Cyanotypes

During my Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, I produced a series of Cyanotype prints.

The cyanotype process was invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel and is one of the historically oldest photographic techniques.  A solution of Potassium ferricyanide and Ferric ammonium citrate (green) are mixed with water separately and then blended together in equal parts.  Next (and this is the trickier part), the solution is painted onto paper or fabric to form an even coating.  Objects or negatives are placed on the material and the cyanotype is printed using UV light, such as the sun.  I worked using daylight and  herein lies the next tricky bit.  Each print will be different depending on the amount and intensity of the sunlight during the exposure time and the exposure time will vary according to the quality of light so it is an affair of trial and error.

The early cyanotype prints were of seaweed and most usual subject are leaves.  I wanted to experiment a little with the process by combining natural objects with man made items and by including other media on the paper before printing.  I was pleased with my results but was not sure how to present them.

A few months ago I came across a Victorian photograph album in a charity shop.  It was badly worn and some of the inside pages were torn but I felt it had a certain charm.  On further consideration, I decided it would work very well with my cyanotypes – the old technique sat well with the old album and the strong blues contrasted with the faded pages.

I also added a few of the papers which I embossed using lino and a printing press.

Do let me know what you think:

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