I loved doing cyanotypes (also called sunprints) as a kid, and I’ve shared them with my daughter in recent years. The magic of seeing where the sun affects the sensitized paper, leaving the bleached out reverse-shadow of whatever was placed between the sun’s rays and the paper, and a brilliant, magical blue where it shone down – and all it takes it sun and clear water – it never gets old, to me. I think a sunprint project is fantastic fun for any age, which is why I wanted to photograph some!
F0r this shoot celebrating spring, I crafted up some cyanotype decor, and sourced some cyanotype/ sunprint inspired kids’ clothes, as well. I wanted the feel of the shoot to be very natural – not perfectly styled, using my own daughter and some friends’ kids – and a bit wild, to reflect the beautiful wildness of the amazing Sonoma location we used.
For the cyanotypes I had the kids make, meadows of grass and just-blooming wildflowers served as their workspace, fluorescent orange California poppies and gorgeous purple-blue lupins were among the things they used to cast a shadow on the sunprint paper, a creek provided fresh water to rinse their creations, and Easter-inspired treats kept the kids mostly thrilled to be there (until an insane number of mosquitoes descended!). I love the rich blue in contrast to the green of the landscape – which will turn to a golden brown, dry grassland within the next month or so.
You’ll also see below the fabric pieces I made using the Jacquard Cyanotype Sensitizer Kit. For those, I used only flowers from my own garden, many of which either grow wild, or were planted years ago and resiliently bloom annually or perennially. Something about that inspires me so much! Even when weeds take over, when I neglect our yards in the winter months, and when the ground freezes or floods, so many beautiful flowers and plants spring back to life. That must be why this time of year always feels so bright, hopeful, colorful and beautiful.
Anyway, I treated fabric, made sunprints, and now have the two biggest pieces hanging above our bed. Today, I added some boughs of the fresh jasmine blooming in our back yard – the smell of which makes me feel almost drunk with joy and elation – and now I can not stop huffing the air in our bedroom, our backyard, and our office. We have SO MUCH jasmine, and Devon is desperate to cut it back (indeed, in some places, you can’t really walk – but, it’s so beautiful!)… I got him to promise to wait just a little bit longer.
Because I know that spring will be over in a flash, and I have to enjoy it without grasping on to it – which is no small part of why I love my job. I can capture some of how a moment in time feels – honoring this spring, this time in my daughter’s life, these beautiful flowers blooming (whether they’ll rebloom again or die and turn into dirt for other flowers and plants to grow).
I guess spring has me feeling sentimental! I’ve been trying to write more, so maybe I will finally get back to silly, happy ramblings in my blog – it’s been too long!
Happy spring, welcome sunshine! (okay, and rain, you too)
(ps: credits at the bottom of the post)
Clothing by Tea Collection
Cyanotype kit supplies by Jacquard Products