Early Algae Cyanotype Prints by Anna Atkins

2017-06-13

When Sir John Herschel invented the cyanotype, within the year English botanist and photographer Anna Atkins saw the potential and applied his process to algae (seaweed) by making cyanotype photograms, that were contact printed. Majorly, she learned photography and printing from William Fox Talbot himself.

The photogenic drawing technique -- in which an object is placed on light-sensitized paper and is exposed to the sun) and calotype photography.

Anna Atkins Photographs of British Algae Cyanotype Impressions. Purchased with the support of BankGiro Lottery, the W. Cordia Family/Rijksmuseum Fund and the Paul Huf Fund/Rijksmuseum Fund.

Atkins' fascination for photography as a medium of scientific documentation was widely known. She produced thousands of cyanotypes and blueprints, and back in the day, it was considered the inexpensive way to make contact prints. She used two ferric salts and sunlight exposure, creating a Prussian blue dye on the print. It is said that it took 10 years of cyanotype printing for Atkins to complete her work, as the prints could only be made when there was sufficient sunlight.

The female photographer is also claimed by many historians as the first woman to create a photographic image, with regard to Constance Talbot, the wife of William Fox Talbot.

Anna Atkins Photographs of British Algae Cyanotype Impressions. Purchased with the support of BankGiro Lottery, the W. Cordia Family/Rijksmuseum Fund and the Paul Huf Fund/Rijksmuseum Fund.

Images are from the press kit.

written by lomographymagazine on 2017-06-13 #culture #algae #cyanotypes #anna-atkins

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