U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Cyanotype with high school students

Re: Cyanotype with high school students

I've done this project several times with high school students. It started as an arts-infused chemistry lab session. I've done this project with students in an arts-based curriculum, a regular high school, and a group of developmentally delayed students.

You may be more concerned about the quality of materials than I was. I wasn't concerned with the nuanced details of their negs -- just so that they did the camera work, the work in PhotoShop, printed their own negs, coated their own paper and made their own exposures. The chemistry teacher had the kids do reports on the history of photography and how cyanotype printing fit into the picture (sorry -- pun not intended, but then I could have deleted it if I wasn't so pleased with myself....) What they do with it afterwards is up to them.

With that caveat, I used a standard office grade laser-friendly OHP transparency film and student-grade 140# hot-pressed watercolor paper. (I got three grades of paper so they could choose the level of texture in their prints.) This was a waste of effort on my part: even the really arts-savvy students I had worked with before were more interested in lunch, their hair, and their friends' plans for Friday night than the nuances of cyanotype printing.

We do some exposures outdoors, and some under UV fluorescents -- depending on the number of students, the weather and the length of the class period.

That said, they also have a really good time -- for a chem lab. (The first day I bring in a light stick, some leaves, an iron bar and one of my cyanotype prints. I told them that by the end of the week they would be able to see a relationship between them. I like doing weird stuff!)

Contact me off-list if you want to talk about this more.


jneuhauser@wavecable.com wrote:
web-257700375@wavecable.net" type="cite">Dear List,

I teach Digital Photography to high school students and next semester I want to teach them how to make digital negatives and cyanotypes from those negatives.  Not only will it fulfill the history of photography requirement I need to teach but it will give them some tactile hands-on experience that they don't get from digital.  I don't have a very big budget for this and was wondering if anyone could recommend an inexpensive film for the negatives and an all purpose paper that will print on the variety of negatives they are bound to get...

Thanks for any information you can give me.

Janet Neuhauser