The Bloomingdale Branch is pleased to showcase an exhibition of recent cyanotypes by James Langford.
Statement By the Artist:
“I have always been interested in photography and the darkroom process of printing negatives. I began making cyanotypes in a class at the National Academy School of Art in 2017. The prints in this show were made using digital negatives - which are inverted using Photoshop and then printed on Pictorico, a transparency film. My cyanotypes have evolved from photograms to complex collages, which I assemble and tape together prior to printing. When the transparency film collage is complete, Arches Hot Press Paper, (140 lb.) is coated with cyanotype light sensitve chemistry in a dark room with a brush - look for brush strokes around the edges of my prints. The dried print is exposed in a light box under glass for 15 minutes, and then washed in a large tray.
I love the play of light in Nature, and many of my collages are of winter’s ice and snow here in Central Park. The new skateboard park in Riverside Park - where the dappled light through leafy trees forms shadow shapes on the concrete, is a favorite subject. My cousin’s trip to Antarctica provided stunning iceberg formations. I use watercolor on occasion to provide complementary color contrast to the overall blue of the cyanotype print, as seen in the Booth Bay Cloud Reflections Triptych.”
Brief History of the Cyanotype Medium:
The cyanotype process, also known as the blueprint process, was first introduced by John Herschel in 1842. Sir John was a British astronomer, and he experimented with chemicals - he was trying to find a process for copying his notes. Herschel discovered he could fix images using hyposulphite of soda as early as 1839. The paper was coated with iron salts and used for contact printing - it was then washed in water and resulted in a white image on a deep “prussian blue” background.
Anna Atkins (1799-1871), was the first person to produce an illustrated book using the cyanotype process to make photograms. Her book of ferns was published in 1843 in England. A pioneering woman in the history of photography and botany, her book was called “British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions”. It was printed privately and issued in several editions over a ten year period. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library held a show of her work in 2018 - and the NYPL also published a book to accompany the show: “Sun Gardens - Cyanotypes By Anna Atkins.” The primary author was Larry J. Schaaf.
About the Artist:
James Langford lives on West 97th Street on the Upper West Side, and is often seen sketching the landscapes of Central Park. He has studied painting for the past 30 years at both at the National Academy School of Fine Arts and the Art Student’s League, and holds a BFA Degree from the University of Massachusetts. His preferred medium is watercolor, and a recent show of his work: From Governor’s Island to Coney Island was on view at the Bloomingdale Branch of the NY Public Library in March of 2016.
He began making Cyantoypes in 2017, and has found this print making technique to be a compelling medium for his interest in photography and collage. His recent cyanotype collages have been inspired by visits to the new skateboard park in Riverside Park near 106th street. Central Park themes and photos from travels are also a source of imagery for his exploration of printmaking through the cyanotype process.
Contact the Artist by email: firstname.lastname@example.org