Cyanotype photography refers to the process of printing a picture by using sunlight and a series of chemicals. The chemicals involved in cyanotype photography include Prussian blue, aqueous potassium ferricyanide and aqueous ferric ammonium citrate. When producing a cyanotype picture, the paper (or other printing medium) is treated with each of the chemicals.
The image is then placed upon treated paper, weighed down with glass and taken out into the sun. The combination of sunlight and chemicals will then imprint the image onto the paper in a dark blue or gray color. Keep the paper in the sun for five to fifteen minutes, or until the paper is visible bluish-grey.
When the paper has turned, remove the glass and rinse the chemicals off the paper. After the paper is dry, the print is complete.
Objects used in cyanotype photography should be flat and opaque. When using the cyanotype method, remember that the prints turn out best with greater contrast. Also, wear gloves, as the chemicals stain.
Cyanotype is not only cost effective, but it also serves as an effective alternative to a darkroom. In fact, the most expensive aspect of this method is the cost of paper. Those beginning to dabble in photography should begin experimenting with cyanotype to learn the mechanics of printing photographs.
I LOVE cyanotypes! Of course it probably has something to do with the fact that they are blue…but still, I LOVE THEM. I always have.
I’ve dabbled in the cyanotype process some and really enjoy it. Its just sometimes difficult to do when the outdoor lighting conditions (sunlight) aren’t just right. Its one of those things you need to set a specific time for and I tend to be of the more spontaneous nature (I never seem to get the timing right), i.e. I miss out on making cyanotypes a lot! :(
BUT, I have this great book I love to flip through occasionally (to get my fix) and one day I was looking at it and decided to photograph some of the photographs using my infrared camera.
I love how they turned out…
Hope you do as well!