Bernd Hutschenreuther

Bernd Hutschenreuther photographer

Bernd Hutschenreuther, born in East Germany have been using pinhole cameras, cyanotypes, developing with caffenol and most recently lumen prints.
From: Saxony, Dresden, Germany.
Shows: Lumen prints.

I was born in 1954 in Steinach, Thuringian Forest, East Germany. I took my first photos in 1960 with a Pouva Start camera. Photography has always fascinated me, although I also made more amateur films for a while.

In school, I joined a photography club and learned how to develop film. I never lost sight of it, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I began to pick up my camera more often and became a photography enthusiast. My psychologist recommended it to me, as I was suffering from a mild depression after losing my job as a technical writer.

Gradually, I found my way back to photography. I started with the modern Pentax K30, then brought out my old Praktica camera. I used pinhole lenses and eventually built pinhole cameras, first out of matchboxes, then out of film canisters, and later out of nutshells. In a DSLR photography forum, I saw cyanotypes. Some people complained about them, but I asked what they were. Then I started experimenting with cyanotypes. Last year, I had an exhibition with cyanotypes in our garden club.

I discovered Caffenol, which I initially thought was an April Fools’ joke, but it wasn’t. Then I got paper and chemicals. I found that tannin-rich plant leaves or fruits were used to develop photographs, while salt water was used to fix them. Caffenol, Teanol, Cenol, and many other developers can be made from everyday household ingredients, including instant coffee, tea, vitamin C, and washing soda. All of these can be used as alternatives to commercial developers.

If you expose the paper for a long time and keep the photos in the dark, you don’t need any of these developers. You can make lumen prints, which are photographic prints made without a camera by placing objects on light-sensitive paper and exposing them to the sun or other light sources. With pinhole cameras, I made long exposures, solarographs of the sun. It can be even simpler: you can do away with photographic paper altogether. I learned about anthotypes, which are made by using plant juice as a light-sensitive emulsion. By painting the plant juice onto paper, you can create beautiful, colorful images.

“Photography was not invented by humans, but by nature. The canopy of trees creates pinhole cameras. Fallen leaves create images of each other in the light. Chlorophyll prints. I had seen them as a child. Today, I make them myself.”

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3 thoughts on “Bernd Hutschenreuther”

  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    thank you very much for your comment.

    Toning Cyanotypes is interesting – and to a certain degree very easy.

    The simples process is just using coffee. The result is that the blue will be darkened and change the color, and the white will be brownish. There is a small difference between these two. Toning uses the tannic acid or similar things in the coffee and reacts with the blue color (especially the iron in it) and colorizing is just giving color from itself.

    So you can also use green tee which has much more of Tannin od tannic acid than coffee.
    You can use many plants and other things for toning.

    Another method is bleeching and toning.
    Bleeching might be done, for example with washing soda (baking soda bleeches too, but much too much in my experiments. So use baking soda.)
    A tea spoon washing soda in a glass of water is a good start. There are lots of recipees with more exact values.
    It takes a short time to start bleeching, and you can bleech to a pale yellow in some minutes or just a short time – somne seconds to bleech only a little bit. because it continues to bleech, you must wash with the picture with water.
    It will be light blue or a pale yellow after bleeching.

    Now you can tone it with coffee, tea or other plant parts containing tannin or tannic acid. You can also use tannin as powder. There are many others but in the beginning, coffee or tea is good.

    The toning will be finished after drying.

    If you use pinhole and want to make cyanotypes, you should at first make a usual negative in large format. Cyanotype is not light sensitive enough. It will take very long (maybe months until it is reay in a pinhole.

    I made test pictures for toning. Here is a testnegative you can print.

    Here are some results.

    Best regards

  2. Bernd, I enjoy your Cyanotypes and Anthotypes. I’m just experimenting with some as well and
    I’ve been trying pinhole too.

    I’m interested in toning my cyanotypes- do you do this with coffee ? I love the simplicity of the processes and the low-tech aspect.

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