Cyanotype Postcards

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Unidentified Photographer, Feeding the Squirrels, ca. 1908

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Unidentified Photographer, [Interior], ca. 1908

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Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Girl], ca. 1908

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Unidentified Photographer, [Boat], ca. 1906

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Unidentified Photographer, [Boat (verso)], ca. 1906

The cyanotype process was introduced by Sir John W.F. Herschel in 1842. The cyanotype image is created by the reaction of ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide under UV light. The result forms a brilliant, lush Prussian blue, which was also the first synthetic pigment.

Cyanotypes were first put to photographic use by botanist Anna Atkins to create plant illustrations and engineers to create blueprints. It is extremely permanent, and therefore favored by artists concerned with the preservation of their images. Other notable photographers who utilized the cyanotype process were Eadweard Muybridge, Henri Le Secq, and Edward Curtis. The simple-to-use process was also well received by amateurs to create images, like these postcards printed in the first decade of the 1900s.

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2 Responses to Cyanotype Postcards

  1. Malin Fabbri says:

    Hello,
    Very nice postcards! Are they yours? Do you have a collection of old postcards?
    I am the author of “Blueprint to cyanotypes”
    http://www.alternativephotography.com/books/cyanotypes.html
    And would like to get in contact with you.
    Can you email me?
    Malin

  2. I just started making my own cyanotypes last week. They’re so much fun! You can find a few at http://www.studiomme.etsy.com. Otherwise, they’re on my blog. Super cool process and the only photo process I do. (I leave the dangerous stuff to my BFA photography student boyfriend.)

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