A disastrous cyanotype


sonny rosenberg

12/31/20221 min read

Well that didn't quite work out did it? It is a little bit better than my first attempt at bleaching and toning a cyanotype. I would call this one a mitigated disaster, while the first attempt was definitely an unmitigated disaster. In the first attempt, the bleaching in a weak sodium carbonate solution basically worked, but the toning in tea really didn't take. I attempted to then tone it in coffee which turned the whole paper (Fabriano Artistico hot press) into an ugly gray mess.

For this attempt I bleached in sodium carbonate solution, but the bleaching wasn't as linear as the first try and before I knew it, it was very bleached. I think this would have been ok except that the ferrous sulfate I was trying to tone in, didn't quite work. I think it was contaminated by earlier attempts at toning. I had read not to wash the cyanotype between bleaching and toning in ferrous, but I'm going to go against that next time and wash after bleaching so the print doesn't contaminate the ferrous. The extremely variegated look of this print, I think, comes from me just throwing it in with the bleaching and toning trays while I washed them.

I've also mixed up a weaker solution of sodium carbonate, so that the the bleaching will hopefully, go a little bit slower and I can control it a little better. I hope to try my revised process tonight. While this print didn't pan out at all, I do think it's mildly interesting and shows me that this process could work.

A cyanotype gone awry
A cyanotype gone awry