Platinum/palladium printing is almost as old as photography itself, but it did not become really practical until the late 1800's. Its extensive tonal range, and the fact that the platinum/palladium mixture embeds itself in the paper it does not mask the surface texture of the paper. This results in a tactile experience akin to water color painting.
|The Penumbra Foundation is located at 36 East 30th Street in Manhattan.|
Platinum printing is a mechanical process not too difficult to master, but prepping a negative is another story. In some respects made more difficult because it is a bit counter-intuitive for those of use already familiar with silver-based black & white darkroom printing.
|Carl working with one of the class members to prepare a digital negative of a scanned image. The negative for contact printing prints out nicely on an Epson 3880 printer using either Pictorico or Fixxons transparency medium.|
|Class participants going over the process of creating a negative.|
|Platinum or Palladium or a combination of the two are mixed with ferric oxilate to make them more reactive to light. Even so the mixture is only responsive to long exposures to a strong UV light source. We ended up with a 7 minute exposure time.|
|The platinum/palladium is applied to the surface with either a brush or glass rod.|
|Once the paper is sufficiently dried it is sandwiched with the negative and exposed in a UV box -- in our case, for 7 minutes.|
|Now for the fun part. The exposed print is dropped into a tray and the developed immediately poured over it. Talk about instant gratification: The image appears immediately, although it takes a 90 seconds to fully mature.|
|Here the prints are being treated to a series of water and fixing baths after being developed.|
|Hang them to dry and you're done. Nice thing is that platinum prints are much more impervious to curling than silver prints,, and are ready to go as soon as they are air dried.|
|Negatives are made on a computer using Photoshop or other suitable post-processing software. The file is printed on transparency material on a printer like the Epson 3880, and finally the print is made by direct contact with the negative.|
|One of the platinum prints I made this weekend of a digital photo taken with the Fuji X-T1 of a Leica 1 from 1931.|