Recreating Cyanotypes in photoshop


Cyanotypes have played a large part of the history of photography and women equality believe it or not.


Portrait of Anna Atkins 1861

Anna Atkins was born in Tonbridge, Kent, England in 1799 and died in 1871. she was a botanist and photographer. she is considered to have been the first female photographer as her publication was the first book of cyanotypes and subsequently the first book of photography by a female. she quite literally paved the way for equal rights to some extent for some of the worlds most famous photographs to be taken seriously so we may have Anna Atkins to thank for the some of the most famous and iconic images such as this image below by Dorothea Lange migrant-mother-by-dorothea-lange.jpg

Florence Owens Thompson, 32, a poverty-stricken migrant mother with three young children, gazes off into the distance. This photograph, commissioned by the FSA, came to symbolize the Great Depression for many Americans.


cyanotypes are a chemical based development that sees the combination of two chemical exposed to a surface preferably with alkine PH and left to dry and then exposed to uv light to create a blue dye where the chemical reaction occurs as shown below


© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
id: 134823

this above is a photogram as it is a direct impression of the object blocking the UV light exposure to the chemical surface of the paper below is a cyanotype process to create a cyanotype photogrpah


this has quite a striking tonality to the image that creates an almost harrowing and haunting image so these methods can be used to evoke a feeling and reaction so i thought i would attempt to recreate cyanotypes in photoshop and here are my results below cyanotypechesterton.jpg_DSC8197.jpg_DSC6216.jpg


i really enjoyed going a little deeper into the curve control of photoshop and trying to get the authentic cyanotype look to the images i selected i feel i achieved the look rather well but i feel a more suitable subject matter and composition would be better suited to the cyanotype editing process as a haunting looking image does not really work with an image of a windmill/thistles. However i do feel the rolling mist in the tree line image on the lake worked really well so overall i am happy i just feel subject matter is the key. in terms of the process of conversion itself i feel i achieved the look of a cyanotype very well

until next time

happy reading



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