Cyanotypes were invented in 1842 by astronomer John Herschel as a way to copy his notes. The cyanotypes here are attributed to Anna Atkins, who was trained as a botanist and used this method of photography to record plant specimens—producing the first illustrated books using cyanotypes. Atkins is sometimes considered to be the first female photographer!

Cyanotype paper is still available today—only requiring water to develop and fix an image on the page. Many contemporary artists including Christine Nguyen, Jessica Ferguson, and John Metoyer use cyanotypes in their work.