Eucalyptus in Morning Light 1 Photograph by Christine So

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Eucalyptus in Morning Light 1

Christine So

United States

Photography

Size: 18 W x 24 H x 0.1 D in

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Art Description

Photography: Photogram on Paper.

Photography: Cyanotype on Paper.

For a period of about two years when I was a child my vision gradually worsened to where I could no longer see the leaves on trees. By the time I was 10 years old, it was clear that I needed glasses.

I remember walking out of the optometrist’s with my new glasses and the most amazing thing that caught my eye was the fact that there were thousands of separate leaves on trees, each one shivering in the breeze and glowing in the sunlight. I don’t know how many years it had been since I had seen that.

To this day, the sight of the sun glowing behind leaves to me is still one of the most beautiful sights. It is arresting. It reminds me that our eyesight is a gift, good health is not guaranteed nor is the time we have alive to enjoy such simple pleasures.

This childhood experience may explain the recurring theme in my paintings and prints of light shining through leaves or the outline of each leaf on a single branch of a tree.

Original cyanotype made with living plants. There are no other editions of each print as each image was composed laying the plants by hand and they have long since withered.

A cyanotype is a unique print made using a photographic process from the 1850s in which iron salts on paper react with sunlight resulting in a photogram or sunprint. Sun and water are the developers. Objects must be placed directly onto the chemically treated paper where their shadows or semi transparency create the image.

Each exposure happens in sunlight and the result once the print is washed and developed is a bit magical and hard to fully predict. That element of surprise each and every time is what attracts me to the process. Timing is everything. It’s printmaking without a printing press. It’s photography without a camera. Cyanotypes are like a cross between printmaking and x-rays.

Cyanotypes can be made once the light-sensitive chemicals are dry on the paper, or alternatively, exposed to light while the chemicals are still wet, resulting in a more liquid blurry effect. Objects can be taken away or added during exposure time to create different shades of blue. Other agents can be added to alter the traditional cyan blue image as well.


Subjects:

Tree

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Materials:

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