U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Toned cyanotype query-reply to Judy

Re: Toned cyanotype query-reply to Judy

Linda (and Bob, Judy, et al),

Ware's formula tones beautifully, btw, just as well as traditional.

All the info I shared about toning was Mike's info out of his book on Cyanotype.

I really enjoyed using the Ware formula, except with unsuitable paper it fogged lavender in the highlights something TERRRIBLE, but then someone on the list suggested adding a bit of citric acid to the mix and that goes away. HHAHAHAHAHAHA maybe this lavender that Metoyer gets is just that, in fact--fogged highlights. Just go ahead and try it on Fabriano Artistico Extra White and you'll see what I mean--that is, if they haven't changed the formula of the paper since 2003.

Because of its lack of affinity for Fab paper, I switched to traditional 2A:1 B like Bob says below and it works beautifully, with an occasional grainy outcome that I think is because in the bitty paper depressions it puddles and then has a thicker layer of stuff to turn blue, OR perhaps humidity as some including Mark Nelson have suggested. Every once in a while a really grainy print will occur for whatever reason that I haven't had time to definitively answer. But we weren't discussing that I suppose.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert W. Schramm" <schrammrus@hotmail.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 8:44 PM
Subject: RE: Toned cyanotype query-reply to Judy


I too have gotten some wonderful purple tones using your process. It is curious to hear that
some of your toned prints have returned to original blue. I have some "Seigel-Toned cyanotypes
that have not changed after at least 8-10 years. I have one that I remember most fondly of
Notre Dame from under a bridge on the quay. Its a split toned print. i.e. lilac and brown. My
experience with Seigel-Toning is that it is quite tricky. You have to "snatch" (your word) out of the
second bath at just the right instant and its hard to know the right instant. However cyanotype is
inexpensive so one simply makes a lot of prints and experiments. This results in a lot of interesting
prints which, by the way, look different when dry. But , of course, that is the fun of it.

By the way, I tried Mike Ware's cyanotype process and it produced some wonderful prints but it is, in my opinion, rather complex. I have found that if one uses the original simple cyanotype formula and
two parts A to one part B, you will get a print just as good as the Ware process-at least thats my

Bob Schramm

Check out my web page at:


Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 14:07:57 -0400
From: jseigel@panix.com
Subject: Re: Toned cyanotype query
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca

On Sat, 27 Oct 2007, Linda Stinchfield wrote:

> I have a book, Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde, the New Wave in > Old
> Processes, by Lyle Rexer, and on p. 122 there's an image by John > Metoyer
> that's identified simply as "toned cyanotype". Would anyone on the list > be
> familiar with the book-- and more importantly (to me) what that image > might
> have been toned wth? The highligts are a purplish gray and the darks > are
> kind of deep indigo.
> Thanks,
> Linda S.

Linda, in the first place, you can't ever judge the tone of a photograph
from a book, because the production crew makes it any color that appeals
to them (or that it comes out) and then the vagaries and vicisitudes of
the process itself (temperature, condition and source of chemicals, and of
your timing, etc.) further vary the tone.

Also, as far as I know, Metoyer was doing Mike Ware's "New Cyanotype,"
which was a different chemistry, and although the blue itself was very
intense (when successful), I'm not aware of anyone toning it. You might
try Mike Ware's website to see if he comments on the topic. I also have
Ware's book on the New Cyanotype, but odds of finding it are again
unclear, maybe 50-50. I'll try, but that was more than 5 years ago -- and
a lot of silt has blown onto everything since then. In any event, as I
believe may have been pointed out, when highlights & shadows differ
sharply in tone, it's usually from split toning. Easier than it sounds:
you only tone partway before doing.... whatever. But for repeating the
effects, obviously timing, temperature and condition of solutions must be
carefully controlled. (And fortunately, cyano is so cheap & easy that if
you screw up -- well, it's not like wrecking a gum. Tho gum is actually
harder to wreck... tho that's not this chapter.)

Third, although I'm intensely honored that Bob has named a toner for me,
and I did try every toner known for standard cyanotype, and fed some
(figuratively) to students, who often kept after a particular direction
until it was tuned, I don't immediately recall the color of the one he

I also hope not to display ignorance by noting that, though I and/or
students have even gotten delicious, marvelous, swooningly lovely purple
tones in cyano, all that I know of faded to "regular" blue -- either as
soon as dry, or within a week or so. I have seen stretches or patches of
purple that remained, but they seem to have been random acts of god...
that is we (or I) never could figure out how they happened, or repeat

I did see John Metoyer's show at John Stevenson, the colors were stunning
and intense, but I don't *remember* any purplish tones or, guaranteed I
would have been all over him. Somewhere in this mess, however, I've got
Lyle Rexer's book. If I can find it, I'll check that print.

PS. Post-Factory #5 has a section on toning cyanotype (regular formula);
if you e-mail offlist I'll explain how to get it...