As alternative photographic processes go, cyanotype printing is one of the easiest and most economical. Images are made by placing objects or photo negatives on paper that has been sensitized with irons salts, then exposing them in direct sun or ultraviolet light. The results, which appear in white and stunning blues, can capture remarkable detail. In 1843, the artist Anna Atkins famously made the very first photobook using this process, making elegant prints of algae, ferns, and flowers. Now, cyanotype printing has made a comeback, with artists and hobbyists alike embracing the mesmerizing form. While Atkins had to prepare her own paper—following a formula developed by British polymath John Herschel—you can purchase modern papers that come pre-coated, ready for use on a sunny day.
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