This month we are exploring photographic art in Cornwall. Famed for its unique quality of light, Cornwall has drawn photographers to the south west for decades. Combining inspiration and experimentation, photography is an intricate blend of science and art, utilising the light itself to create works of art. There is a lot more to the artform than just what can be captured on film with the more traditional cameras that we are all familiar with.
The technique known as cyanotype is just one way to make images with light. Negative silhouettes are created by exposing a special photosensitive wash over paper or fabric to the light to produce layers of beautiful cyan blues.
Megan from the Seasalt creative team worked with photographer Craig to create the beautiful cyanotypes that we’ve featured on our website, in our shop windows, and in this month’s catalogue. She tells us more about the process:
“First I gathered a selection of flowers and foliage from the hedgerows around the design studios and laid out the pieces I wanted to use to make the images.”
“Craig and I prepared the paper by brushing over a wash of photosensitive chemicals. Then I overlaid the leaves and petals I had gathered on top of the chemical wash.”
“The cyanotype chemicals react to light, producing an insoluble blue colour. Craig and I placed our prepared pages under a UV lamp.”
“All parts of the paper that we’d covered with the wash were exposed to the UV light and started to react. Anywhere we’d placed foliage the light was blocked from reaching the chemical washed paper, allowing an image of the foliage to appear.”
“After about 10 minutes we removed the pages from the light. When we took the leaves and flowers away from the paper, faint silhouettes had been formed.”
“Next we washed the pages to rinse off any unreacted chemicals. As we washed them the images developed and became much clearer. When we hung the images up to dry the cyan blue darkened to create the beautiful Prussian blue of the final images.”
You can see more cyanotype photograms in our shop windows this month. Pop down to your local shop or find out more about our window displays here.
Several of our unique prints that feature in this month’s collection were inspired by cyanotype artworks. Read more about the stories behind our prints here.