These days many avid photographers don’t really think about printing their work, content to let it live on their phones, external hard drives, and social networks. But a new textile printing method that lets photographers, designers, and craftspeople print directly onto any natural fiber could change that mindset.

The Lumi Process is the creation of Los Angeles dye manufacturer Lumi. Their chief product is a water-based, environmentally friendly dye called Inkodye, that develops photographic images directly on fabric with sunlight. “We’re working to bring photography out of the dark room and into the sun,” says founder Jesse Genet, who’s been at work researching and building a company around the dye for the past eight years.

A short video on Lumi’s site explains how the process works. First, take a photo and print out a negative on transparent film. (Lumi’s new app Lumityper lets iPhone users quickly turn their phone images into black and white negatives.) Then, apply a layer of Inkodye across a natural fabric of your choice, pin the negative to the fabric above the dye, and leave it out in the sun, where the print develops. Finally, wash the print with Lumi’s textile detergent to make sure the image stops developing. The result is a high quality photographic image permanently affixed to a cotton t-shirt or leather bag, without the hassle of screens or expensive equipment.

Written by Zak Stone

Taken from The Daily Good 14/08/2012

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