THE CYANOTYPE PROCESS

"I had to find a way to represent the oscillation of light,
the respiratory movement of contraction between the visible and the invisible."

The making of my cyanotype prints is similar to the construction of a zen garden… Plans, meditation and patience are required, it’s a search for harmony through volumes and forms.

A delicate model made up of various elements like stones, branches, sand, dirt, but also hand-drawings, folded pieces of paper and transparent volumes is assembled carefully on the light sensitive surface of the paper. Only the shadows and inverted light will imprint the paper and leave a trace of this transient garden. A spectral construction sometimes hazy, sometimes radical is then made, this will be the only trace of the meticulous work accomplished.

This process can also be related to the construction of a sand mandala. A patient and fine-grained artwork which, at the end, will be swept away. The only difference here, is that a residual figure will last on the paper. A design made of light and shadow, a subtle blueprint of an ephemeral construction, the message of the invisible passage of time through light forms.

modern cyanotype process under UV exposure

As the cyanotype is a handmade process, all prints are indeed unique and cannot be perfectly replicated. In my abstract photograms I use handmade compositions on translucent paper and various objects placed on the sensitive paper. This chosen constraint ensures that every composition is truly original. It is a one-shot procedure despite a great number of attempts and failures…

I like to think that cyanotype is, in its own way, “alive”. After the wet development, the print continues to slowly evolve for a period of time, this makes it change drastically. As the shades of blue are evolving, the paper reshapes itself, some details tend to disappear while others arise from empty spaces. It is always a great surprise to experience the evolution of a cyanotype craft.

At the end, nothing is really perfect, speckles, shifts of colors, alteration of the paper and other unexpected changes happen, they are part of the completed artwork, as a Japanese ceramic Raku piece, which will always be unpredictable once out of the furnace.

modern cyanotype process during UV light exposure

Cyanotype is like an alchemical process.

The invisible light reveals an inverted reality hidden in its materiality, the many water development baths are making the transmutation occur, and finally light, time, and fine crafting reveal something rarely expected but which always provides happiness and pride.