Someone asked me once why I chose to work in Cyanotype. It took me a minute to come up with an answer – several, actually. First, it’s cheap. I can’t afford to work in Plat/Paladium even if I wanted to. Second, it’s an alternative process, something I fell in love with in college. And finally, I don’t have a darkroom!
Not to say that I don’t love the traditional black and white process. There’s a certain magic to watching prints surface in the developer in a darkroom that I miss. Sitting in front of a computer screen isn’t a good substitute for that. That said, I absolutely love my digital camera and the ability to tweak my negatives in a way that darkrooms make super annoying. I’m not the world’s best printer, to say the least. As for the cheap part – if you’re struggling to learn lighting, digital is THE best way to learn (in my opinion.) Nothing beats being able to compensate for a bone-headed mistake right then and there. Since I’m not paying for film, digital is my method of learning what works and what doesn’t.
Image: “Mercy” 8×10
Process: Cyanotype. Digital negative printed on Canson Montval (cold press) watercolor paper. Toned in tannic acid (Christopher James’ #3 Black Toner recipe, more or less.) Cold press paper doesn’t scan well, so the actual image looks a good bit better than this.