Starting with Rachel Manns’s photographs, I spend hours on my computer, working on the image in photoshop changing background detail,altering the tones and contrast, and cropping the image to create a new composition. Once I’m happy with the result I have my new file printed onto a transparency which I then take to the workshop to spend a day or two transferring the image onto copper. The photo etching process involves a light sensitive medium which is rolled onto the plate, hardened by heat, cooled, exposed to UV light (with the transparency in place), developed in sodium carbonate solution, etched in ferric chloride, aquatinted, and etched again. Then the printing begins – first experimenting with various inks, papers and wiping techniques to produce the desired result. I do the printing at my own studio in N4, listening to radio 4. Here are two of my prints at the proofing stage, with the original photographs for comparison.
Margaret has been commissioned by the Arts Council to make a series of self portrait photo etchings, as part of a wider project, Shifting Subjects, led by Linda Ingham of the Abbey Walk Gallery. The photo etchings, based on photographs taken by Rachel Manns and the film made in collaboration with Chisato Minamimura and Emil Kunda will be shown in an exhibition at the Abbey Walk Gallery in autumn 2015. The exhibition will include self portraits by Wenda Elia and Linda Ingham.