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Cyanotype

Cyanotype is one of the oldest monochrome processes that do not use silver salts.

It is based on the reaction of iron salts to light, and it is a relatively quick, simple, and low-cost approach. A solution of ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide is applied onto the paper, which is then allowed to dry in a dark place. The print is exposed by contact under the negative. About fifteen minutes of exposure to natural light changes the composition of the iron salts. The paper is then rinsed with water to dissolve the unexposed iron salts, and dried. The characteristic Prussian blue pigment is formed during the drying process.

Although invented in 1842 by English scientist John Frederick Herschel, the process did not achieve success until later: its deep, intense blue and pictorial results did not appeal to photographers at the time, who were seeking a more realistic look.

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