Here is the background for one of my upcoming surreal composites. Very happy with how the lighting is working in this! Particularly as the foreground was shot in the middle of the day with no clouds.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Here is a brief run down on how I create my cyanotypes.
What you will need:
- Potassium Ferricyanide
- Ferric Ammonium Citrate
- Paper, textiles or other absorbent material
- Copier paper
- Sheet of glass
- 2 brown Glass bottles, mixing bowls, spoons, scales, washing line, pegs
Step 1: Creating the negative
In order to create my negatives I used digital infrared photos I had taken, as they are very contrasty. As you can't get a large tonal range with cyanotypes using images with high contrast is very important in order to create an effective image. To create my negative I take my photograph, increase the contrast and invert it. I then make it black and white by adding a monochrome Channel Mixer adjustment layer.
It should look something like this:
Step 2: Printing the negative
I then printed my inverted image just on regular paper, and photocopied it onto transperent copier paper. I created my negatives this way as it means I had complete control over size (If I used actual film negatives it would be much harder to control my image, and the size as I would have to shoot what I wanted straight onto large format film).
Step 3: Mixing the chemicals
(As we are using light sensitive chemicals, the next 3 steps must be done in the dark, or using a safe bulb.)
The first step is to mix up the two chemicals. Measure 25g of Ferric Ammonium Citrate and mix with 100ml of water, then measure 10g of Potassium Ferricyanide, mix with with 100ml water and store in an airtight dark bottles. This recipe will make approximately 50 8x10 prints, but the chemicals will not last very long, so make sure to store in a cool dark place.
Step 4: Making the solution
To make the light sensitive solution, mix equal quantities of the two chemicals in a bowl.
Step 5: Painting the paper
Next take your negative and mark out the corners lightly on the paper, this shows us the area we want to paint inside. If you want clean edges you can use masking tape and mask off the areas you dont want to paint. I like messy edges though so I do this step very roughly, as I find textured edges much more effective.
We then paint our chemical solution over the paper and leave it to dry in a dark place overnight.
Step 6: Exposing the negative
The next day we take our paper out, make sure its dry, and place our negative over the top. Place a sheet of glass over the top so the negative doesn't bow or slip. Then leave it in direct sunlight for 10-15 minutes.
Step 7: Washing
Once the sunlight as exposed our paper we need to wash the excess chemicals away. Wash in running water until the water runs clear, and hang up the paper to dry.
Once the paper is dry you should end up with a beautiful blue cyanotype!
Here is the CD cover I designed for the band Iron & Wine. I have been experimenting with cyanotypes recently, and I decided to use a couple for this CD cover, as it worked well with the artistic look I was going for. Iron & Wine is Indie Folk Rock, and has a very natural acoustic sound to it, so I wanted the image to reflect the sound of the music.