what it was in the projections and photography that sparked my interest. I was becoming fascinated by the perception of depth and it’s fragility. The experimentation with colour added another layer to the depth perception. It had the ability to turn foreground into background, shift focus and create new planes of perspective.

Key Experiments :

Post production – moving away from the laser green and introducing colour.