Victorian photographer Anna Atkins is currently being celebrated in dual exhibitions at The New York Public Library. Historically, Anna is of great significance as she was one of the first female photographers. Anna used a special blue-printing technique in her photography, called cyanotypes. The book titled, “Photographs of British Algae,” was conceived, printed and published by Anna, combining photography and science. The title of the show is, “Blue Prints: The Pioneering Photographs of Anna Atkins,” showcasing contemporary works influenced by Anna, along with her own. Exhibited artists include: Roy Arden, Erica Baum, Eric William Carroll, Susan Derges, Liz Deschenes, Kathleen Herbert, Katherine Hubbard, Mona Kuhn, Owen Kydd, María Martínez-Cañas, Meghann Riepenhoff, Alison Rossiter, Ulf Saupe, Lindy Smith, Kunié Sugiura, Penelope Umbrico, Mike Ware, Letha Wilson, Ellen Ziegler.
The library is publishing, in conjunction with the exhibition two books. The first is an expanded edition of Larry J. Schaaf’s Sun Gardens, an in-depth study of Atkins’s work that first established her historical and artistic significance. The other is a facsimile of the Library’s copy of Photographs of British Algae, which is being produced by Steidl Verlag. Blue Prints is co-organized by Joshua Chuang, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Associate Director for Art, Prints and Photographs, and The Robert B. Menschel Senior Curator of Photography and Larry J. Schaaf, independent scholar, with Emily Walz, Librarian, Art and Architecture Anna Atkins Refracted is co-curated by Joshua Chuang, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Associate Director for Art, Prints and Photographs, and The Robert B. Menschel Senior Curator of Photography and Elizabeth Cronin, Assistant Curator of Photography.
presentation album to Henry Dixon, 1861, cyanotype. Private collection, courtesy of Hans P. Kraus Jr., New York.