Storm in a bathtub

Storm in a bathtub

I thought I would share with you part of my process of printing cyanotypes by hand. Currently this is the largest individual print (40 x 60cm) that I can make, the dimensions limited by the size of my bathtub.

Cyanotypes do not need a traditional darkroom since they are photosensitive to ultraviolet light only and need just plain water to fix and wash them, instead of traditional chemical fixers. This means that I can expose my prints in a darkish room with electric uv lights and wash them with tap water in my bathtub.

For the show that I am installing on Monday, I have been focussing on the more abstract elements of my cyanotype landscapes: the spray of storm waves that are both soft and ominous, the viscous reflectiveness of water ripples, the slipperiness of wet seaweed, the rhythm of wind-blown beach grass.

My show will be up from 4-25 April at Tigermoth Coffee Bar (opening hours Monday to Friday 9-2, Saturday 10-3).

I hope you can stop by if you are in the area. Be sure to get one of their delicious coffees while you are there.

Sailing Ship Moccasin at Long Point Lighthouse

Sailing Ship Moccasin at Long Point Lighthouse

I have recently been back to Cape Cod for family visits and responsibilities. While I was there, we spent the day on this beautiful wooden boat that belongs to my son’s friend. He has lovingly restored it and has sailed it up and down the coast from Maryland to Cape Cod.

We set out with our picnic on a warm October day, heading across the harbour to Long Point, the spit of sand that forms the very tip of Cape Cod.

One of the aims of the sail, apart from having a lovely day out, was to get some good photos of the boat. I had an idea of trying to recreate Edward Hopper’s iconic painting The Long Leg. The problem with this plan was that the direction of the sunlight was wrong (it was in front of us, instead of shining across from the left), the wind was wrong (there was very little of it), and we were at a different lighthouse (the one in the painting is a few miles further along the back shore).

So, instead of The Long Leg version 2, here is Sailing Ship Moccasin at Long Point Lighthouse.

Long Point at low tide is a favourite sunbathing spot for seals. We found around 50 of them basking in the sun as we sailed past. If you take a look here, you can see them in the second photo in the gallery.

With Lewes Bonfire coming up next week, don’t forget that my book of Bonfire Portraits is still available to buy. You can find out more about it here.

I am still hard at work binding more copies of my latest book sea shore. It is a collection of 29 of my landscape cyanotypes and two poems written by Sara London. If you are interested in buying a copy, you can order directly from my website.

All my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Information about purchasing my prints and all of my photography books can be found here.

From sea to shore and up into the dunes

From sea to shore and up into the dunes

I realised that the only cyanotypes from my new book that I have blogged about so far have been of the sea. As the book is called sea shore I thought I should post one of the shore. In fact, this is the last image in the book.

I think of sea shore as the visual story of a journey. It begins in stormy seas, travels to calm, shallow water, and eventually ends up in the dunes. The trip is punctuated by two beautiful poems written by poet Sara London.

One aspect of this project that I have particularly enjoyed is the bringing together of imagery collected over the years from many times and places. The locations are not the important factor for me, though. It is about the universality of sea and coast, not the specifics of place. I photographed these sand dunes on the coast of Belgium seven years ago, but it could be any sandy coastline swept by wind and water.

Sea shore is a collection of 29 cyanotypes and two poems in a signed and numbered first edition. If you are interested in buying a copy, you can now pre-order directly from here. I am currently hand binding the books and delivery will start after 14.09.2021.

If you are in Lewes in September, I hope you can come see my Artwave show. It is venue 91, St Anne’s House, 111 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XY (across the street from Shelley’s).

I will be showing again this year with artist Kelly Hall. We will be open the 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26 September, 11am-5pm. We will have original artwork, signed prints, artist books and greeting cards available to buy.

Don’t forget that all my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Information about purchasing my prints and books can be found here.

New book of cyanotype landscapes coming soon

New book of cyanotype landscapes coming soon

I am very pleased to announce that my new book sea shore will be ready in time for my Artwave show in September. The first edition of 100 copies will be printed over the next week and then I will begin the process of hand binding them all. The book is a collection of 29 cyanotypes of sea and shoreline landscapes, with two poems written specifically for this project by American poet Sara London.

My photo this week is the image on the cover of the book. This curved wave was photographed in Newhaven during a winter storm. The unusual shape came, I think, from the force of the wave rebounding against the arm of the breakwater and circling back into the harbour.

I headed to the coast early in the morning the day after the worst of the storm. The wind was still fierce but the sky was clear. Low sunlight skimmed across the water, highlighting every ridge and wrinkle on the wind-whipped surface and catching in the white spray of the waves.

In my Artwave exhibit I will be showing the original hand-printed cyanotypes used for sea shore, several of them printed as large, multi-panelled prints, as well as having the book itself available to buy. I have also been working with architectural imagery, creating cyanotypes from some of my recent projects, including Brighton’s Madeira Terrace and the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange.

I will be exhibiting with the painter Kelly Hall again this year. Our show will be open over the last three weekends in September at St Anne’s House, 111 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XY.

Information about pre-ordering sea shore is here. All my hand-printed cyanotypes are available to buy. Information about purchasing my prints and books can be found here. Please contact me if you have a workplace, an event, a celebration, a portrait or a building project you would like to have photographed.

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.

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.

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