A Brief History of Women in Blue responds to the adverts for Reckitts Blue, a synthetic substance added to the laundry to make whites brighter. A form of bluing is still used in washing powders today described as an ‘optical brightener’. Cyanotype prints can be altered by other substances, including washing powder which bleaches the blue away and so these prints link the pioneering female photographer with the housewife and her domestic chores.
The work displayed shows the variations of tones and colours achieved when bleaching cyanotype prints in Daz washing powder. The variety is achieved by varying the time each print is bathed in the washing powder solution.
Flowers printed: Sunflower, Rose, Stock, St John’s Wort and Chrysanthemum and were chosen for their yellow flowers, linking with the yellowing that Reckitts Blue would remove in the laundry.