Happy birthday to the first female photographer, Anna Atkins, born on this day 217 years ago. This is a cyanotype photogram she made and published in her 1843 book, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions.
A historic landmark in both publishing and photography, Photographs of British Algae is the first photographic work by a woman, and the first book produced entirely by photographic means.
Atkins was an amateur botanist interested in scientific illustration and taxonomy. She produced Photographs of British Algae as a visual companion to William Harvey’s unillustrated 1841 publication Manual of British Algae.
Atkins explained “The difficulty of making accurate drawings of objects as minute as many of the Algae and Confera, has introduced me to avail myself of Sir John Herschel’s beautiful process of Cyanotype, to obtain impressions of the plants themselves.”