I posted this in the wrong section, so I re-post it here...
Hi, its my first post, it will be remembered by every member of this forum. This is the day that Cyanotype stopped being done they way that people have been doing it for better part of forever. If you are doing Cyanotype get ready to start all over again, the future has just found the past.
By the way, you will not believe what I am about to tell you. If your smart you will err on the side of disbelief and follow the procedure and do a print. You will not be sorry. You will however never return to the old ways again. Word of caution, this processes for the traditional printer, the new techniques just can’t work, but who cares because this is so fine, so exquisite that you will bleed when you see the results.
What you will need are realy three things. You will need traditional Cyanotype materials for the original Cyanotype process. You will need a negative of the kind that would print a long range platinum print; not a wimpy negative but a real fully expanded negative the sort that would try the vary limits of a platinum print (I’m not joking here, you need a real bullet proof deep negative). Finally, you will need patents, this is gona take a vary long exposure.
With the exception of one thing you will be doing your normal paper preparation, what ever that is. It is not critical, nor was it ever. The one thing that you will need to do to get the deepest possible image, one that will rival the range of a platinum print (I’m not pulling your leg here), is like any long range full scale print you need to double coat the print. Not that hard. Yes you can use caned spray starch, or use gelatin, or a good quality paper that works well with platinum or palladium printing.
Now stick the paper and negative in a good quality printing frame. By the way, this will test the limits of print frames. Now, outside to the sun and let it go. Down here in San Antonio we have this rather hot sun effect. It realy gets after the printing processes. I have put the print frames out on the roof in the middle of the night and left them ALL day. I don’t even bother to check the print, what’s the point. I mean it when I say you NEED a long range negative. My exposures from an in camera 8X10 negative is around 1.5 days to 3 days.
What you are looking for when you check the print. You want to see information in the highest highlights. I do NOT mean sort of a blush or a demure density in the top white, I’m saying that you can see it, in all of its detail. If it is not in the print when exposing it will not be there upon drying.
So, the print is done and you are plenty excited, I know I am when it gets this time. Guess what, you must do one more critical step, the most important. You must now control yourself beyond belief. Put the print into the dark for 18 hours. WHAT! Yes my friends, this is the great secret of Cyanotype printing. I am again not joking nor pulling your leg. This is the secret that was lost to use when the process was lost in the chase for the silver gelatin print. You MUST rest the print in the dark for near on 2/3 of a day. My experiments have shown this to be the minimum time frame. I usual note the time when I’m done printing and just process the next day at around that time noted on the print.
At the end of the ‘rest’ period you run it through the trays of water. You don’t need to have all that fear of image wash out, it is there, but in the paper. Just l8ike sticking a platinum print into the developer, you get an image up almost instantly. Rinse the excess out and hang to dry. Stick a fork in you your done.
Your thinking, how did he get this crazy notion? The University of Texas at Austin, Humanities Research Center/Gernsheim Collection, is where I got my ass handed to me. Years ago I looked and I saw Cyanotypes that sat in the collection that looked like platinum prints, yet they were Cyanotypes. It was impossible but there they were. How did THEY do these Cyanotypes and WE moderns can not? They knew something that we did not obviously. That is what got me going.
Finally, please make note as you re-read this, the only thing that is new is that I am asking you to pull the print from the frame and let it rest for 18 to 24 hours before you finish the process. Other than that there is nothing different about this realy than what you have been doing in the past.
This is the part that will be written about and discussed till the cows come home. I will let you all in on a little secret…I do know WHY, but I’ll let you wallow in that reason and discuss the meaning.
Tim Summa, MFA.