How to create photo prints with beetroot juice

Tips & Techniques

If you like beetroot, you can use it to make salad, soup, bread, cakes, photo prints… Wait, what? Yup, you can take the beetroot and use its juice to create photo prints. In this video, Mathieu Stern will show you how.

This technique is far from being new. In fact, it’s an almost two centuries old process called anthotype, invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. Those of you who know photography history well have probably heard of it. But I have to admit that I’ve learned about it just now. The trick is in photosensitive material from plants. Mathieu used beetroot juice, but it can also be done with crushed sour cherries, violets or groundsels.

Whatever you choose to do, the process is the following: first, coat a piece of paper with the plant juice. Mathieu applied three coats of beetroot juice, leaving the paper to dry between each. Then, place a photo positive on the paper, you can use a picture frame for this. Now expose it to direct sunlight: Mathieu left it for as long as seven days. However, depending on the plant you use and the weather, it may take a shorter while. The point is that the parts of the paper exposed to the sun will get bleached out, while the color will remain in the shadowed parts.

Now, I know that most of us don’t have a glass photo positive. However, you can also try covering the coated paper with leaves, pressed flowers, paper cutouts… Feel free to experiment. If I ever see the sun again here in Novi Sad – I know I will too. And in the meantime, I might at least bake that beetroot bread like Mathieu did. 🙂

How to create Photo Prints using only Beetroot Juice – Anthotype Mathieu Stern

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