ANNA ATKINS. Cyanotypes


1 disponibili

The first woman to use the fledgling medium of photographyfor scientific purposes, Anna Atkins captured the delicacy of algae and ferns in her albums: pioneering examples of photographic practice in their own right. For the first time, this edition reprints her works British Algae and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns in their entirety.


BOTANICAL BLUEPRINTS. The Pioneer at the cutting Edge of 19th-century Photography


At the dawn of the Victorian era in her open-air laboratory in Halstead, Kent, Anna Atkinsembarked on a radical experiment to document botanical species using a completely new artistic medium. The inimitable cyanotype photograms of algae and ferns she created were made into the first books to feature photographic images. Striking yet ethereal, these albums are a perfect synthesis of art and science.

Although the cyanotype technique was discovered by her friend John Herschel, Atkins was the first to realize both its practical purpose for own her interests in botany and taxonomy, and its intriguing artistic potential. The process, which involved fixing the object on sensitized paper and exposing it directly to sunlight, results in the Prussian blue pigmentthat forms the unmistakeable backdrop to these artworks.

Atkins’ albums British Algae (1843–1853) and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns (1853), the latter of which was produced with her friend Anne Dixon, are works of remarkable rarity. Reprinted here in their entirety for the first time, they reveal her mastery of multiple disciplines: While the cyanotype process allowed Atkins to meet the challenges of accurate representation, the delicate contours of the specimens, set above the intense blue background, has lent the images a timeless aesthetic appeal.

This edition, drawing extensively from the copies of the New York Public Library and J. Paul Getty Museum, has carefully compiled cyanotypes from several sources to reprint Atkins’ seminal works in full. Over 550 cyanotype impressions are accompanied by a series of introductory essays from Peter Walther, placing Atkins’ work in its scientific and art-historical contexts and paying rightful tribute to the groundbreaking contributions of a female pioneer.

> Peter Walther ha curato svariate pubblicazioni su temi letterari, di fotografia e di storia contemporanea, inclusi volumi su Goethe, Fontane, Thomas Mann, e gli scrittori nella Prima guerra mondiale, oltre a diversi libri illustrati con fotografie storiche a colori. Ha curato inoltre diverse mostre. È particolarmente interessato alle prime tecniche fotografiche che facevano uso del colore.