ABOUT SUN GARDENS
This method of botanical sun prints was pioneered by the first female photographer Anna Atkins (1799-1871) and it is her work with cyanotypes that she is best known for. Objects, in this case leaves and flowers from Vizcaya’s Village, are placed on special paper and then it’s exposed to sunlight and washed in water, which makes the uncovered areas of the paper turning a dark blue. The process, known as blueprinting, was later used to reproduce architectural and engineering drawings, (Vizcaya has many in our archives!) but Atkins chose to use it for what is considered to be the first work with photographic illustrations, namely her Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843).
Featured image: Anna Atkins and Anne Dixon, Papaver rhoeas, from a presentation album to Henry Dixon, 1861. Private collection, courtesy Hans P. Kraus, Jr.