analog photography Belgium contemporary art cyanotype experimental photography fine art Karin Bauer Melanie Schoeninger photo art Virginie De Nolf



// The Belgian photographer Virginie has become fascinated by cyanotypes, one of the oldest photographic techniques, which makes for beautiful “blueprints” (much like those used in architecture) of her digital photographs.

Both when traveling, and for her job as a restoration architect Virginie takes lots of pictures. “Since I have an instagram account, I have become much more aware of what I want to capture and what atmosphere I want to convey. By also capturing the little things on a daily basis, I have also started to see the simple things differently,” she says. “I am a person of images, more than of words. Through my other instagram account (virginie_dn) I share images like in a diary, so as not to forget any details that cannot be captured in words.”

“Learning from the past can only improve the present.”

Virginie De Nolf

What draws you to the arts?

“What I value most in art is an absolutely unique expression of personality that flows from the artist in a natural, authentic (not forced) way. That can be through any medium, on any subject. But most of all, I value true skill, mastery that cannot be taught, but is unique to the artist. That gives me goosebumps. Art gives the world inspiration, to make new art.

What do you like best about making cyanotypes such as those you have shared with us?

“I love the old technique of cyanotype, the process of mixing the chemicals, treating the paper and rinsing to finally see the result. The process gives a certain character and layering to the image, the original photo seems immersed in another world.

Cyanotype, or blueprint, is one of the oldest photographic techniques. The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered the procedure in 1842. The 19th century botanist Anna Atkins then used cyanotype to make beautiful images of seaweed, placing the plants on chemically treated paper to make silhouettes. It was used for 200 years by architects and engineers to copy plans. Often when she is working as a restoration architect, Virginie finds such blueprints in archives during research for restoration projects.

The technique inspired her to initially capture both historic and contemporary buildings in combination with digital photography. Now she also captures landscapes and nature photos through cyanotype. To be more in tune with the colors of nature, she also converts the cyanotype blue into other colors by toning them in black tea. “It is always a quest to enhance the atmosphere of the image by finding the right color tone.”

We love the blues in all its shades, so, bring on the cyano, Virginie!

Some images may be cropped for formatting. Click on the photos to see a larger image in original dimensions.


To see more of her photography visitVirginie´s Instagram page .

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