I finally built a contact printer that is stable enough to be outdoors for extended periods of time… or so I thought. The Plexiglas is currently being held down by c-clamps instead of hinges and its own weight. It actually began to curl up on me this morning. However, several prints have been made and I am pleased for my first try.

I should probably explain what an anthotype is… the antho prefix means flower. Flowers are collected, mashed to a pulp, and mixed with a little alcohol and vinegar. The mixture is strained through cheesecloth and the liquid can be used as a dye. It is light sensitive, but backwards from a normal photo-paper. The sun (or fake UV light in a box) will bleach out the light areas of a negative (returning the dyed paper to white) and leave the area under the denser part of the negative colored. A positive makes a positive. A negative makes a negative.

I used the the term flower loosely as many fruits make excellent dyes as well. I made two solutions to use as a pigment. One with blueberries and the other with beets. To each I added vinegar and alcohol. Then I coated 300 gram watercolor paper. The beet juice appears bright pink when coating but turned orange-y when dried. The blueberry juice was very light, so light that I coated the paper 4 times and thought I would still have to do more. I was thoroughly surprised there was wonderful dark blue pigment left behind when the paper completely dried.

I have several litho negatives/positives from my time in Italy so I started with those. One on the blueberry paper and one on the beet paper. The beet paper was finished bleaching in several hours and to save that print I disrupted the blueberry print. The blue print is salvageable but this is when I noticed that the contact printer was curling and I had to fix that before attempting to print again. By the time I did I knew there was only enough time to try another beet print today so I will try the blueberry again tomorrow(hopefully there will be sun!)

Here are my first two attempts at anthotype printing…

David. Florence, Italy. Beet Anthotype.

David. Florence, Italy. Beet Anthotype.

David2. Florence, Italy. Beet Anthotype.

David2. Florence, Italy. Beet Anthotype.


I am also impressed with the scanner I am currently using, I can still see the grain of the paper. Blueberry prints to follow soon, possibly prints on canvas or wood as well. I would love any feedback, especially any tips on making digital negatives so I can increase my photo oppertunities.

  1. Malin says:

    Nice first prints. I have tried Blueberries, and the surprising thing with this “emulsion” is that it oxidizes, i.e. it does not bleach, so the exposed areas will be darker. At least in my print. I’ll be interested to see if you get the same result.

  2. Ashley says:

    This is awesome, I am happy to see you are still putting David statues to good use. I can’t wait to see more!

  3. kvicephoto says:

    Ashley I can’t get rid of the davids-even ifI wanted to!


    I tried a blueberry print 2 days ago, it came out light, with very low contrast and it didn’t oxidize. It just bleached like the beet prints. I would assume that oxidation happens quickly. Maybe you had something else in or not in the solution?? If you have any thoughts let me know.

  4. david Donald says:

    Hi i was wondering if you use a photographic enlarger and negetives to transfer the image onto the watercolour page?

    Many Thanks
    David Donald davie222_3@hotmail.co.uk

  5. yourmung says:

    Beautiful work my friend.

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