Cyanotypes with Kathy Kinakin

Kathy Kinakin taking large format photographs, Stanley, BC, 2008.

Kathy Kinakin making large format photographs, Stanley, BC, 2008.

I first met Kathy Kinakin when she walked into our gallery about seven years ago with a Brownie camera in a leather case. It didn’t take long for our conversation about photography to cement a friendship we have enjoyed since that day. Kathy works at Beau Photo in Vancouver, BC, one of the best camera stores anywhere, and knows a lot about a very wide range of photographic techniques, as well as professional gear. Here she is demonstrating an emulsion lift with impossible project film – very cool!

Kathy has also participated in the Seven Summits here in Wells, and has given me pointers on how to handle my mountain bike on the trails around Wells. She is a lot of fun to ride with 😉

Kathy riding back to Wells from the Valley Mountain trail.

Kathy riding back to Wells from the Valley Mountain trail.

In August, Kathy offered a workshop on historic photographic processes at Amazing Space here in Wells. I was late getting the word out, and those who had wanted to attend could not get off work, so there was just me and Kathy – lucky me!

I’ve used low tech, less toxic screen printing methods for many years, such as sunlight photostencil exposures. The sun is the ultimate point light source and works even in the winter; it just takes longer to “burn” the stencil image, e.g. 40 minutes in January.

Sunlight photostencil exposure, Wells, March, 2014. Glass clamped on top of film positive, sensitized screen, foam, & a plywood board.

Sunlight silkscreen photostencil exposure, Wells, March, 2014. Glass clamped on top of film positive, sensitized screen, foam, & a plywood board.

As a result, I was interested to see how Kathy would also use sunlight to expose cyanotypes and Van Dyke images. Her first step was to coat several sheets of paper with those compounds, then let them dry; all done in a dark place. When ready, we used my screen setup, except this time there was just paper and a reversed film negative under the glass, snugged flush to the paper supported by foam. And we used bricks instead of a clamp to weight the glass.

Cyanotype exposure in sunlight.

Cyanotype exposure in sunlight.

Exposing a cyanotype photogram with fireweed and a Van Dyke image with a film negative, both in sunlight.

Exposing a cyanotype photogram with fireweed and a Van Dyke image with a film negative, both in sunlight.

Here’s how Kathy’s old photo of the Good Eats building turned out:

Good Eats, Van Dyke print © Kathy Kinakin.

Good Eats, Van Dyke print © Kathy Kinakin.

And here’s one of her plant photograms; Van Dyke process:

Wildflower photogram, Van Dkye print © Kathy Kinakin.

Wildflower photogram, Van Dkye print © Kathy Kinakin.

Beautiful! To give an idea of the progression of images, here’s a black & white image of mine that I took of black spruce up north:

Photograph of swamp spruce, converted to greyscale from RGB using adjustment layers, then flattened.

Photograph of swamp spruce, converted to greyscale from RGB using adjustment layers, reversed, and flattened.

Here is the film negative image:

Swamp spruce film negative image, not yet reversed.

Swamp spruce film negative image.

And here is a cyanotype print of the spruce, still wet from its rinse in water, resting on a silkscreen with another print:

Rinsing two cyanotypes on a silkscreen for support; buckled paper flattened after drying by placing in a heat transfer press for 15 seconds.

Rinsing two cyanotypes on a silkscreen for support; the buckled paper flattened perfectly after drying by placing in a heat transfer press for 15 seconds.

Northern spruce cyanotype © Bill Horne

Dried and flattened: Northern spruce cyanotype © Bill Horne

Fireweed cyanotype © Bill Horne, dried and flattened.

Fireweed cyanotype © Bill Horne, dried and flattened.

I learned a lot from Kathy and it was a pleasure to have her visit. She even helped grind wheat for Claire’s home made bread, and split a massive pile of firewood! Thanks so much!

Kathy wields the splitting maul. One whack did it!

Kathy wields the splitting maul. One whack split this round of dead pine!

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