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A cyanotype is a contact print created using light sensitive iron compounds invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. Herschel was not a photographer, but rather a scientist seeking a method for copying his notes.

To create a cyanotype, a sheet of paper is coated with solution and left to dry away from exposure to light. An object or drawing is then placed upon the paper and exposed to light, leaving a white image underneath the object where light did not penetrate. The areas exposed to light turn a deep Prussian blue, and the paper washed to remove the remaining light sensitive iron compounds. The process is based upon the reaction of light with iron salts.

First called shadowgraphs, the images were eventually called cyanotypes for the brilliant color of the exposed paper. The process... Read more

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