Cyanotypes are the Stuff of Dreams

I’ve been itching to make cyanotypes, like, poison-ivy with itching powder on top kind of itching. We experimented a little bit in class last week, and I had a bit of fun. I brought in all kinds of objects: flat, round, small, large, opaque, translucent… And the results make me want to do more.

I also brought in medium format negatives and color slide negatives. The medium format negatives didn’t come out, despite being exposed for over half an hour, but my color slide ones gave some results. And here is why: cyanotypes respond to the blue parts of the light spectrum, so the more an object is transmitting blue light, the better. My color slide negatives were tungsten film, so they already had a blue tint to them, whereas my medium format negatives were orange, hence the struggle. My color slide negatives sat out in the sun for a little over 20 minutes, and I found the images that were higher-contrast came out better than the ones that didn’t. I want to try medium format again, to try and see what is the sweet-spot for exposure time.

Writing about this made my heart beat faster. I can’t wait to make more! I have to make some that relate to my semester-long theme of “dreams,” and I definitely think cyantoypes fall into the dreamlike category of image-making.

Happy Shooting (or Cyanotyping!)

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