In Camera Cyanotypes: Really Really Analog Photography

in #art2 years ago

Ever since I started playing with cyanotypes earlier this year I wanted to experiment with in camera cyanotypes. This was partly inspired by a camera obscura I made for a solar eclipse several years ago. I loved the image it made on the interior of the cereal box it was made of and I wondered if I could capture it with a cyanotype.

Everything I could find on the subject says it can't be done with a pinhole camera. So the camera obscura idea was out. A lens is necessary to concentrate the uv radiation onto the paper.

I found some people who made their own cameras, but I honestly don't have time for that. One guy uses a Rollieflex and has pretty good results, but I don't have the money for a Rollieflex.

Prepped papers

So I did the next rational thing. I bid on a lot of 11 antique box cameras. Go big or go home amiright? Of course these cameras were located in Canada. Once the bids were done, I had to deal with shipping. I was terrified it would end up being $200 to get these cameras to Florida.

Loaded up

Thankfully this wasn't the case. I paid less than $7 a camera all said and done. Not too shabby for ten antique Brownies and one Seneca. Then I had to wait for them to arrive to see if they actually worked and I didn't waste my money on hipster paperweights.

Thankfully all but one still have functional shutters, with one more completely missing the inner parts. The missing parts are actually quite fine for my experiment.

This is a tiny cyanotype

My babies all lined up

Three Brownies

I decided to use three cameras and set them out for 20 minutes, 40 minutes, and 60 minutes. I've see people have success with as little as 15 minutes and failure with as much as six hours.

The timer

The subject

My yard is a bit of a mess. Oh well. It'll work.

20 minutes, not impressed

After 20 minutes my first image had pretty much nothing. So I moved the 20 minute camera to a better spot and set it out for another 20 minutes.

New subject, more light

New setup

The 40 minute still wasn't very impressive.

40 Minutes

And last but not least the 60 minute had just a smidge of an imprint, but nothing too good.

60 minutes, something, but still not much

60 minutes scanned, meh.

My new subject wasn't much of a success either, so I set them all in my front yard where there was slightly more light.

I just left them out there for awhile and didn't pay attention to the time. I'd say it was probably about an another hour.

I pointed this one at the sky and ended up with this:

The other two came out a little better:

They are a little more clear when scanned and edited just a bit for brightness:

The sky

The other two were set up roughly facing this subject:

They actually came out pretty good considering. Although it took some editing to get an idea of what they captured.

After some Rorschaching I managed to see what it was. Maybe I'm seeing what I want to see but I think it worked!

It's not great, but it's a start. I think I may leave them out for six hours tomorrow and see what happens. Keep watching and I'll post more when I get them!

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