Fine Art | Van Dyke Brown & Cyanotype Prints

Traditional alternate printing techniques were, hands down, my favorite medium to work in throughout college (besides bookmaking!).(I was also super fond of ceramics... but it's so different and completely removed from everything else that it doesn't count. :))

For those of who who aren't familiar with alternate processing-- basically, it's a fancy way to explain processes that are similar to traditional dark room printing techniques, except with different chemicals and, well, processes. I mostly did cyanotypes and van dyke brown prints, which are contact-printing techniques that require you to coat paper with light-sensitive chemicals and expose them in sunlight for longer periods of time. It's a really hands-on technique that can be both incredibly frustrating and rewarding... depending on a thousand different factors. When you're just starting out, it's a HUGE trial and error experiment, and I have a fairly large box full of prints that didn't work out (and even more that I threw away!) that I like to look through occasionally.

This morning, I hunted through my giant box to find my favorite Van Dyke Brown and Cyanotype prints from my alternate printing days. From five months worth of work, I made SEVEN prints that I love... and a series that I made into a book that I'll share soon.

In a digital age where I can shoot hundreds of photos in a matter of hours, I love that it took me five months to make 7 prints. I love how it caused me to slow down. Consider. Be methodical. Intentional. Work with my hands. Get a little bit messy, and go home at night smelling like chemicals with a feeling that I did something valuable.

It's a feeling that digital photography and staring at a monitor all day just can't seem to give you.

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