the cyanotypes

February 4, 2004

Here are the two cyanotypes that turned out in today’s session. I printed four, two with negatives from Polaroid 665 P/N BW film and two with digital negatives I made a few years ago for printing kallitypes. The digital negatives have WAY more contrast than the regular ones, largely because I edited them to be so. As a result, the only prints that turned out were the ones made with the digital negatives.

This was actually a digital manipulation from two B&W Polaroid images that I printed onto inkjet transparencies. The paper is 140 cold-pressed Arches Aquarelle. My last sheet of it, actually, I need to pick up some more. I exposed it in the window for about an hour (today is very grey, overcast day) until the exposure seemed dark and even. I rinsed it under water for approx. five minutes to fix it, until I noticed it was taking off quite a lot of color and detail. I don’t know if it is because I rinsed too long, or because the paper was not sized to hold the sensitizer.

This was a very beat up digital negative – something had spotted it, and it was dusty. I hadn’t stored it very well in our cross-country move. I figured it would be good for an experiment. This one was exposed for ten minutes in direct sunlight, and was easily the best exposure of all the prints. The loss of color and detail I had noticed in the previous print did not occur with this one, and in fact, the longer I rinsed it the more detail was shown.

I’m either going to go to Kinko’s with a disc and have them print me out a few more transparencies to use as negatives, or I’m going to wait until my new 250 arrives and take some images with it on 665 film to get a few more negatives and do some actual quality prints. So far, my first experiment is leaning me back toward kallitypes and Van Dyke Brown prints, which seem to be a little more receptive to detail and flexible to experimentation. The cyanoytypes are very nicely hued, but I haven’t given it a proper treatment yet.