Experimentation: Cyanotype Printing Workshop

Cyanotype me and geode_600px

Yesterday, I attended a one day workshop on cyanotype printing.  This is a technique that I’ve seen several times recently (in exhibitions and magazines) and I was really eager to give it a try.

The workshop taught us how to mix the chemicals, apply them to paper, and then to arrange, expose and fix our images.  This is the first time that I have ever worked with photographic chemicals and I really enjoyed the process.

We started with simple photograms, arranging flat objects on to coated watercolour paper and then exposing them to sunlight.  We then progressed to more complex images, made using high contrast negative images printed onto acetates.  These images were exposed in the darkroom on a UV light box.

I decided to use this course as a chance to experiment with some images for assignment four.  Consequently, I printed out, and took along, my own acetates.  The digital negatives that I took along fell broadly into two categories: unrecognisable photographs of me and macro images of geological/nature textures.  I layered these images together to create enigmatic self portraits.

The resulting images were fairly pleasing and could certainly be of potential use for the assignment.  The only problem, was that some of the prints didn’t seem to have been fixed properly, so I had to re-photograph them fairly quickly once I got home.  I suspect that this was the result of having to process so many images at once (a natural consequence of working in a group) meaning that those at the top of the water tray were not fully submerged for the allotted time.

One additional, and unexpected, thing that I got from the workshop was some useful information from other local photographers, specifically, which local photographic suppliers/printers were the most reliable/efficient/cost-effective.  I have already bookmarked their websites for future use.