Back to Store

Inuvik fire trucks, cyanotype print on canvas 6 x 9 inches

$30.00 Sold Out

Cyanotype print on canvas. The image is approximately 4 x 6 inches, canvas size 6 x 9 inches. Toned. 

Unframed print. Paper/canvas for each print is hand coated and developed in the sun which makes every cyanotype print one of a kind. 

Free delivery in Inuvik. 

About the process 

Cyanotype is a monochrome photographic printing process invented in the 1842 by astronomer Sir John Hershel, who used it for making copies of his notes. It produces vibrant dark blue and white prints and can be used for printing from negatives, as well as for making photograms – photographic images made by placing objects directly onto the light sensitive paper. 

Cyanotype process uses photosensitive properties of two iron compounds: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. These two chemicals are available as liquids or salts (in the latter case they need to be diluted in water before use). Once combined, they become sensitive to UV light. 

The first person to use cyanotype in photography was British biologist Anna Atkins. Her book “Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions” published in 1943, illustrated with photograms of pressed plants from the author’s herbarium, is considered the first book illustrated with photography. Cyanotype never made it into the mainstream of photography as other processes, such as tintype and gelatin emulsion, were developed shortly after. It was mainly used for making inexpensive copies of engineering plans – that’s where the word “blueprint” came from. 

Cyanotype printing process involves the following steps: 

1. Mixing the emulsion 

2. Brushing it onto paper and letting it dry away from daylight to avoid UV exposure 

3. Applying a negative on top of the sensitized paper and placing the print in a printing frame or under a pane of glass to make sure that the negative sits snugly on top of the paper 

4. Exposing the print under uv light (this step can be completed under a dedicated uv lamp or outdoors; outdoor exposure can take from 15 minutes to several hours as the exposure time depends on the atmospheric conditions – the more direct sunlight, the faster the exposure) 

5. Washing the print: areas of the print that were not exposed to sunlight wash away under running water 

6. Toning the print (optional): cyanotype prints can be toned to charcoal/aubergine/sepia tones using a bath containing tannins. This can be done is a solution purchased in a photography store, or using natural products that contains tannins, such as tea or coffee. Tannin chemically binds to the iron and causes the color shift. Most of my toned prints are processed with a coffee and water mix. 

Using Format