Antique photography fun

 Dating from 1848, cyanotype imaging is the oldest chemical image-making system known.

Following a couple of chance events (a sale at an educational supplies store near us, and some YouTube randomness from BoingBoing), I decided to build a cyanotype camera.

Some years ago a friend of mine gave me a lens from a TV projector, so that was a starting point.

Add to that a black cardboard camera box, a handful of bolts and some gaffa, and in about 30 minutes I had a camera obscura working.

Cyanotype paper is a very slow film - in good light the exposure time is around 15-30. Minutes, that is. Not seconds. Developing, on the other hand, takes about 3-4 minutes and only requires water.

So, what sort of results come from this?

20 minutes, part cloud. double-trunked pine tree, surrounded by bushes.
Garden with wattle.
As you can see, the results are not exactly detailed, but there is a very dream-like quality to them. Part of the reason for this is that the process is not sensitive to visible light - it is a UV image. Another is the paper I am using, which has a half-tone speckle in the coating.

Things get really interesting when you then turn these into positive images by inversion, as the blues become sepia.


All in all, a fun little exercise, and one I think I will continue to play with - especially as there is another Scavenger Hunt coming up.




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