Often noted as the first person to produce a book of photography, Anna Atkins is being honored today on Google’s homepage with a doodle to mark what would have been the famed botanist and photographer’s 216th birthday.
Born on this date in Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom in 1799, Atkins self-published Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843.
Atkins initial work resulted in a 12-part series documenting her collection of algae with cyanotype photography – a process using ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide to produce cyan-blue prints.
While artistic expression was not her original goal in recording the specimans of British algae, many of the plates can be celebrated as much for their imaginative composition and aesthetic appeal as for their scientific intent.
Continuing her work in cyanotype photography, Atkins collaborated with Anne Dixon to produce Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns in 1853 and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns the following year.
Copies of Atkins work is on display in libraries and museums around the world, including London’s British Library, Royal Society, and the Victoria and Albert Museum; Scotland’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery; and, the New York Public Library.
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