Night’s Cyan Theater

“This world was realized in the cyanotypes, or blue photographs, of the nineteenth century—cyan means blue, though I always thought the term referred to the cyanide with which the prints were made. In the cyanotypes you arrive in this world where darkness and light are blue and white, where bridges and people and apples are blue as lakes, as though everything were seen through the melancholy atmosphere that here is cyanide.”
-Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
The depth of the color blue and its enchanting usage in photography as cyanotypes can make you fall in love with the nostalgically melancholic note of the both(image source: Cult of Mac-Cyanotype Photography )

Here’s a self-composition I imagine in a cyanotype rendition:

So I found myself drowning
in a stream of filtering moonlight
With leaves rustling somewhere overhead
And the woods rustled with them
Around me, and out of sight.

Floating on the light
Trapped inside night’s melody
with an undertone of sharp octaves
Matching a frightened pulse
A cyanotype of captured tragedy.

I saw a deer from behind my eyelids
Looking at me from a curtain of ferns
Two orbs of innocence glaring
In my direction in night’s ephemeral theater

With me standing underneath the light
When the seats in front of me are deserted
Helpless, I can’t see beyond
Even though out of dark’s reach I am riveted.

“One of Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes”(source:Vox Books)
“British Algae: A page from Atkins’ book of cyanotypes.”


About Anna Atkins and Cyanotypes:
“Anna Atkins  was an English botanist and photographer. She is often considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. Sir John Herschel, a friend of Atkins and Children, invented the cyanotype(a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print) photographic process in 1842. Within a year, Atkins applied the process to algae (specifically, seaweed) by making cyanotype photograms that were contact printed by placing the unmounted dried-algae original directly on the cyanotype paper.”

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