Conner White is a talented photographer who has been featured in several Member Shows. We have always enjoyed seeing the photos he has submitted to the shows and that he has tagged us in on Instagram so we wanted to highlight a project he has been working on here.
Q: How did you get interested in photography and what do you enjoy most about the medium?
A: I started learning photography on my own, but my parents helped introduce me to it as a passion. I’ve really come to appreciate it during my college years - I love how it can take me to unexpected places or connect me with people. Digital photography can feel a little intangible at times, however. This project in particular offered a nice chance to step away from the screens and get hands-on with my work.
Q: What drew you to use this old photographic process to show these images?
A: I first saw a cyanotype in an art gallery, and since then have always wanted to experiment with the process. I was really fortunate that my friend Haley was learning how to make them for school, and agreed to teach me her method. We had a lot of fun experimenting with different paper materials and exposure times.
Q: How did you make these cyanotype prints? What about the process did you enjoy most?
A: The first step was deciding which of my existing photographs would lend themselves best to the bold cyanotype look. Since my process involved printing black-and-white photo negatives onto a transparency sheet, I was able to pick out certain shots and “remix” them with this new style. Once the transparencies were printed, I used an ultraviolet lamp to shine light through the transparencies onto pre-treated chemical paper. My favorite part of the process is the last step, where you take the paper and submerge it in hydrogen peroxide. This suddenly oxidizes the image and turns it from a light blue to a brilliant indigo right before your eyes - magic!
Q: Many of your photos are taken up close and of specific details. Did you intend to mostly use photos that are framed this way?
A: It was an interesting challenge to decide which images would work well with the cyanotype. I knew I wanted to incorporate some of my macro nature photos, and that I also wanted to experiment with inverting the shadows and highlights of the final image. Combining these seemed to bring out some cool effects, like with the bee and dragonflies. The close-up angle and fine details almost give it the appearance of an x-ray or thermal camera or something.
Q: Do you have a favorite photo from this series? If so, which one and why is it your favorite?
A: My favorite is probably the photo of the tree, which was originally taken during a snowstorm near my old house. All my friends growing up loved this tree. It’s a nice reminder of where I come from.
Q: If you were to make more cyanotypes or build on this series, what would you do differently or change?
A: There’s so many more possibilities I haven’t tried yet! I’d love to try exposing a photo directly onto a cyanotype as opposed to using transparencies. I’ve also experimented somewhat with cyanotype fabric and incorporating that into clothing design - but I’m really only scratching the surface.
Jack Sayre - November 19, 2021