Cyanotype camera/room model

My work filming architectural models led me to consider how I could explore sunlight’s effect on architectural materials, over time, such as fading. As I was familiar with the cyanotype photographic printing process I developed a way of combining cyanotype with models to make prints of the moving sunlight within the models.

As I wanted to undertake a number of tests, I devised a small model to minimise the amount of cyanotype materials needed. The model was designed to have a removable front wall, that could be swapped out with versions with different window apertures. The proportions of the model were based on the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio for the back wall, and a rotated 9:16 ratio for the side walls.

The models were 80mm wide by 25mm deep and 45mm high (drawn at 1:1 in my notebook). The resulting “room” was therefore approximately 1:100, and of a similar proportion to a digital camera, which felt apt as I was using the room to act as a form of camera (itself Italian for “room”). The models were wrapped in black paper to prevent light bleed through the foam board and joints.

For the exposures on days with cloud cover, and intermittent sunlight, the solid dark blue “shadows” of the sunlight are not continuous, rather each marks the time the sun emerged from behind clouds.

When the exposed cyanotype net was refolded back into a room the effect of the sun “shadows” on the space was particularly effective. The model was just large enough to film from the short end. I made a small number of test footage of some of the cyanotype print rooms.

These were not placed back in the same location, orientation and time as the original exposures, so the sunlight did not align with its own “shadows”. For future pieces I would ensure that a precise relocation into the original exposure location could be undertaken. The filming should start before the time of commencement of the original exposure. The filming would need to take place in the days following the exposure to ensure the sun is in an almost identical location.

The footage is filmed in time-lapse at 1 frame every half a second, effectively at 12x speed. The main part of the footage above is shown at this recording rate. However, the initial section of moving sunlight is then sped up again by a factor of 20, so 240x real time. The final section of fading light is sped up to a total of 900x real time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s