The Cyanotype process is the origin of the term (and item) 'blueprint'.testing out different transparencies
I didn't even know as much as that last week when I signed up for a starters course in cyanotype organised by Ángel Borrué, whom I'd recorded a couple of years ago doing a pinhole photography course.
For a photographer who's never set foot in a photographic laboratory before (yes, I have finally found the strength and digital support to confess), any sort of photographic process is daunting.
One of the principal attractions of cyanotype for me was its simplicity - essential for beginner photographic chemists - and of course, the tangible aspect of the final product and the process.
There are plenty of cyanotype filters and effects available digitally so why not simply use those?
Well, firstly, if you choose to work with actual objects of differing transparency as opposed to photographic negatives or templates, the whole setup is different. You are physically arranging these objects within a space. The images you see in this post are literally the result of each of those objects in contact with the "canvas".
And secondly, it's all in the imperfection. As opposed to starting out with an already "perfect" image (in the sense that you already have the image you want to achieve) you are playing with all the different variables in all their different aspects - exposure, arrangement, contact with the chemicals etc.
The results were far from gallery material but the opportunity to play around with what are essentially the fundamentals of photography has been enlightening. Watch this space...
For some truly quality cyanotype images and other photographic processes, take a look at Papel Salado
You can also find me here: