“Through the Looking Glass” - a cyanotype book

For the past two weeks, I have been making a small, limited edition of cyanotype books, called “Through the Looking Glass”. 


This book is comprised of photo montaged images of scenes that I created. These scenes are futuristic. Each section has something that exists in today’s society, like a space ship, furniture, a robot, birds and plants. I took the original image and rethought how it would look if a Lens replaced part of it or made up the entire structure. Now, perhaps you are wondering why I would go through the process of creating such scenes. Let’s take a deeper look in to my thoughts on the lens.

Every creature with eyes has a lens. It is how we all direct light that exists in the world in which we live. Once all of this light is stream lined in to a beam, it is compressed. This compression helps us to see in all sorts of lighting scenarios. This is where I came up with the title, “Through the Looking Glass”. It is not a reference to “Alice in Wonderland”, but rather a reference to how creatures see through a curved, convex structure - I say looking glass, because photographic lenses are made of glass in which we looking through. 

These futuristic scenes play on my obsession of steampunk, a combining of the organic with the inorganic mechanics to create half-human-half-mechanical things. A tree is symbolic of life, but what does it become when you replace the leaves with lenses? Is it a representation of a life that is spying on the world? Is it pointing out how global warming is ridding the planet of water? Is this how the future will look? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments without letting my own idea or concept of the work be known up front.


The paper used was BFK Rives, which is a high quality cold press paper. I coated the paper with cyanotype solution before exposing it to sunlight. The exposures were 13 minutes in exposure unit. The negatives were pressed tightly to the frame with a contact printing frame made by the people at Bostick & Sullivan. The fun part was rinsing it in the bathroom. In my darkroom bathroom, I only have access to warm to scolding hot water. The tub is my primary rinsing container for prints this size and greater. Since there is 3 sheets total, 2 sheets had to be exposed twice, once on front and once on back. The over rinsing was not an issue since there was a 24+ hour cycle between rinsing times.


“Through the Looking Glass” is made on BFK Rives paper that has been sensitized with cyanotype solution and exposed, rinsed and air dried. The book is essentially 3 pages, 2 of which are printed on both sides. The sheets were glued together with Golden’s Matte Medium, an archival acid-free glue. The finished book was dried under heavy books used as weights. The finished product was to remain exposed to air and normal living conditions until it naturally oxidizes.

This book is an edition of 20.

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