This gallery contains examples of my experimentation with cyanotype process. Images made mainly from large format film negatives, also incorporating various objects as photogram elements. Beyond the basic cyan colour, images may be toned with coffee, tea, wine tannin, and other substances. ****All are digital scans  from original prints.


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cyanotype – preparing your own papers/materials*

cyanotype-printing – process for making print*

Summary of history – Wikipedia*


Cyanotype process was once a relatively cheap and easy way to ‘proof’ negatives.


X-ray film can be a way to make large negative for contact printing. Unfortunately the exposure time can be very long (an hour or more), likely due to base material of the film.


Here is image made from x-ray negative onto cyan coated water-colour paper. Exposure strips made at 15 minute intervals. Final image made with 1 hour full sun.


I have also tried printing a negative with an ordinary document printer, onto ordinary white paper. The exposure time is also very long (over 90 minutes), but did result in good image*


Here is original classic cyan print, and same image after bleaching with household AMMONIA and re-developing/toning in cool brew of BLACK TEA.  Although almost any alkali may be used to bleach out cyan colour, I’ve found ammonia to give best result when you intend to tone image.

If you do not ‘bleach’ out the blue cyan, before toning, the blue is tinted by the tea/tannin. Also the base colour of the paper is tinted* Tea tends to make cyan blue more muted like faded blue jeans, with white paper becoming a beige tone. Wine tannin will tint cyan blue to a deep purple and stain paper base a pale pink.


In addition to using film or digital negative, cyanotype process can be used for photogram. This image made from steel coils onto classic cyan prepared paper, then bleached with ammonia and toned with wine tannin. I’ve used commercial wine tannin for deepest red tones.


Lumen Printing

is another contact printing process, using regular silver gelatin photographic papers. In this case regular photographic enlarging paper is sandwiched in contact with objects or film and exposed in full sun for a length of time. Then the finished image is ‘fixed’ in photographic fixer chemistry and may be toned. Botanical specimens work best, because the induce formation of penumbra and regional tonal differences not produced by other media. Surprising colours are obtained from black and white photographic enlarging papers!

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