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Photography: A Hands-on History of Cyanotypes

Weekend Studio Arts Workshop

Saturday, June 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1V00QQ
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Materials for this program
  1. Supply List
By Patricia Howard

NOTE: Registration will close for this program at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, June 4, 2021.

Delve into the fascinating history of photography as an art form. In this unique program that combines lecture with a hands-on project, art historian and photographer Patricia Howard presents an overview of a particular moment in photography’s development and then helps students create their own individual artwork utilizing the techniques and processes of that time.

In this session, participants explore the world of cyanotypes, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue and white print. Engineers used the technique well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost way to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints.

Introduced in England by the scientist Sir John Herschel, they were also used by one of the first woman photographer-scientists, Anna Atkins. Today, cyanotypes are increasingly found in the contemporary art world. The process utilizes objects found in most homes with the exception of cyanotype paper. Participants will need to purchase cyanotype paper prior to this session.

The class is appropriate both for photographers of all experience levels as well as non-photographers interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the form’s technical and artistic evolution.

This class will be recorded.  Please see our FAQ for recording terms and conditions.

Other Information

  • The instructor is Patricia Howard.
  • One 2.5-hour session
  • This studio arts program is a Zoom Meeting to allow for patron and instructor interaction.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.