Cyanotype – Technique and science

My production  and creative realisation of cyanotypes has become more organised, now I can control the process better.  The first three images below show something like the key points.

  1. Firstly, working indoors without wind or rain means that the layering of images and text is possible and the position of these could be changed as the exposure goes on.  The UV from a fixed lamp gives a strong glow but a rather uneven area, it will need some experimentation to identify best lamp distance and position
  2. The print can be closely watched and the colour change of the background observed (yellow/green to grey) to check level of exposure.
  3. Washing the final product for at least 6 minutes under gently running water – also the need to allow the deep blues to develop over the following 24 hours.
  4. Further experimenting with layered images and hand written text, trying to see if you write gradually then this writing should be bluer and closer to the background colour as the exposure goes on.

The combinations of images and text come from a more theoretical science of pollution and how it s effects are distributed – taking inspiration from the original use of the process described in a post on Sir John Herschel.  So terms like Gaussian distribution and ‘Grey scales’ are used both for describing the distribution and density of particles in plumes of industrial smoke/steam and are also terms used in photoshop for pixel editing.  Other text has been taken from Tynedale Council’s planning permission for Egger which specifies the discharges and allowable factors in complex tables.  This is a kind of measurement to define or ‘capture’ an image of the smoke stack in a different, reassuring but selective way.


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