Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Anthotypes: intro to photography, no camera needed

An Anthotypes is an image created on an surface covered in light sensitive plant based material. Think of it as one of the first photographic methods. I completed this project with middle school ages students but really you could do this with children in 1st or 2nd grade. I great way to introduce photography and its methods without needed 25-30 cameras! 

The images you see were created by painting the juice from crushed up blackberries (emulsion) onto tag board.  Once they were dry a paper cutout previously made was placed on top.  
An example of an undeveloped emulsion with the paper cut outs still attached. 
 We used small bits of sticky tack and a photo frame to hold everything together. After sitting in a window for a month to removed the paper and revealed our photograph. (our school is near seattle so we don't see a great amount of direct sunlight, resulting in a longer exposure time)

Some words of wisdom, keep the anthotypes at school if at all possible. I work in a basement space and had no area to let the images sit in the sun. I had my students take the images home and return them in a month, but the results are much more spotty. Some images I never see again after they leave class. 


  1. Very Cool! time will the part that was covered fade/change color also? is there a way to make it permanent?

  2. Yes if it is not kept in a dimly lit room the colors will all fade. In museums they have a felt cloth hanging over anthotypes on display. You have to lift up the cloth to look at the photograph. I have heard if you cover it in a resin like material it will become permanent. I haven;t looked to far into it though, I may be wrong.