Yesterday the entire day was occupied by toning all my cynotype prints.
Toning has always been essential with Cyanotypes as the overpowering blue may not work with all the images. I also read references of old family albums actually being toned Cyanotypes in certain parts of the world.
For me the charm of the Cyanotype process is the flexibility that it offers. I experimented with Tea, Coffee and Haritaki toning. You have to bleach the dried print before any of these toning processes. The sequence of bleaching and toning, the amount of time you immerse the print in each solution, whether you wash the print thoroughly between the two or not; all these factors change drastically the final tone of your print. I decided to try various permutation and combinations and ended up getting slightly different tones for each of the prints.
Haritaki however turned out to be my most favorite toner for following reasons :
- It is completely natural and used by traditional Indian craftsmen as a fabric dye.
- It almost does not stain the paper at all as opposed to Tea or Coffee.
- It brings out this rich coffee warm brown
- It’s much faster in comparison to any other tonner. Tea takes at least an hour to tone while Haritaki tones the same print in close to 15 minutes.
And most importantly, Arpan Mukherjee who visited the center recently came up with this technique himself so this addition is quite a find for the world of Alternative photography.