Brendan Gara Photography

Deeper, Bluer, Sharkier

Viet shark 1 scansmall

Shark, Nha Trang, Vietnam

No posts for a while as I’ve been busy on a couple of new projects that are linked to my increasing annoyance with the modern world. For a while now I’ve started to feel that the whole taking photographs and then releasing them into the ether over the interweb isn’t doing it for me anymore. I want to have something physical to hold.

I’ve tried salt printing before, but have never been happy with the density or colour of the print, so this time I tried cyanotypes. These use a photosensitive form of iron, that once applied to the paper and dried, creates a positive image after UV exposure.

It’s sunny at the moment so rather than waste it, I’ve been exposing the paper in the afternoons. I like the slowness of the process: I have to wait till it’s dark to coat the paper and let it dry overnight, then expose it when it’s sunny, and then wait for it to develop properly before judging whether the exposure is right. It can take a week to get near to a print I’m happy with it.  Plenty of time to mull decisions over whilst they are hanging up to dry.

And then there are different weights and types of papers. You could go mad reading the internet advice on it: Arches what? Fabriano NOT what? HP? Bristol Board?

In the end I bought a few different pads from the local art shop and tried them all. My preferred so far is Daler & Rowney 300g smooth: it’s cheap, white, super smooth and doesn’t turn pink when you try and tone the prints with tea or tannic acid. See there’s another variable to test.

I’ve almost got a pure black tone which is perfect for the other project that I started a couple of months ago, but I like the natural iron blue print on the sea works. I’ll post some more as I work on them.

This is what the drying room, sorry bathroom looks like now!

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