These were turned into negatives, and printed on biodegradable acetate using an eco-tank mono printer. Printing 9 frames per A4 sheet, I had to do about 580 cyanotype prints in total. After a shaky start where I accidentally fogged a batch of paper by not letting it dry properly, I worked out a system where I would coat the day before, dry overnight, and then expose and develop the next day. On average, I was doing about 100 cyanotype prints per day, working for twelve hours a day.
To save water, I opted for a static wash. Typically, you are advised to wash cyanotypes in running water – but for such a mammoth project, this would have consumed an inordinate amount of water. Instead, I used two trays filled with water, switching the prints between. I would also spray the prints with white vinegar, to exaggerate the midtones and bring out some blues. Again, I used white vinegar as a more sustainable alternative to hydrogen peroxide – but you can use lemon juice or other acidic household ingredients.
Dropping the scanned frames into Final Cut Pro, I pressed play and prayed to the cyanotype gods that it would work. And much to my surprise, it did!
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