A Historical Process, but with a Modern Twist; Tina Rowe Discusses her Smartphone to Cyanotype Workshop

Cyanotype – one of the earliest C19th forms of photography. Simple, cost effective, three basic ingredients…

Smartphone – pioneer of modern day engineering. Highly complex, expensive, forerunner from Silicone Valley…

…the two could not be any further apart on a scale of technology. Yet, after yet another successful workshop, Tina Rowe talks about the marrying up of both the smartphone and cyanotype process to create some truly eye-popping images.

I made my first prints from my phone when I was on a residency in Estonia. Part of the residency was delivering a workshop on making cyanotypes. I needed to find a way for people to provide me with negatives in a place where very few people had photoshop or photoshop express and I realised that I could edit images in my phone, save them to the cloud and print from there. It was a no brainer really as there was an editing app on my phone, wifi just about every where. What started as a simple solution to getting content for a workshop became a workshop all of its own.

I am a big believer in finding the line of least resistance, which is one of the reasons why I shy away from complex curves and all the other grown up stuff many alt photographers swear by. I’m not interested in producing something close to the original, I see the original as a thing to riff off and the tools that I use as an integral part of the process.

The workshop is intended as a starting point. As a means to expand thinking about what you are actually doing with the images you collect. The fact that the chemistry has only one colour is in itself interesting as it can mean an image that is captivating in all it’s coloured pixels ends up as a dull and muddy thing and something you might have thought of as an inconsequential shutter click becomes incredibly interesting.

 

The below images are from Craig MacKenzie, who attended Tina’s most recent workshop back in mid October.

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