Fabulous Fotos: Timeless Beauty

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Serene view of a sailing vessel on water in Hampton, Virginia.
Armstrong Point, Hampton, Virginia, ca.1910. The Mariners’ Museum #P0001.008-02-APH03-027.

Cyanotypes can evoke a timeless quality, particularly when the subject matter is similarly aligned. This delicate image is all the more beautiful because of this process.

The cyanotype is one of the earliest photographic processes. Invented by England’s Sir John Herschel in 1842, it came to be known as the blueprint process (as in architectural plans). Photographs were contact printed (the final image is the same size as the original negative), exposed to sunlight, and developed with water.

Armstrong Point, also known at the time as Blackbeard’s Point, was a small outcropping of land at the mouth of the Hampton River, just west of Hampton University. The Herbert House is visible in the distance. Samuel Chapman Armstrong was a champion for education and the founder of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, now Hampton University.

To learn more about Samuel Chapman Armstrong and his legacy, check out this blog by John V. Quarstein.

The Fabulous Fotos series focuses on the odd, the curious, and/or the purely lovely photographs to be found in The Mariners’ Museum and Park Photograph Collection.