Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alternative Processes - Cyanotype

I'm pretty much a straightforward photographer. I have dabbled in cyanotypes, large format, pinhole, print toning, and so forth.  I remain a 35mm and medium format shooter, and use films and lenses that give me the "look" that I am searching for.  I greatly respect those that decide to use alternative processes such as wet-plate, platinum/palladium, bromoil, van dyke, photogravure, and cyanotype to become their medium.  I can't tell you much about the other processes from personal experience except cyanotype, which I have played with a bit.  Cyanotype is actually the simplest "Alt process" it uses iron ions and not silver to produce the image.  It's also a very old process, invented by the English astronomer John Herschel in 1846.   Blueprint paper is a form of cyanotype, and it is very easy to use -- and sold as the "Sunprint" kits in museums and art stores.   Today, one can make digital negatives and use them to produce stunning cyanotype compositions.  

 I start with this as a background to the exhibit that ends this weekend at the Argus Museum in Ann Arbor.  A show by photographers from Wayne State University titled A Matter of Light and Memory features many cyanotypes and toned cyanotypes.  I especially liked the varied presentation of the cyanotypes on cloth.  The cyanotype process allows one to get creative with the substrate, the presentation, and the implementation of the process.  Cyanotypes are a great medium to use where traditional darkrooms no longer exist, as the set-up is pretty easy.  The chemicals are also relatively inexpensive and easy to work with.

Here are a few views of the exhibit, taken with my cellphone, and not a real camera...

You can learn more about cyanotypes here:

The Argus Museum is located at 525 West William Street, Ann Arbor.  The show ends 09/26/2014!
I wish I had remembered to put this up earlier.

No comments: