Sun Print – Ornamental grasses

Ornamental pampas grass tops on hand-coated cyanotype paper. The cyanotype chemicals are brushed onto paper, let dry in the dark. To make prints it is exposed to sunlight UV for this alternative process and analog printmaking technique.
Ornamental pampas grass tops on hand-coated cyanotype paper.

If you’ve followed my Instagram posts these blue prints should look familiar. I started making cyanotypes using this old-fashioned alternative process photography printmaking technique last summer. It brings the magic of watching a darkroom print develop to the fresh air and sunshine of being outdoors and making art!

To make a print, the cyanotype chemicals are brushed onto a surface, watercolor paper in this case, and let air dry in the dark. To expose prints, a negative image or object is placed over the paper. After the chemistry has been exposed a while and reaches a shade of green-gray, the paper is washed in water. Where the paper is exposed to sunlight UV the chemistry oxidizes and remains on the paper, where the UV is weaker or blocked the chemistry is washed away.

Chemistry remaining turns from green-gray to blue when washed in plain old water. After a rinse, the print is treated with household hydrogen peroxide and turns the deep blue seen in this image.

It’s a fantastically simple, easy and enjoyable alternative process and analog printmaking technique.

Pampas grasses making sun print cyanotype photograms

Work in progress: Pampas grasses making sun print cyanotype photograms

Order prints here

 

 

Vines Climbing Alley Walls – Holga Film Photography

Holga black and white film photo of vines climbing alley garage siding

Holga black and white film photo of vines climbing alley garage siding

Perfectly imperfect.

A life motto, really. The toy camera that inspired Instagram, the Holga, was my escape from the Digital SLRs that had helped to jump start my photography endeavors. All that whiz-bang technology, wireless photo transfer accessories, those hours poring over editing presets and bad effects just needed to be simplified.

In addition to instantly reviewing my DSLR shots came the rushed pace of taking, reviewing, editing and uploading photos faster than I could appreciate them. Most of all it was a race to fill social media feeds with snapshots rather than to wait for an interesting subject and make, not just take an image.

Every walk is a photo walk if you believe!

While my children were in school a few blocks away I began walking the neighborhood to pick them up. I had just bought film to try out and it seemed like the perfect time to get to know my surroundings and photograph unique finds along the way. We’d stroll back home together and talk about their day in class, noting interesting architecture, cars, and yard art. I saw vines overtaking a garage along my walk and made sure to bring my Holga along the next time I would be passing by.

This image further illustrates many problems with and characteristics inherent in Holga photography. Most noteworthy of the quirks are light leaks and streaking, questimated zone focusing, unpredictable vignetting, questionable sharpness just to name a few. It is a distant opposite to the clean, crisp, predictable digital image reviewed down to each pixel.

Finally, just go shoot. Whether the results are interesting or artistic are up to each viewer to decide. What I found in carrying my Holga around was that it helped me clear the larger hurdle of just taking a camera along with me. Probably the hardest part for a camera gear collector is just choosing what to bring! Most all my other cameras have multiple lens choices, but my Holga only has that dead-simple “Optical Lens” on the front.

Intention needs action.

A camera with very few options makes that first step to creating a simple choice: take a photo or do not take a photo. There is no try. Either you press the shutter lever and snap an image or you don’t. Whatever photo making thing you’re carrying with you today, #JustGoShoot!

Prints of this photo are available here

Pick up a Holga here on eBay or Amazon

Join me at Instagram or Flickr to see a larger version of this scan.