I live in Shetland, the most northern part of the United Kingdom. I have always had a passion for photography. I have a passion for landscape photography and living in Shetland ticks all the boxes for wildlife and spectacular scenery. As well as my photography I love to go back to an alternative form of photography creating photograms using the Cyanotype process. I love making prints from the nature that surrounds us, flowers, and leaves, weeds, seaweed and nature all sourced in Shetland to produce beautiful blue prints. Shetland does not have the hot sunny climate summers like the rest of the UK so when it does show its face it is a race to get as many prints done as possible before the 6 months of darkness descend upon us.
Cyanotype is an antique photographic process distinctive for its Prussian blue monochrome prints. It was invented in the Victorian era creating a photogram image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The cyanotype is also known as “ferroprussiate” or “blueprint.” The process was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. He discovered that iron salts could be reduced to a ferrous state when exposed to light and then combined with other salts to create vivid blue and white image. Anna Atkins was one of the few women in photography at the time of his discovery and was the first photographer to use this process publicly to illustrate her book British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions.
Wet cyanotype process goes a little further in experimentation by using the traditional method of sensitizing the paper along with the flora that is placed on the paper. I then spray with water, sea water, or diluted vinegar and sprinkle with sea salt, turmeric and various other herbs and spices covered with cling film and glass the prints are left out in the sun for as long as 24 hours depending on the time of year. Not one print is the same, that’s the fun part of the whole process. Pushing the boundaries of the cyanotype process has opened up a host of new possibilities and photography has now become even more exciting.