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CONTACT: Making Images Using the Cyanotype Process

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Contact: Making Images Using the Cyanotype Process is a workshop-based, community-generated exhibition comprised of images made by Houston’s public. Between February 25 and May 20, FotoFest invites Houston’s public to participate in a series of FREE artist-led workshops where guests will create images using the cyanotype photographic technique. At the conclusion of each workshop, guests are encouraged to present their creations on Silver Street Studios’ gallery walls for the duration of the exhibition. 

The cyanotype process is one of the earliest forms of photographic capture and printing, invented 180 years ago. The process involves using chemistry and water to create a light-sensitive emulsion that reacts to light sources such as the sun or UV lamps. After the emulsion is exposed to light, the print is dipped into a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide to develop a blue-toned image. Many types of compositions can be created using the cyanotype process. During the Contact workshops, guests will learn two unique printing techniques: photogram printing, wherein objects are placed directly atop of the light-sensitive emulsion, and traditional negative printing, which uses photographic negatives to create a positive cyanotype print.

Three public workshops are taking place before the exhibition, on February 25March 11, and March 16. These workshops will be led by FotoFest’s teaching artists and will generate the exhibition’s first works.

The opening reception for Contact is organized as a large-scale cyanotype making workshop and reception with free drinks, music, and light bites on March 30, 6-9 PM. Guests who attend the reception and workshop event will learn how to make cyanotype images and be among the first to present their images in the Contact exhibition.

Cyanotype workshops are being held on select Saturdays during the exhibition’s March 30–May 20 on view dates. Workshops begin with presentations by Houston-based artists Caroline Roberts (April 1) and Keliy Anderson-Staley (April 22), who utilize the cyanotype printing process in their practice. Materials for the workshops are being provided, and guests are encouraged to bring their own objects and photo negatives to create unique photograms and cyanotype positives. 

The exhibition concludes on May 20 with a closing celebration from 11AM–5PM. Guests who create works for the exhibition will be able to collect their images to take home.