The cyanotype process was one of the first non-silver technologies used to create photographic images. Originated in the 1840’s, it was not utilized in mainstream photography and was adopted as a copying technique, becoming known by the term “blueprint”, with its blue background reproductions of large architectural and mechanical drawings.
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Unlike photographs set in silver, like in black and white photography, cyanotypes are using a solution of iron compounds. The photograph can be taken with a camera, like a digital camera, and the resulting photo turned into a negative that can be used to make a cyanotype. The basic cyanotype recipe has not changed very much since Sir John Herschel introduced it in 1842. To begin the process, two solutions are prepared for the two-part sensitizing process. Material sensitized with the solution is then printed by ultraviolet light.