This is a cyanotype, an archaic form of photography invented in early Victorian times by Sir John Herschel which results in a blue image. The original is a charcoal and carbon drawing onto marbled paper, done in the field at the enigmatic ancient burial tomb of Pentre Ifan in the Presceli Mountains in Pembrokeshire, Wales. This striking Neolithic dolmen is almost 6 thousand years old. It is a lasting reminder of Celtic ancestors and the site is inspirational. I worked quickly in the late afternoon Autumn sunshine to catch it before the sun went down.
I turned the original drawing into a negative and coated a sheet of Bockingford paper with the cyanotype chemicals. I put the negative onto the paper and put a sheet of glass over it. I exposed it for three hours in the weak Autumn daylight, as the Victorians would have done. It was then washed in cold water to develop it.
Although the negative can be re-used, the final cyanotype will be unique because of the variations in the strength of the hand-mixed chemicals and differences in applying the chemicals to the paper with a brush. It is therefore a monoprint.
Cyanotype onto Bockingford paper