This practical course will explore the variety of the cyanotype process, one of the first photographic printing techniques. We will focus on its application in the participants artistic practice and discuss its use in contemporary art.
This workshop in cyanotype printing will mainly focus on acquiring practical skills in the cyanotype technique. This very special photographic technique, which produces magic blue prints, can mainly be used to either make photograms or photographic images with the help of photo negatives. As a basis participants will learn how to produce the cyanotype solution necessary for this method and will then have the opportunity to carry out various experiments and try out all the different possibilities of the technique. The focus will then lie on the participants' individual approach. The aim of the workshop is to learn the technique thoroughly and place it into a broader context in the art field so that participants can apply it to their individual artistic practice afterwards.
On the first day an introduction into the theoretical and practical details of the cyanotype technique will be given. We will look at a variety of examples of cyanotype prints and will learn how to make the solution. In the afternoon first test-prints will be produced. As a group, we will start together with an exercise to get more familiar with the technique. This gives participants a first feeling for the technique and time to prepare for the next day, either through taking photos and copying negatives or through collecting certain material for photograms.
The second day and first part of the third day will be mainly dedicated to individual work with the technique. The focus will lie on the participants' individual application of the cyanotype technique. There will be plenty of time to discuss the individual projects while they are developing throughout the workshop and to receive feedback on an individual level. On top there will be an introduction to contemporary artists working with cyanotypes to gather inspiration and to place the individual work in a boarder context.
On the third day we will bring the individual projects to an end and there will be a final presentation to look at the group projects and at the individual work together. This will give participants the opportunity to review the developed work and to give an outlook on how they will be able to continue with cyanotype printing in their own artistic practice.
The workshop is intended for beginners in cyanotype printing. Basically, anyone who has no knowledge of the technique and would like to learn how to work with it, is welcome. It can be helpful if you have already worked with photography, but this is not a requirement as the technique can also be used without even touching a camera.
If participants want to work with specific photos it would be helpful to copy those in negative onto transparent sheets so that they can be used as negatives. Therefore it can also be helpful to bring prints of photos one would like to work with.
To work with photos taken during the workshop, it is possible to use either a digital or a smartphone camera. Therefore, it would be helpful to bring either a camera or a phone with a camera, cables, adapters and USB-sticks to make sure the photos can be printed immediately. Negative prints and copies can be made in copy shops close to the university. This is a possibility and not a necessity to follow the course. It is also possible to work without photos but to use drawings and/or photograms as the main technique. If participants want to make photograms it would be good if they bring a selection of interesting objects.
Also, bringing strong absorbent paper (like the one used for watercolouring) would be helpful.
Jenny Claire Heck is a Berlin-based artist of German and English origin. She studied Art Therapies in the Netherlands and Fine Arts and English at Berlin University of the Arts and Freie Universität Berlin. She graduated as a Meisterschülerin in Fine Arts in February 2017 and is now teaching first-year students at the UdK Berlin. Her artistic work is based on varied techniques with a strong interest in a combination of photographic techniques, drawing, and painting. During her studies, she developed a broad knowledge of the cyanotype technique and wrote her Bachelor thesis on the work of Anna Atkins. For her finals in Fine Arts, she created a piece of work consisting of 333 cyanotype prints adding up to an expanse of 2,5 by 6,3 meters.