Sunday, 14 August 2011

My Very First Cyanotypes...



I didn't really enjoy the darkroom/process side of photography when I was in college, I found it very limiting and not seeing eye to eye with the tutor didn't help, I soon grew very frustrated by the set rules I was expected to follow and quickly grew bored. Then my subversive nature kicked in....
I've recently joined a group called Photernative which is all about alternative ways of using photography, so I've become more interested in the process side and all the old school techniques, I'm finding myself becoming more and fascinated by different and unusual types of photography.
I've had an idea for a series of photos for a while, I've had the "negatives" for a few years but until recently haven't had the knowledge or means to follow through with the idea [more info to follow] After learning about the cyanotype process I came to realize it actually lends itself pretty well to what I want to do, but before I ordered all the chemicals and materials I wanted to experiment and test out the process to make sure. One of my friends kindly gave me some paper treated with the cyanotype solution for me to do a test run.

To try and avoid going down the same route as I did in college and been disappointed/frustrated by the process I decided to only learn the very basics and make up/wing the rest as I went along, so that the whole thing became more of a discovery and adventure, which is why I also chose to develop using sun light rather than a UV bed, I wanted to surrender some of the control and let mistakes/accidents occur [which is the total opposite to the way I normally work!] I used the photos I took of the dolls in the garden [the 'Down at the bottom of The Garden' series] and made xeroxed acetate negative to develop....

This haphazard approach perhaps wasn't the best idea I've ever had... I completely over exposed the very first attempt by leaving it out in the greenhouse developing for nearly two days! it gave me a black and blue effect which actually fits in perfectly with the "negatives" I'm planning to use...

Attempt Number One - Completely over-exposed, but I rather like the effect, I did rub off parts of the paper by accident whilst washing it, I was convinced that the Xerox from the acetate had transferred itself onto the paper and that's why it was black, it was only when I rubbed the paper I realised I'd fucked up the exposure!

So for the second attempt I cut down the developing times and applied a bit of common sense! and thought about the exposure times


14 mins - Bright Sunshine/Some Grey Clouds



17 mins - Overcast/Cloudy then Drizzle - Since it started to drizzle not long after I started developing this image I decided to leave it outside in the rain to see what effect it would have on the end result - the raindrops on the glass I was using to hold down the negative have given it a blurred/hazy effect which I quite like....

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