Developing Glass Plate Negatives From a 120-Year-Old Time Capsule

This video will most likely get you scouring your basement or attic for something as cool as 120-year-old glass plate negatives!

We’ve known Mathieu Stern to share some of the coolest and craziest photography stuff out there, but we have to admit we weren’t quite prepared for his latest find. In a video included in his blog post, the Paris-based photographer and filmmaker documented the Cyanotype developing process he did to create some beautiful prints of the 120-year-old glass plate negatives he found in his old family home. If you’re interested in alternative developing printmaking processes, or simply in the mood for a cool story, we suggest you check it out!

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The Cyanotype Project 2.0 Aims to Teach You How to Make 10-Foot Cyanotype Prints

Image by Joseph J. McAllister from Cyanotype Project v2.0 on Kickstarter

Been itching to learn how to make cyanotype images? Sure, YouTube holds plenty of learning resources for you. We even shared a tutorial that can help you learn the ropes of this traditional process right in the comfort of your own home. But what if you want to go up one level and make big prints?

Photographer Joseph J. McAllister, who specializes in alternative photography processes such as wet plate collodion and cyanotypes, has you covered. Through a Cyanotype Project v2.0 which he aims to get funded through Kickstarter, Joseph plans to run an extensive masterclass on how to print large scale photographic images through the cyanotype process. And by large scale, he means 10-foot prints, which he believes is the perfect size for gallery displays.

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Make Cyanotype Prints at Home with this Easy Tutorial

Feeling experimental with your images today? You might want to play around with making cyanotype prints, one of the oldest forms of photography which dates all the way back to the 1840s. It’s a really fascinating alternative printing method that produces a beautiful blue image from which it gets its name. The process is actually easy enough for you to try at home.

On a more technical note, cyanotype is a UV light-sensitive photographic process, which means you’ll have to do your exposures in full sunlight or with the help of a UV light box. You also need to prepare your materials in a darkroom or a dimly lit room. Making the exposure is actually as simple as putting an object over a taking medium coated with the UV-sensitive cyanotype chemicals. How long you should expose it depends on the intensity of the sunlight you’re working with.

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Pixel Types: Cyanotypes Created from a Game Boy Camera

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Chin

All images by Ty Madey. Used with permission.

“Pixel Types is a cross section of childhood nostalgia and novelty. I combine my love for the Nintendo Game Boy with one of my current, neophilic passions: Photography.” says Ty Madey in his artist statement for this fascinating project. In a nutshell, the series uses a Game Boy Camera to take photo, enlarge them and ultimately turn them into cyanotype photographs.

Ty Madey is graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2016 with a B.A. in Communication Arts and certificates in Studio Art and Digital Studies. To him, this project was a combination of his love of the stuff from his childhood with his own exploration of art and photography through his studies in college.

“The Game Boy Camera renders extremely pixelated and monotonous images thanks to its 0.1-mexapixel sensor that only has 4 color channels (black, white, and two shades of grey).” the artist statement continues to say. “The result is a deconstruction of each image into a more pure aesthetic form with the individual pixels being highlighted. By combining this look with the cyanotype process, the final product is an examination of the building blocks of the photograph instead of its subject.”

For Ty, the process has been all about portraiture so far.

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Check Out the History of Photographic Processes with These Videos

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The advent of 35mm photography largely simplified the picture-taking process, and cameras become far more affordable and accessible. Before this, however, the process was much slower, more intricate, and greater technical knowledge was necessary to get the result. The history of photography, both as an art form and a technical process, is, in a word, fascinating.

Thankfully, the George Eastman House has put together a beautiful series of videos about photographic processes well before the advent of 35mm photography. The 12-chapter series explores the Daguerreotype, Talbot’s processes, the cyanotype, the collodion, albumen printing, platinum printing, pigment processes, the Woodburytype, the gelatin silver process, color photography and digital photography. Each episode is around five minutes long for easy viewing.

Take a dive with the first video embedded below.

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