Lasting Imprints


The cyanotype process, created by Sir John Herschel, was initially only perceived to be a method to create blueprints of notes and diagrams. Trained in botany, Anna Atkins learned the process from him, and used it to create photogenic drawings of specimens to illustrate her book titled British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843). Besides helping establish photography as a reliable means for scientific illustration, it was also the first photo book in history. Engineers continued to make use of the simple and inexpensive process to make blueprints, well into the 20th century.

Tags: did you know, history, cyanotype, Anna Atkins, Botany, algae, Tanvi Dhulia, history of photography, Sir John Herschel, first photo book, British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, scientific illustration, blueprints