Today I’ve learned: Cyanotype

Today I attended an exhibition where you could learn Cyanotype – a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.

The event/exhibition was held by Emma Gunnarsson and Britta K. Bergersen. In the same gallery, there was an exhibition of a few ball-jointed dolls (kuleleddsdukker) made by Therese Olsen and photographed by Britta. I liked the pop-surrealistic style of the puppets and Britta’s photos and presentation of the puppets were smashing: as you can see from the photos, Britta tastefully presented one of them as a Madonna.

Here’s some info on cyanotype from Wikipedia:

The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered the procedure in 1842. Though the process was developed by Herschel, he considered it as mainly a means of reproducing notes and diagrams, as in blueprints. It was Anna Atkins who brought this to photography. She created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection. Atkins placed specimens directly onto coated paper, allowing the action of light to create a silhouette effect. By using this photogram process, Anna Atkins is regarded as the first female photographer.

My photos don’t do the dolls, nor the photos of the dolls justice – I was on my bike and had only brought my small pocket camera:

Emma taught me the basic principles behind the process and Britta gave me plenty of valuable, artistic inspiration: we obviously talked about cyanotype, plus our different art projects, pinhole photography and art in general. On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d rate this exhibition as highly creatively inspiring and well worth a visit!

Here it is, my first cyanotype:

My first cyanotype - produced from an old glass negative by an unknown photographer.

My first cyanotype – produced from an old glass negative by an unknown photographer.

Links to the artists and source:

Thanks for this great experience Britta & Emma!

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18 thoughts on “Today I’ve learned: Cyanotype

  1. Very nice! Also if you haven’t yet and you have a chance, try the other alternative processes like van dyke brown, and palladium. There’s a few others I want to try like kallitype and ziatype.
    I’d love to read about your pinhole photo experience too. My husband has an old pinhole camera he made long time ago, I need to figure out how to use it…one of these days.

    • Thanks a lot Paola. My plan is to turn one of my old cameras into a digital pinhole camera. While I’m at it, I’ll make sure to document the process and create a tutorial.

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