Today, Monday, 16th March, is the Queen of true-blue botanic art’s birthday: as a tribute Google has dedicated his homepage to Anna Atkins, with a special Doodle (= the featured picture on the Google search welcome page – see featured above as well, courtesy of Google). The artist was born 216 years ago and left behind a collection of half-photography, half-prussian blue prints called cyanotypes, the great uncles of photocopies, a printing process experimented from the 18th to the 20th century. Why do we celebrate her? Well, Anna Atkins was one of the very first female scientist, created the first photographic book, as well as a blue art form of its own, with a blue subject matter (sea algae) and medium (cyanotypes). The result did not lack poetry nor emotion. Something worth a little celebration, according to the Washington Post (below).
‘Now, by using cutting-edge techniques of photographic capture, Atkins would publish her silhouette-effect artworks of aquatic organisms in ‘Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions.’
The result would become what’s widely considered to be the first entirely photographic book, as published by someone commonly regarded as the world’s first woman photographic artist.
Anna Children Atkins was born on this day in 1799, in Tonbridge, Kent, to a father who worked in a British Museum circle of scientists. John George Children’s Royal Society group included not only William Henry Fox Talbot, who invented the calotype photographic process, but also Herschel, the chemist-astronomer and photographic scientist who invented the precursor to blueprinting known as the cyanotype, by which chemically treated paper exposed to light could create a permanent impression.
By 1854, Atkins documented all the algae of the British Isles in her hundreds of photogrammic impressions. Fewer than 20 copies of her pioneering book are known to exist — with one copy still in the hands of Herschel’s descendants as recently as 1985.
Through her cyanotypes, Atkins — who died in Kent in 1871 — blended photographic aesthetics with scientific advances.’
Featured picture courtesy of Google 2015 – picture above from Wikipedia
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