Wednesday, April 17, 2013


There is something wonderfully appealing about cyanotypes.  The images produced usually are very crisp and clear, but care should be taken in handling the prints as the paper used for making the images is delicate.  Almost anyone can make cyanotypes and the process continues to this day being used by photographers and artists.  There is surprisingly very little scholarly literature on the subject and no general survey exists on the historical usage and range of the medium in photography.  In addition, there has been no major museum show on the cyanotype.

I include here an excerpt from Wikipedia which is a fascinating account of its origin and early usage:
“The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered this procedure in 1842. Though the process was developed by Herschel, he considered it as mainly a means of reproducing notes and diagrams, as in blueprints. It was Anna Atkins who brought this to photography. She created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection. Atkins placed specimens directly onto coated paper, allowing the action of light to create a silhouette effect. By using this photogram process, Anna Atkins is regarded as the first female photographer.”

What you will see in the contributions from your fellow collectors below is how varied the subject matter is within this rather neglected medium.  If one wanted to collect an area of photography which is both beautiful and ripe for scholarly attention, one could do worse than to concentrate on the humble cyanotype.

Robert E. Jackson

For more information on any  of the contributors below, please click here.

The next group blog will be on spiders, bugs and other insects.  Got a good photos?   Shoot me a line.

Robert E. Jackson

Erin Waters

 Thomas Harris

Contemporary cyanotype by Jefferson Hayman

Jim Radke

Sabine Ocker

Pat Street

Joel Rotenberg

John Van Noate 

Jim Hanelius

Mark Glovsky

 Robert Young

David Chow


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I do a lot of cyanotype printing. You can see some of my work at my website

  3. I think Anonymous's comment should not have been removed. Hepaestus's should be removed.

  4. There is in fact an important book by Mike Ware, "Cyanotype: The History, Science and Art of Photographic Printing in Prussian Blue" (1999) and much academic literature is cited in it.

  5. Agree with the previous comment--cyanotypes are as well researched as any photographic process. If you're just doing google searches, you won't find a lot of it.