The cyanotype is one of the earliest photographic processes to be developed. The cyanotype is most well known for it's beautiful blue color. The process includes two chemicals that are mixed together and brushed onto a solid surface. The negative is then contact printed onto the surface in UV light and then the surface is developed in water. Although cyanotype photographs are typically blue, they can be toned in a variety of different ways, such as teas or coffees. Alyssa Salomon addressed the many possibilities of the cyanotype photographic process in her series "Tell Me Again The World Will Be Beautiful." Alyssa has mastered various techniques in printing cyanotype photographs, and it shows in her work. Here is what Alyssa writes about this series: "My process has evolved to be much like that of a birdwatcher in the field; disciplined by skill, attuned to sight, and gifted by chance. But my purpose is to render the reality of the mind’s eye rather than the truth of the eye. My images begin with lens, but are realized through properties of printing process. Each picture is one of a kind, crafted with photographic chemistries, light, and hand work. I mix my photographic solutions from basic compounds, brushing them on handmade and fine papers to produce light-sensitive surfaces on which negatives are exposed. The final images, with velvety surfaces inherent to the van dyke and cyanotype methods and intensified with wax, are more like drawings than photographs, more like memories than documents. I see my studio practice with handmade photographic processes as part of significant currents within contemporary craft, particularly the exploration of materials and intentionality around process. I use photographic printmaking the way a metal smith might approach the fabrication of jewelry: everything is fair game as material and structure. These images result directly from parts and methods. Stuff in front of a camera is starting point; printing is where the picture is made. Process, for me, is important and necessary but not sufficient nor point. Process gives me tools, for rendering for the viewer an evocative sensory experience, embodying physical delights of locating ourselves against boundaries of the natural world."
Cyanotype with Alyssa Salomon
Cyanotype was one of the first methods I learned when I took a photography class in high school! Our teacher really liked experimentation. I like you how say it--"stuff in front of a camera is a starting point." It takes more than clicking a button to make a photograph
@fallingwater Wow! You had a great first photography teacher then. "Stuff in front of a camera is a starting point; printing is where the picture is made." Is a very true sentiment that still relates to all forms of picture making, from dark room to photoshop. Btw, I didn't write that, the last two paragraphs are the artist's statement about his work.