Cyanotype's Historic Odyssey and Anna Atkins' Enduring Influence

Embark on a captivating journey through the annals of photographic history with cyanotype, an artful technique that continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of imagery. Pay homage to Anna Atkins, a visionary trailblazer and the first female photographer, as you uncover the fascinating evolution of cyanotype and its profound impact.

Emerging in the early 19th century, cyanotype owes its origins to the ingenuity of Sir John Herschel. This innovative process involves the application of a light-sensitive solution, a combination of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, onto a surface. Upon exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight, a chemical reaction ensues, yielding the iconic blue and white hues that define cyanotype. The colour is called Prussian Blue.

Enter Anna Atkins, an astute botanist and artist whose pioneering spirit led her to harness cyanotype for a remarkable purpose. In the mid-1800s, Atkins employed this process to create "Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions," a groundbreaking work that marked the world's first book to showcase photographic images. This watershed achievement not only solidified Atkins' legacy as a female photographer but also demonstrated the scientific and artistic potential of photography.

Beyond the realm of art, architects seized upon the cyanotype process for its exceptional utility. The distinct blueprints architects commonly employed were a direct result of the cyanotype technique. By coating architectural plans with light-sensitive cyanotype solution and exposing them to light, architects could create detailed, blue-tinted reproductions, thus coining the term "blueprint." This revolutionary application revolutionized architectural design, streamlining communication and visualization in the construction industry.

Our cyanotype kits enable users to participate in this old form of photography in an accessible way. Each kit is carefully curated to provide modern enthusiasts with an immersive experience. Explore the mesmerizing interplay of light and chemistry as you craft your own cyanotype masterpieces, reminiscent of Atkins' groundbreaking work and the architect's innovative blueprints.

Journey through time with cyanotype, a bridge between history and creativity. Celebrate the enduring legacy of Anna Atkins and the profound impact of the cyanotype process as you craft your own unique pieces of art and architectural inspiration.