What a vivid and informative book Christina Z. Anderson has produced. No matter how knowledgable on a topic you are, there is always something new to learn or a different way to do something and Cyanotype - The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice does not disappoint.
But this in-depth look at Cyanotype techniques is not a dull instruction manual as it also showcases myriad cyanotype practitioners from around the globe. So you are getting a double cyanotype whammy with this publication.
I have been using cyanotype for several years; it seems in the past five or so I have watched it really take off with artists of all levels making simple to intricate artworks with it.
But even when used in its simplest form on ready-made, pre-coated paper, it can open the door to discovery and plant the seed for a blueprint addiction.
Anderson’s clear passion for the process is evident in the thoroughness of her experimentation. She has tested, sometimes working with partners and seeking support of people such as Dr. Mike Ware who invented the new cyanotype formula, differing chemical mixes, which papers they work best with, how to make digital negatives, using different surfaces, toning, mixing with other alternative processes, troubleshooting a variety of issues, and even how to store and frame your prints.
I am simply not inclined towards this much research, being more of a ‘happy accident’ type of artist; total control has never been my thing. With this book, Anderson has done the hard work of this mammoth task and opened up new possibilities and ideas.
Her investigation and sharing of findings definitely needs adding to any cyanotype artist’s library; I’m sure it will become a well-thumbed reference book.
The technical element is backed up with the words and images of contemporary cyanotype artists. These give context to the detailed process information, and provide inspiration through the array of reasons why they are passionate about this process.
I’m a little sad I couldn’t have been included. Some of the names I recognise while others are new to me. As the interest in alternative and camera-less processes continues, I think Anderson may be needing to create a volume two in future to showcase even more people working with this Victorian ’sunprint'.
Anderson is Professor of Photography at Montana State University, USA, and has authored a number of other photography-related books - I’m very glad this is her latest.