SIA: Anna Atkins

It’s time for another Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge, and it’s my turn to curate the inspiration artwork.


I recently came across the amazing botanical photographs of Anna Atkins (1799-1871), who is considered to be the first woman to take a photograph — and the first person EVER to publish a book of photographic images. She learned to use the cyanotype photographic process directly from its inventor Sir John Herschel. Most of her images were published in Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, which she first published in 1843 and in subsequent editions throughout 1853. As an amateur botanist, she took cyanotypes of algae, flowers, ferns, feathers, branches, and coral. She also published her photographs in Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns (1853) and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns (1854).

Below is a collage of three of her cyanotype photographs, featuring ferns, leaves, and feathers. You can read more about Anna Atkins and her work here and here.

Collage of Anna Atkins' photography, 1843-1853 (public domain)

Collage of Anna Atkins’ photography, 1843-1853 (public domain)

The images are startlingly beautiful, aren’t they? Some seem quite stark and minimalist, while others, like the ones of feathers, feel dreamy and ghostlike. Most of her cyanotype photographs are blue in color, but I especially love the ones that appear more purple.

The color scheme is simple and monochromatic, but there’s scope for fun with prints and/or jewelry. 😀

Here’s how to participate in SIA:

Everyone is encouraged to participate — bloggers, non-bloggers, all genders, all ages, even pets! Just send a pic of an outfit — selfies and flat lays are also welcome — inspired by this week’s SIA artwork to this week’s curator, me, at by next Tuesday, August 28th. I will then post the SIA round-up on my blog on Wednesday, August 29th.

Also be sure to check out my fellow SIA co-hosts, Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey and Daenel @ Living Outside the Stacks.


2 thoughts on “SIA: Anna Atkins

  1. Pingback: SIA interpretation: Anna Atkins | Librarian for Life and Style

  2. Pingback: SIA round-up: Anna Atkins | Librarian for Life and Style

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