Wednesday, March 9, 2011

cyanotypes

The cyanotype process was first introduced by the English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel in the year 1842, and has remained virtually unchanged to this day.

The process, how I have come to know it, involves mixing equal parts of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. This mixture becomes mildly light sensitive and can be applied to most surfaces using a brush or another kind of applicator. The surface then is exposed with a negative of equivalent size to the surface of the chosen medium, using a UV light source for exposure. After exposure the image is simply developed in water. The result - a high contrast exquisitely brilliant blue toned positive.

Admittedly, before these recent experimentations, I knew very - very, little about the cyanotype process or any other historical printing process for that matter.  Pleasantly though, I have found the cyanotype process extremely rewarding, educational and humbling. I plan on continuing my creative process through the photographic experimentation of creating cyanotypes. The beautiful tonalities and subtle detail is intriguing to me as a photographer and I feel the result plays an important roll in helping to create a supportive narrative for my imagery. In addition, the simplicity of the painterly process is a wonderful addition to my naturally fast-paced working style.

Here are a few of my first cyanotypes. 


 

A few examples of different toning options to create colors variant from the classic cyan.


Toning tests: all from one image


...and a finished print, toned in Tanic Acid & Sodium Carbinate, then finished in peroxide for that greenish yellow hue.



....and many more to come.




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