Cyanotypes are a fun and easy introduction to what are now called alternative photographic processes. The word “cyanotype” comes from the beautiful blue (cyan) color of the finished prints. If you’ve ever created a sunprint, you’ve already made a basic cyanotype. This workshop will let you take control of the process by learning to coat your own material instead of using commercial pre-coated paper.
Cyanotypes are one of the oldest photographic processes and are part of the family of processes that include tintypes, platinum, palladium and wetplate collodion. They are really the original processes, before the modern invention of roll film. The cyanotype process has remained virtually unchanged since its invention by John Herschel in 1842. Herschel also introduced the word photography to the public as well as popularizing the terms positive, negative and snapshot.
In this hands-on workshop you will explore the ins-and-outs of the cyanotype process. The prints are made using paper or other materials (such as fabric) that have been treated with a solution of iron compounds and are exposed using UV light. You’ll learn how to mix the emulsions and coat the paper by hand. The day will end with a final critique of your prints and you will walk away with at least 3 archival cyanotype prints. For many people, working this way connects them to photography in a way that digital often can’t. This is a physical process where you create unique works of art by hand.