super-sized seaweed cyanotype

super-sized seaweed cyanotype

I have been experimenting with how large I can go with my cyanotype prints in preparation for an exhibit in September. I am limited by my set-up, which includes four uv lights, two heavy pieces of toughened glass in which to sandwich the paper and negative during exposure, and a modestly sized bath tub that I wash the prints in. The largest single print I can make is approximately 60cm (24″).

This photograph of bladderwrack seaweed, taken on the west coast of Wales last summer, has so much detail and texture in it that I knew it could work at a large scale. I hit upon the idea of printing 24 separate squares that fit together to create a larger whole. The complete print is 115 x 75cm/ 45 x 30″ (see my toes for scale!).

Because this is a hand-printing process, the colour and exposure of each square varies slightly and the joins between them do not align perfectly, giving a more painterly effect. I am enjoying taking yet another step away from the perfection of digital printing.

I will be hard at work on more large and small prints for my Artwave show in September, more details to follow soon. I am also pushing on with the design of my hand-bound book of cyanotype landscapes of the sea and shoreline.

If you would like information about pre-ordering my book please get in touch. All my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Information about purchasing my prints and books can be found here.

shelter from the storm

Shelter from the storm

I have been hard at work planning my book of hand-printed cyanotypes that explore that restless space between land and sea. It will be published as a hand-bound, limited-edition book and will be available at my Artwave exhibit in September or by pre-ordering. I will have more details to share with you soon.

My photo this week is taken from my new book. This image was one of the first cyanotypes I worked on when I began experimenting with this new medium last year.

Although the photograph was taken in the aftermath of a fierce winter storm, and huge waves were still crashing on the far side of the breakwater, the sheltering arm of the pier protected the safety of the harbour. There is something about this image that I find deeply reassuring. I have had it on my office wall since I first printed it.

If you would like information about pre-ordering my book please get in touch. All my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Information about purchasing my prints and books can be found here.

A tale of two home towns

A tale of two home towns

I came back yesterday from a long-overdue trip to my other home town of Truro, out on the end of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I caught up with family and friends who I have been unable to see for many months because of Covid, and I swam at my favourite beaches – the ones I grew up on.

When it came time to return to Lewes, I took the ferry from neighbouring Provincetown, across Cape Cod Bay to Boston. There were raindrops on the ferry windows and clouds shimmered over the expanse of sea. Leaving by water always feels like the most appropriate way to depart from this peninsula stuck out in the Atlantic.

Travel bans over the past 16 months have heightened my sense of the complexity of being from more than one country. As much as I love and belong in each place, I never lose the connection and longing for the other. Covid restrictions have reminded me of how lucky I am that I can usually travel easily between my two home towns. I know this is a privilege denied to many around the world.

More of my landscape photography can be found here. All my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Please get in touch for more information, and also if you have a workplace, an event, a celebration, a portrait or a building project you would like to have photographed.

Stormy cyanotype seas

Stormy cyanotype seas

As the days brighten and lengthen, I have had renewed energy to focus on new projects, so I am pushing ahead with my book of sea and shore cyanotypes. My ideas are finally crystallising around how the book will work. I will keep you posted on how it goes and when it will become available.

Making cyanotypes is a rather lengthy process. Printing out my negatives onto acetate film takes about half an hour each. I make a contact print by placing the acetate over paper that I have coated with cyanotype solution which is then exposed to ultraviolet light for around 40 minutes. After the print has been washed in water, I leave it to dry in sunlight, which helps to deepen and enrich the tones.

This print is one of my favourites. It feels to me like it comes from another era, although it was taken 18 months ago just down the road in the industrial setting of Newhaven harbour. The ominous force of that wave against the pier brings to my mind seafaring exploits of past centuries, and the terrible storms and deadly shipwrecks associated with them.

All my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Get in touch for more information. You can find more of my cyanotypes here, and my book of Lewes Bonfire cyanotypes here.

Please get in touch if you have a workplace, an event, a celebration, a portrait or a building project you would like to have photographed.

Extending the hand of friendship

Extending the hand of friendship

We have finally had truly cold weather in Lewes and a light dusting of snow that has changed the contours of the hills and highlighted the furrows of the ploughed fields. The first day it snowed, it began while I was out walking, and the higher I got on the Downs the more there was of it. I came onto an exposed sweep of land and there, in the middle of it, was a bouquet of roses scattered on the ground. The pale yellow of the blooms and their green leaves were a startling sight, surrounded as they were by a monochromatic landscape of white snow, grey sky and dark shrubs.

I learned afterwards that yellow roses are a symbol of friendship, though there was no indication of why they had been left in this isolated spot.

A friend suggested that perhaps they had been placed here as a caring message, reaching out to whoever came across them.

I like that idea. Friendship in its many forms is something we all need during this time of isolation and social distance.

You can find more of my landscape photographs here.

Where land meets sea

Where land meets sea

I have to admit that work is a tad slower than I would have liked during this third and open-ended lockdown. To keep myself busy, I have been working with my hand-printed cyanotypes again. This shot was taken at sunrise on Cape Cod during my visit last October.

I am making plans for two more cyanotype books. (My first one, about Lewes Bonfire, can be found here). One book will be photographs of the sea – mostly stormy.

The other will be photos of the plants, sand and rocks to be found where land meets sea. I will be binding them myself as limited editions. I am still working on exactly how I will do this – I’ll keep you posted! More of my cyanotypes are here.

Please get in touch if you have a workplace, an event, a celebration, a portrait or a building project you would like to have photographed.

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