Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cyanotype Updates

First off, a plug for The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes which is way more interesting than the title might indicate. It's very funny, puts all these processes in a historical context, has lots of practical details, is very inspiring, and has wonderful pictures that really show off the different techniques. It was very useful both in improving my technique and also giving me a roadmap for where I want to go with this.

Secondly, the cyanotype count is at 30. As you can see from the Cyanotype Experiment Gallery there's been a massive improvement in the bluest blue (it doesn't totally come across, but you get the idea. The dark areas are a lovely deep Prussian Blue.) The change in color is partially due to putting more fluid on the paper but mostly due to adding a development step - a quick soak in 0.1M HCl. As expected this whole process has been like unpeeling an onion - you pull off one problem layer to reveal the next. As an example, it's not until you've solved your sharpness problem that you realize that your glass needs to be really clean or the dust specs come through nicely. And that HCl soak, if you're sloppy and leave it too long and then admire it before putting it in the water bath... you're going to get some staining. Whoops.

I am hoping that with one or two more print days (I really can't do anything else when I print these, it's very time consuming) I'll get to where I can feel like I can stop labeling these "experiments". I've decided I'm just going to list them on eBay initially just because I'm going to have to write up lots stuff like a "What's a Cyanotype?" page and it will be easier to do that in an abbreviated format there before really setting up something here. I also need to spend a little more time photographing these things - the pictures I have so far don't do the originals justice. Both the maximum blue and the smoothness of the tones are much better in the original.

In the meantime the ones in the Cyanotype Experiment Gallery are for sale unless marked "SOLD" (If two people order one before I can fix it I'll refund the second person's money or make them another copy at that price). They all have flaws, but they're half the price I'll list the initial batch for on eBay and as a collector myself I always love stuff like this so maybe other people do too. I'm only linking to that page from the blog so that people know what they're getting, so consider it a little reward for putting up with this stuff. :-)


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