Cyanotype Photography

“The difficulty of making accurate drawings of objects
so minute as many of the Algae and Confervae
has induced me to avail myself of
Sir John Herschel’s beautiful process of Cyanotype,
to obtain impressions of the plants themselves,
which I have much pleasure in
offering to my botanical friends.”
Anna Atkins

Cyanotype Photography

There has been a few different styles of photography through the years, but one I’ve always thought was beautiful is cyanotype. It’s actually obtained not through photography but through a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.

The process was discovered in 1842 by an English scientist and astronomer, Sir John Herschel. He developed cyanotype mainly as a means of reproducing notes and diagrams, such as blueprints. But, it was Anna Atkins a botanist and photographer who brought this popular processing style to photography in the 1840s.

Atkins created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection. She would place specimens directly onto coated paper, allowing the action of light to create a silhouette effect. Anna Atkins is regarded as the first female photographer and also the mother of cyanotype photography.

Shine On