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Thread: Cyanotypes?

  1. #11
    Ole
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    Canson 1557 sketch pad - the back side works great, the front side not. That's what I get best results from.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  2. #12
    donbga's Avatar
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    That's kind of interesting since Canson papers are supposed to be buffered. Maybe the backside is more neutral.
    Don Bryant

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    Hi Martin,

    I used Winsor and Newton's Cotman watercolour paper (postcards, not the 'gummed' variety) for experimental Cyanotype photograms - using a hit-and-hope variation of Mike Ware's Ferric Ammonium Oxalate formula. I noted the smell of ammonia coming off the paper after coating, and stored it in the dark for a few hours. The paper's alakline buffer was reacting with the iron salt.

    It worked well eventually. My results were deep blue 'blacks' after rubbing with hydrogen peroxide-based hair bleach. You can buy Cotman at WHSmiths and most art shops, it's inexpensive and comes in pads a range of sizes. The postcards are fun to send through the post too.

    IMO if you're just experimenting, it's better to use a readily-available paper to practice on before moving over to exotic hand-made papers.

    I've read about people using brown parcel paper and cheap cartridge paper to make cyanotypes. It's in a book called 'Spirits of Salts' by Randall Webb and Martin Reed. If you can get this book it's a good basic guide - if not, there's plenty of info on the internet.

    http://www.alternativephotography.com is a brilliant site for info.

    HTH,
    kevs
    testing...

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevs View Post
    It's in a book called 'Spirits of Salts' by Randall Webb and Martin Reed. If you can get this book it's a good basic guide - if not, there's plenty of info on the internet.
    Sorry to contradict here, but this is, for all I can see, and as I mentioned elsewhere, not a good book. It will not help you to really bring alive a single process it discusses. For instance, the cyanotype of the chess game in a room which is on the cover of my edition is clearly much less than optimal in tonal values.

  5. #15
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    Lukas, having read your post I have just pulled my copy of “Sprits of Salts” off the shelf. Whilst the standard of reproduction isn’t the best, it is a book I would recommend as an introduction to alternative processes, including cyanotype. It doesn’t go into the process in any depth but does a good job of explaining the basics, I do feel that following the advice contained one should be able to produce a satisfactory cyanotype.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Miller View Post
    Lukas, having read your post I have just pulled my copy of “Sprits of Salts” off the shelf. Whilst the standard of reproduction isn’t the best, it is a book I would recommend as an introduction to alternative processes, including cyanotype. It doesn’t go into the process in any depth but does a good job of explaining the basics, I do feel that following the advice contained one should be able to produce a satisfactory cyanotype.
    Before anything else, let me just wish all the best for the new year to everybody.

    Dave,
    well, my reservations are the following: while I might even agree that it gives an introduction into alternative processes, what is the point in succeeding to make any odd print? While I would like to leave all room for artistic freedom, cannot help feeling that, as in artistic photography in general, the main point in using those labour-intensive, troublesome alternative processes today is to create picutres which are really worth the trouble, that is, as, if memory serves, Crawford expressed it, images which turn people's heads - and which provide a rich grammar of personal expression. This is where I think "spirits.." leaves you completely alone.
    About the section on cyanotypes: while the necessity of "acid-free" papers is noted (but why only for cyanotypes, as the statement in "disadvantages" on p. 72 implies, and why should this process be printed only on cheap papers?) there is no mention of pre- acidifying, first wash with acidified water (essential with most tap waters for getting deeper blue shadows), or manipulating the colour from cyan to a colder blue, the very recommendable use of Tween 20 for most papers, and I would like to see the effect of just to "wipe of the surplus (of sensitizer) with a piece of cotton wool or a scrap of kitchen roll". (p. 74)
    The section on "troubleshooting" (p. 74) is a bit ridiculous, as are the ""further notes on coating the paper" (p. 75), and the section on "Toning" (ibda.)
    As for "New Cyanotypes" ("Cyanotype 2", p. 76), the main difference of a longer tonal scale, and the contrast range in general is not mentioned.

    All in all, -though this is at least partly a personal impression - the whole chapter implies such an amateurish and dilettantish approach that it makes my hair stand.
    Dave, I hope neither you nor anybody else minds my words even if they appear a bit harsh; they are not meant to hurt anybody's feelings, not even of the authors of the book who may be photographers of high standing, but I really cannot help feeling that this book does rather a disservice to the different crafts of alternative printing.

  7. #17
    Ole
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    The "dilettantish approach" seems to me to be a result of a wish to present the techniques as "simple and easy to use". I have no doubt that this is done on purpose, and that many readers of that book have tried techniques thay wouldn't even think about if they had been presented in their full complexity. All right, so "simple" may sometimes be "too simple". But several thick books have been written on the subject of cyanotypes, and the whole can not be presented in a short chapter in a thin book.

    As an introduction to a lot of different alt. printing techniques, the "Spirits of Salts" is a great little book.

    As a thorough description of all the possible complexities of any one process it is necessarily woefully incomplete.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  8. #18
    Justin Cormack's Avatar
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    You also get the impression that the authors dont really like cyanotypes much.

  9. #19

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    T N Lawrence & Sons have a fine supply of all sorts of papers - and other products that you might find of use. The negs I use are of a similar density to those for silver printing, maybe a bit contrastier, and print fine. Like others have said, buy the chemicals and make your own cyanotype solutions.

    Regards,
    Neil.

  10. #20
    Gustavo_Castilla's Avatar
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    best value

    The best value will be Mike wares new cyanotype (http://www.alternativephotography.co...yanotype2.html) or the FORMULARY LIQUID CYANOTYPE 07-0091 (http://www.photoformulary.com/Deskto...ion=0&langId=0)
    Gustavo Castilla
    We are not moved by things ,
    but by the views we take of them.
    Epictitus.
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