Highlands Cyanotypes

October 18, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Can you tell I am hooked? By now, I have printed five batches of cyanotypes from different negatives and on different watercolor paper, stocked up on even more paper, and already have plans that will keep me busy for a while. And it feels like the fun I am having is barely starting!

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Alright, before we head over to the highlands of the Czech Republic, here's one local from Buffalo, New York. The main lighthouse is a gorgeous historic structure welcoming boats to the inner harbor of the city. I have photographed it many times under many different conditions and it was only fitting to make sure I had a version of one of those photos printed as a cyanotype.

Buffalo Main Light, An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype.Buffalo Main Light CyanotypeAn original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype

Buffalo Main Light, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Meeden textured surface cold pressed watercolor paper

Now that the home front print is out of the way, let's visit the highlands of the Czech Republic where I grew up and created many memories. Back in my childhood the giant round hay bales did not exist and straw was pressed into smaller square bales instead. That was for practical reasons as many small farmers handled the bales manually. However, photographing the landscape these days the large round hay bales are usually the only ones to be found.

Highland Hay Bales, An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotypeHighland Hay Bales CyanotypeAn original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype  
Highland Hay Bales, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Meeden textured surface cold pressed watercolor paper

Today's last cyanotype is one I have a strong personal connection to and as such it comes with a high dose of nostalgia. Various alternative processes seem to work really well with it.

It's a very old farm house where my great grandparents once lived. My grandparents later built a new house just across the narrow village road. It originally had one small bedroom, a kitchen, a decent size workshop, a cellar, a cote, and an attic. I don't remember anyone ever living there. During my childhood, the cote always had a pig or two, the cabinets in the kitchen were used to store all kinds of pickled stuff, and the kitchen was mostly used once or twice a year to process everything after a slaughter of the pigs.

Most of the family showed up for these events and they made for a tiring weekend of activity. Tiring but always fun. Days were busy taking care of business and evenings dedicated to my dad's accordion, singing, and Slivovice. Not much drinking for the kids but we always had our own fun alongside the distracted adults.

I spent long periods at my grandparents' every summer and helped with the farm work there. Feed the chickens, feed the pigs, collect the eggs, feed the rabbits, and much more. There were plenty of opportunities to be a kid though too - head out with my friends from the village and go fishing, pick plums, apples, or be up to no good in one of the many barns scattered throughout the village.

House of Memories, An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotypeHouse of Memories CyanotypeAn original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype

House of Memories, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Meeden textured surface cold pressed watercolor paper

Now a tiny bit for the technical side of thigs. So far, I have focused on printing on heavy-weight water color paper and really like the results. I like the paper texture showing through and also like how it reduces the apparent detail of the prints. It supplements the hand-made look very nicely. The two papers I came to like so far are very different.

First, the Shizen Design Professional Grade Watercolor Paper (Cold Pressed 100% Recycled) is very bright white with a strong texture and some random "impurities", probably due to being a fully recycled paper. I love the combination of the cyan tones and the bright white. However, it further increases the already high contrast in the cyanotype prints.

Second, the Meeden Textured Surface Watercolor Paper (Cold Pressed) provides a more subtle and less contrasty look. All three photos in today's post were printed on this paper. It's warmer and less bright base gives prints a completely different look.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

If you like cyanotypes you can explore the Cyanotypes Photo Gallery dedicated to my growing collection of them. Would you like to browse through traditional darkroom wet prints? Visit my Darkroom Photo Gallery and enjoy! Do not hesitate to contact me whether you would like to learn more or would like to purchase one of my prints.

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Steel sculpture of a bison in front of an old double-decker bus and a grain elevator for the background. An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from Buffalo, NY.Buffalo, NYCyanotype An old house by a train station. An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from Eureka Springs, Arkansas.Old HouseCyanotype Edward M Cotter's solo at Buffalo's Canalside. An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from Buffalo, NY.Edward M Cotter's Solo Show Cyanotype


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