Cyanotype – In the footsteps of Anna Atkins

Sunny day today! Preparing a workshop on cyanotype printing. So out into the garden.

The idea to print plants by the cyanotype process dates back to the 19th century when Anna Atkins published the first ever book with photographic reproductions of plants (Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions).

Yesterday I sensitized some paper with the cyanotype mixture  (J. M. Eder: Rezepte, Tabellen und Arbeitsvorschriften für Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik, Verlag von Wilhem Knapp, Halle (Saale), 1942, 18.-19. Auflage, p.225) and had it to dry overnight.



Today picked up some plants (there are plenty) and put them under glass to press them firmly onto the paper for good contact in order to have clear contours. Five minutes exposure were sufficient to get some results.


Next step: wash out the unused chemicals (more or less 20 minutes).P1000150-w.jpg




As I wasn’t happy with the colour I added some hydrogen peroxide (10% solution to the water.)






Now the very last step: let it dry.




More on cyanotype:


  • Ammonium iron(III) citrate (‘green’ variety) (important: iron(III), green)
  • Potassium ferricyanide (important: ferri not ferro) –> [Red Prussiate of Potash, rotes Blutlaugensalz, ferricyanure de potassium]


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