Cyanotype workshop by Siddharth Kaneria at The Project Cafe, Ahmedabad

Cyanotype is an old monochrome photographic printing process which gives a cyan-blue print. Originated in the 1840’s, it was not utilized in mainstream photography and was adopted as a copying technique, becoming known by the term “blueprint”. To begin the process, two solutions are prepared for the two-part sensitizing process — Potassium Ferricyanide and Ferric Ammonium Citrate (green). Too much potassium ferricyanide in the solution will lower printing speed, too little may cause the blue color to bleed into the lighter areas. Basically equal volumes of the two solutions are used. Solutions can be stored for several months in amber glass bottles.

Siddharth Kaneria, graduate in Interior design, with a professional experience of over 5 years in communication design. But he is passionate about photography more than anything, quietly creating a treasure of images for the last 8+ years. With the digital age ushering in a greater need for visual content, Siddharth have heart for vintage cameras and the technique they use. He have collected around 300 cameras so far mix of old which belongs to golden era and some new ages. He had many other successful exhibitions till time but I come across an exhibition of photography titled “The Tower Man”, at The Project cafe, Ahmedabad last Sunday on June 16th. The pendulum clock is one of the most recognizable types of clocks. Many consider it to be a classic or antique timekeeping device. The Tower Man is a story of a curious white clothes, big mustache under the hat man who fascinates pendulum clock.

 READ MORE ABOUT SIDDHARTH KANERIA HERE.

PHOTOGRAPHY, THE GAME CHANGER!

ART never gets boring. No matter how old it is, art never dies. Certainly it will find a way to come back. The images tell stories. One photograph is powerful enough to not only remind you of that moment, but can bring you right back to the feelings, sounds, and even smells of the moment. But, in the modern times (the digital age), smart phones taking forward the revolution that digitalization brought about to photography where you get the liberty to click photos from your mobile phones. A 12MP to 24MP inbuilt camera, an f/2.2 lens, and optical image stabilization. But, the old classic charm will always be missing. Smart phone photography is actually an experiment that served its purpose. Photography has become more than a passion or a profession; it’s a habit. Clicking random pictures just for the sake to post it on social media and to let the world know what is happening in your life. Old-timers recall the days of the film roll, the prohibitive costs of the film, developing the negative and printing the image meant each frame was shot after much deliberation on composition and exposure. Glad! The generation Y are passing the importance of photography to the younger generations.

These are few collections of cameras exhibit by Siddharth Kaneria at The Project Cafe:

Twin Flex Reflex Yashica A

My dad still owns Yashica Electro 35 Rangefinder Camera. Bought by him in mid-70’s maybe. Surprisingly, it is still works fine. When I was a kid, my dad always found time from his busy work schedule to shoot me. I have more than six to seven hundred photos I guess. Well, fairly enough to say that I inherited photography skills from him. Still I am way more amateur. Lack of focus. Perception sometimes. Patience. But yes, I am still learning. Curious gemini twin always want to jump into other things before mastering few things.

BACK TO BASICS! – CYANOTYPE

The Cyanotype, which is also known as ferroprussiate or blueprint was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842, when he discovered that ferric (iron) salts could be reduced to a ferrous state by light and then combined with other salts to create a blue-and-white image. Not long after, Anna Atkins, one of the few women in photography during that century, published the first book with photographs instead of illustrations, “British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions”

The cyanotype process has a long exposure scale, so the best cyanotype prints are made when you use a negative with a wide density range. You can take a print copy of negatives on OHP (Over Head Projector) transparent sheet. The cyanotype emulsion is sensitive to ultraviolet light. Therefore either direct sunlight or another UV light source must be used for exposure.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. 4 grams of Potassium Ferricyanide (Solution A) and 10 grams of Ferric Ammonium Citrate (Solution B) in a powder base.
  2. 100 ml water (make two parts – 50 ml each in a containers).
  3. ^Pair of a rubber hand gloves.
  4. Paper or fabric where you need to get the print done.
  5. **Negatives printed on OHP transparent sheets.
  6. Brush or big tins to soak the paper / fabric.
  7. Tap water facility or big tins filled with water to wash the prints.
  8. Sunlight or UV light box.

**Making a digital negative: 
1) editing your image in Photoshop to make it look exactly like you want it to print as a final wet process contact print. An image resolution of 240-360 pixels per inch (p.p.i.) works for most printers.
2) preparing your image with the proper contrast via Curves.
3) Inverting the image so it prints as a negative instead of a positive.
4) printing the negative on clear transparency material (OHP/Butter paper).

^Please Note: No matter how good you are with chemicals, please put your gloves on while doing this. I don’t know why Siddharth Sir forgot to mention this, but yes, it is important. 

Mix Stock Solutions: Dissolve the chemicals in water to make two separate solutions. Add ‘solution A’ into one container with 50 ml water and ‘solution B’ into another with 50 ml water. Stir with plastic spoon until chemicals dissolves.

Surface / Work Area: Choose to work on floor or table, but make sure to cover the arae before you start to work because it can be stained. In case it stained, it will fade-away naturally taking a few days to a few weeks (still not worth a risk! I am still dealing with removing stains from my cloth and bag 😦

Preparing the sheets: Take any paper you want (we used 220 gsm drawing paper) or you can use raw cotton fabric. Soak paper or fabric in a tray of combined solutions or apply with a brush. Be sure to make some test strips for later use in testing exposure times.

Dry coated material: Dry away from light. A clothesline can be hung over an old tub or layers of newspapers to catch drips. A hair drier or fan can be use for shorten drying time. Dry coating should be bright yellow.

Object: You can use any object you wish to (for a start, you can use leaves) or you can place OHP negative print sheet to develop the image. Place something heavy on leaf to develop the image. While using OHP negative sheet place a transparent glass.

Printing: Cyanotype is a negative process – areas where light does not hit sensitized material will remain white. Contact print by placing negative on your sensitized material. Expose to strong sunlight or UV light until the high values are a little too dark and the shadows have begun to reverse. You can use test strips to test light to determine best exposure time.

The sun is one of the strongest sources of ultraviolet light but it varies greatly in intensity according to season, time of day, atmospheric conditions, and geographic location.It is possible to print in direct sun or in open shade. It should be noted that with most processes images of greater contrast will result from printing in the shade than with direct sun. Direct sun is of course much faster, under 30-60 seconds if you live in a dry region or experiencing 40+ degree temperature. Make sure don’t place it for too long or else the paper will start to burn.

If you don’t have enough sunlight to print, fluorescent UV light box or HID printing units can be adapted from commonly available commercial units. Lamps of 1000 watts put out a lot of light and give very fast printing times, from 2-4 times as fast as fluorescent tubes. Still it will take around 15-20 mins to develop. (Well the sunlight is always a win-win!).

Washing and Developing: Wash your print for five to seven minutes in running water. Be advised that if you have hard water, then a softening filter may be preferable. The iron salts in hard water can alter the appearance of the print. Be sure to wash for the full five minutes or you risk having your print fade.

Drying: Dry finished print under fan or use cold blow hair dryer. Image will generally appear darker when it is dry.

Change the color: Blue is the basic color of cyanotype. However if you wish to change the color you can use items from your kitchen 🙂 Yes! you read this right. Items from your kitchen such as turmeric – to get pale yellowish effect, dark roast coffee / tea – to get brownish effect, green tea – to get pale greenish effect, red chili – to get redish effect. Soak the dry paper / cloth in water have mix with any dry kitchen ingredients you pick for as long as 15-20 mins or more according to your color you wish to get.

Best thing among all is the memoir – the post card ❤

THE PROJECT CAFE

The Project Cafe stands out as the building is painted yellow. So they refers it as “The Yellow House”. Situated in an old bungalow in Ambawadi area, Ahmedabad, The Project Cafe is a dynamic space merging the three aspects – food, art and retail – where food acts as a mediator to showcase art. The vibe here is different. With all eye-catching furniture, cozy outdoor space under tree, exhibit corners which keep changing – all you wish for is mountain or ocean backdrop to complete.

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT CAFE HERE.

The Project Cafe has been featured in:
– Vogue.in, May 2016
– Design Detail Magazine, May 2016
– Designboom.com, October 2015
– Casa Viva Magazine, October 2015
– Better Interiors Magazine, Aug 2015
– VMRD Magazine, Apr 2015

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I have been here couple of times now. Most of visiting during workshops. Must say, here you will always find unique workshops which makes you fall in love with art more than ever. They pick themes / workshop really in such a way that all ages enjoy. So far I got to try few meals here which is delicious in each bite 🙂 Service takes time here, but that’s all to be here is about. No rush. Spend some more time reading books, take a look around for exhibit items, and appreciate art culture. Also enjoy food!

Valentino Pizza (onions, mushrooms, olives, corns and mozarella cheese)
Classic Burger, Egg and Cheese Sandwich with Cafe Latte and Double Shot Coffee
Cilantro Lemon rice with Bean Salsa Curry and Read Bean Blash Soup

It’s 2019 and if you are not using any reward program to get discount on food, then probably you are living in a cave (kidding! 😀 ). Pay your bill with Dineout Pay, save up to 25% by using cash promo, as well get 20% cashback!! Isn’t irresistible deal!?

Also note that, The Project Cafe have another joint in Assagao, Goa which is situated in 130 years old Portuguese Villa which is an ultimate escape one could ask for.

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