Cyanotype making you blue?

August 31, 2015  |  by Bonifas Arts Center


Cyanotype [sīənəˌtīp]. If you’re a photographer you might know what it is. Or if you read blueprints for a living. If neither, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it before.

Lucky for you there’s the Bonifas Arts Center and their continuing efforts to bring new and fascinating arts experiences to Escanaba and the surrounding communities. Experiences like learning about cyanotype photography.

Developed in 1842 by English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel, cyanotype is a photo printing process that combines potassium ferricyanide with ferric ammonium citrate (say that five times fast!) to create a cyan-blue print. Engineers adopted the process in the twentieth century as an inexpensive means to making blueprints.

Now, in conjunction with their upcoming photography exhibit, the Bonifas is offering a cyanotype workshop with NMU’s Director of Photography, Christine Flavin.

Flavin has worked as a professional portrait photographer and darkroom technician, as well as the assistant curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the University of Iowa’s Museum of Art. She combines digital technology with historic photographic processes in making her prints, and her work has been exhibited throughout the Midwest as well as Washington, Texas, and Japan. And that’s just the beginning of her credentials.

For the cyanotype workshop Flavin will teach photographers how to take their digital images and convert them into enlarged digital negatives then print them on transparency material. By applying those negatives to watercolor paper and using the chemical process discovered by Herschel, the images will be exposed to sunlight and processed to create a cyanotype print.

The cyanotype workshop will be held at the Arts Center on September 18 from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. Space is limited to 15 people, and registration can be handled at the Bonifas front desk or on our event page.

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