This Saturday is the inaugural World Cyanotype Day.
Cyanotype is a simple printing process, originally developed to copy engineering drawings (blueprints) that also made its way into the photography world.
You can find out a bit more about Cyanotype from Wiki.
It is possible, and by the looks of things fairly easy, to produce a Cyanotype print at home using two basic chemicals; ammonium iron(III) citrate and potassium ferricyanide, and there are a couple of links below that have instructions.
If you choose to follow either of them, please please please observe all the safety precautions including gloves and glasses.
- Mix two chemicals to create photo sensitive solution of ‘sensitizer’.
- Brush, smear, or soak the sensitizer into cotton-based watercolor paper.
- Create a negative image on a transperency with a laser/inkjet printer or copy machine.
- Place the negative over the dried, sensitized paper.
- Expose to UV light.
- Wash the image in water to develop.
- Hang to dry, and enjoy!
Personally, this isn’t something I’ve tried by traditional means, although I have produced a few faux Cyanotypes in Photoshop. The process is pretty simple;
- Convert your image to monochrome using Image>Adjustments>Desaturate or applying a Black and White Layer or Converting to Black and White in CameraRaw.
- Add a new layer and fill with blue by going to Edit>Fill and choosing Colour – you can try different shades to see which you like but something like “4e8aef” is a good start.
- Finally, change the blend mode of this new layer to Linear Dodge (Add). Adjust the opacity of the layer to reduce the impact of the effect to a level that you like.
I do like the blue tones and abstract/ artistic nature of the process so I’m going to take a few more digital shots this weekend and give them a cyanotype treatment in honour of #WWCD2015.
I’m also going to see how easy it is to get the chemicals and see if I can produce something tangible too!