Invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842, cyanotypes are photographs with a distinctive Prussian blue tonality produced by treating paper with an iron-salt solution. The treated paper can be developed using only the sun, which made cyanotypes a favored technique among amateur photographers through the turn of the twentieth century. Cyanotypes: Photography's Blue Period will trace the rise of these "blueprint photographs" beginning with the botanical photogenic drawings printed by Anna Atkins in the 1850s. The exhibition will also feature contemporary artists who have recently revived the process manipulating the medium to varied expressive effects.
Organized in collaboration with a seminar from Clark University, the exhibition will be presented with thematic emphasis on botanicals, landscape, abstraction, and portraiture—areas that dominated much of the production of cyanotypes in the early twentieth century and recur in contemporary work. Artists on display include nineteenth and twentieth-century photographers Henry Bosse, Edward Sheriff Curtis, and F. Holland Day, and contemporary artist Christian Marclay.
Worcester Art Museum - Cyanotypes: Photography's Blue Period - 18.01.2016 - 24.04.2016