Exploring Light in Shadow: An Ecological Art Therapy Approach Using Cyanotype Photography

by Geri Nolan Hilfiker

This thesis will explore the question of how does cyanotype photography integrate into an eco art therapy practice. It was discovered that it can provide an opportunity for individuals to interact in meaningful ways with nature and help to facilitate self-discovery, self-awareness and healing. Cyanotype originated in the early days of photographic history and was considered as a pictorial form of art making. It retains these pictorial characteristics through an unassuming creative process. Contemporary artists refer to cyanotype as an alternative photographic practice. The introduction of cyanotype photography as a new technique within the approach of eco art therapy formed the foundation of this research. As a qualitative study utilizing grounded theory methodology, theories and concepts are brought forward and discussed in this research paper. In particular, how cyanotype with its experimental and intuitive abilities can challenge or alter perspectives to develop creativity and offer potential to reflect on our interrelationship with nature by interacting with natural materials to create imagery.