Digital faux Cyanotypes – playing what-if

Image copyright 2012/2022 Douglas Stockdale

While I continue to tweak my cyanotype printing process concurrent with the overcast and rainy days we are having now in Southern California for the coming week (non-solar printing conditions!), I have time to consider how I want to proceed.

Although a digital faux cyanotype is not meant to be an exact rendition of what a resulting cyanotype will look like, I have been adding a Color Balance Layer in Photoshop to my black and white images to help evaluate the possibilities. A black and white conversion is one step closer to what the cyanotype might look like, while the next step addition of the blue color just seems to work better for my pre-visualization process. The only visual issue I seem to be having is selecting the proper combination of cyan and blue in the Color Balance Layer to approximate my cyanotype colors. LoL

Nevertheless, I find creating a digital faux cyanotype to move one step closer to making decisions on what to print using a cyanotype process. While considering my cyanotype printing in 2023, one question is what subjects to print? The seascapes that I have photographed over the years, such as Sea Palm I, are maybe a bit of a potential cliche regarding the use of an ocean blue, while potential giving these a contemporary look. So far I am pretty happy how these potential cyanotypes are proceeding, so that will be one aspect for my artistic practice in 2023.

The other that I have recently been evaluating is the concept of a “Picasso” psychological blue tint to those photographs that have a melancholy undertone, such as the photographs from my recent artist book, The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow. And of course, for photographers we quickly learn about the blue values found the shadows which creates another layering of these potential meaning, such as the ending photograph in the artist book, above. As I evaluate the faux cyanotypes for the images in this artist book, I find myself wondering how might this book have turned out if I started printing cyanotypes before I finished the Development of this project?

Such as the faux cyanotype above, a combination of someone representing me, as well as an ‘every-man/every-person’ who has found themselves needing to travel due to business or other personal events and this occasion is not bringing any joy into their lives. What I continue to find appealing in this image is the resigned appearance of the person in the foreground in the context of the horizon dark and threatening horizon in the distance, adding to the melancholy and pensive mood of the moment. What does the future hold for us?

It will be interesting to see what the final cyanotypes look like as I print these photographs from this project. I will have to say that the digital faux cyanotypes resonate with my ‘blue mood’ as I think about how I was feeling at the time that I was creating these photographs. So, maybe another what-if is to print cyanotypes of The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow in small editions (five or ten?) to sell in conjunction with this artist book; another special edition book + print combination?

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



 The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, Fall 2022 release, $60.00 (CA sales tax for those residing in the USA) plus shipping expenses. Message me or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Note: The Artist Special Edition (book + extra print) is Sold Out

Book workshop:

Southeast Center for Photography (SEC4P): Creative PhotoBook workshop, (Sold Out) a virtual event on Zoom; February 25, 26 & March 4 & 5th 2023; from 10am – 1 pm, EST (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). 


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