Toning My Blues

Firsts are always important, isn’t it? – the first morsel of food, the first word, the first step, the first day at school, the first kiss and that oh-so-important first love.

And so it is with this – this first print of mine. What started off as a few strokes of the brush and a skip and jump into the sunlight to lay out the print on a bamboo modha has become quite an experience for me.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t really happy with the detail being overshadowed by my blues. Especially in the corners. With my original teacher off for a shoot, I turned to the Cyanotype expert at the residency – that pretty Tinker-Belle from Pune. I was promptly led back to the darkroom and told to “tone” my picture.

Now to be honest (and at the cost of going public about my shameful illiteracy regarding photographic processes such as these), I had always thought that “toning” was something you did when you were developing a picture – and so for me, this print was already a lost cause. The idea that I could actually dip a “photograph” once developed and dried into a solution of potassium dichromate, followed by a  holy dip in a trough of tap water, only to be further en-browned by a solution of Haritaki boiled in tap water (yes Arpan, I used the method, yay!) was really not something that I had ever imagined.

And well, the result is here for you to see.

First Cyanotype with Haritaki (2)

I love the way the detail on the left has emerged – you can even make out the outline of another pair of legs in the background and the lampshade!

Just the way I wanted it. With a Doctor and a Tinker-Belle at hand, it was only a matter of time till I could infuse the warmth in the image that I had wanted – right from the start.
I do miss the Blue – but one can only miss the blues so much.

It’s the warmth we all finally seek… and which I finally seem to have found.

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