Cyanotype : The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice book cover
1st Edition

The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice

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Book Description

Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice is a two part book on the much admired blue print process. Part One is a comprehensive how-to on the cyanotype process for both beginner and advanced practitioners, with lots of photographs and clear, step-by-step directions and formulas. Part Two highlights contemporary artists who are using cyanotype, making work that ranges from the photographic to the abstract, from the traditional to the conceptual, with tips on their personal cyanotype methods alongside their work. These artists illustrate cyanotype’s widespread use in contemporary photography today, probably the most of any alternative process.

Book features include:

  • A brief discussion of the practice of the process with some key historical points
  • How to set up the cyanotype ÒdimroomÓ
  • The most extensive discussion of suitable papers to date, with data from 100+ papers
  • Step-by-step digital negative methods for monochrome and duotone negatives
  • Chapters on classic, new, and other cyanotype formulas
  • Toning to create colors from yellow to brown to violet
  • Printing cyanotype over palladium, for those who want to temper cyanotype’s blue nature
  • Printing cyanotype on alternate surfaces such as fabric, glass, and wood
  • More creative practice ideas for cyanotype such as handcoloring and gold leafing
  • Troubleshooting cyanotype, photographically illustrated
  • Finishing, framing, and storing cyanotype
  • Contemporary artists’ advice, techniques, and works

Cyanotype is backed with research from 120 books, journals, and magazine articles from 1843 to the present day. It is richly illustrated with 400 photographs from close to 80 artists from 14 countries. It is a guide for the practitioner, from novice to expert, providing inspiration and proof of cyanotype’s original and increasing place in historical and contemporary photography.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - Cyanotype - History and Practice

Part 1 - Cyanotype Step-by-Step

Chapter 2 - Setting up the Cyanotype Dimroom

Chapter 3 - Papers for Cyanotype

Chapter 4 - Digital Negatives for Cyanotype

Chapter 5 - Classic Cyanotype

Chapter 6 - New Cyanotype

Chapter 7 - Further Formula Exploration

Chapter 8 - Making the Cyanotype Print

Chapter 9 - Toning Cyanotype

Chapter 10 - Printing Cyanotype Over Palladium

Chapter 11 - Printing Cyanotype on Alternate Surfaces

Chapter 12 - More Creative Ideas for Cyanotype

Chapter 13 - Troubleshooting Cyanotype

Chapter 14 - Finishing, Framing, and Storing Cyanotype

Part 2 - Contemporary Cyanotype Artists

Chapter 15 - Contemporary Cyanotype Artists



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Christina Z. Anderson’s work focuses on the family snapshot and contemporary vanitas printed in a variety of 19th century photographic processes. Anderson’s work has shown internationally in 110+ shows and 40+ publications. She has authored books which have sold in 40 countries—The Experimental Photography Workbook, Gum Printing and Other Amazing Contact Printing Processes, Gum Printing, A Step by Step Manual Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice, and Salted Paper Printing, A Step-by-Step Manual Highlighting Contemporary Artists, along with Handcrafted: The Art and Practice of the Handmade Print (in Chinese) coauthored with Samuel Wang, S. Carl King, and Zhong Jianming. Cyanotype is her sixth book. Anderson is Series Editor for Focal Press/Routledge’s Contemporary Practices in Alternative Process Photography series and Professor of Photography at Montana State University. To see her work, visit


‘This text is a phenomenal guidebook for the beginner or seasoned cyanotypist, providing a comprehensive overview of the process, its history, numerous creative applications and innovative techniques, along with valuable trouble-shooting tips and contemporary examples of inspiring artwork.’

Amy Holmes George, Fine Art Photographer

‘Christina Z Anderson has again excelled herself with this the third book in the 'Contemporary Practices in Alternative Process Photography' she has written. This two-part book is both educational for the beginner to the advanced practitioner as well as being inspirational with images from some of the best contemporary cyanotype artists.’

John Brewer, Alternative Photographic Process Artist

‘A wonderful explanation and invitation to enter alternative photo with cyanotype. Information for the novice, advanced amateur, and professional alike. Contemporary examples inspire one to give it a try.’ 

Jim Patterson, Photochemist and Alternative Photo Experimenter