Hand-crafted, signed, platinum-palladium prints on a variety of papers and made by the photographyer are available for select images found in the Platinum Prints. For more about the platinum print process, see below. Please use the to discuss the purchase of a print.
Archival pigment inkjet prints in a variety of sizes are also available for most of the photographs. These prints are made on high quality fine art paper that will last a lifetime. Black and white prints are made using a special ink set to create fine gradations in tone.
All prints are available as prints only or framed. Pleasethe photographer to discuss options or get a price quote.
The platinum print process creates amazingly beautiful monochromatic prints with a great tonal range and a unique quality which has long been prized by numerous photographers. The platinum print is made by hand, contact printed from a negative the size of the final image. Unlike the standard gelatin silver print we are familiar with, platinum prints are true matte prints because the precious metal (platinum and often palladium) that makes the image is actually embedded in the paper, rather than on a gelatin or other emulsion applied to the paper. This also produces a slightly softer look with the print taking on the texture of the underlying paper, yet the prints possess a great richness and depth that contribute greatly to their beauty. The platinum print images on this website are scans of orginal prints. Not all the qualities of the original prints are fully realized in the scanned images. The exquisite allure of the platinum print is best appreciated by looking at the real thing.
The platinum process dates to 1873, when British inventor William Willis took out a patent for his original process. Over the next few years he improved it and began selling pre-coated papers. Platinum prints became an important means of making photographic prints for the next several decades. However, the price of platinum had risen greatly by early in the 20th century and constraints of supply arose during World War I. Platinum printing largely died away, with only a few devoted photographers continuing to use it. When World War II came, and wartime constraints intervened once again, very few were left using the process. In recent decades the process has seen something of a small revival. While the visual appeal of these prints has no doubt partially propelled this revival, no small part of the renewed interest in the technique is to be found in the element of each print being a unique, hand-crafted expression in an era where the digital image, and its many advantages, dominates photography.
Besides their beauty, platinum prints have another interesting characteristic. They are the most archival of all photographic processes, since platinum and palladium are highly stable metals that do not corrode. The prints, if properly cleared and washed, will potentially last many centuries, as long as the high quality paper on which they are printed.
My platinum prints start with a digital photograph. This offers many freedoms that the photographers of the platinum print’s heyday did not have. The digital darkroom allows for many possibilities of making adjustments that would be impossible or painstakingly difficult in completely analog photography. Further, the digital photographer making platinum prints has the advantage of being able to freely choose the size of one’s print. To make a platinum print, my digital photographs are processed and adjusted in the computer and then converted to a black and white image. I then print this as a negative on a high quality inkjet transparency, using a dedicated set of graduated shades of black capable of printing both black and white positive photographs on paper and negatives on film. Then it’s to the laboratory to make the actual print.
In the lab, the paper is hand coated with a solution of a light-sensitive iron compound and platinum and palladium salts. This is spread across the surface by brush or a glass rod and allowed to dry. Once dry, the negative is placed on the coated paper and enclosed in a contact printing frame. This frame has a glass front and a hinged back held in place by large springs, keeping the negative and paper in place and in close contact with one another. The paper and negative are then exposed to ultraviolet light, either from an artificial source or the sun. All this can be done in subdued light, because the chemistry is sensitive to ultraviolet but not highly sensitive to most of the visual spectrum. Exposure times depend on the light source, the density of the negative, the particulars of the solution used, and so on.
When removed from the printing frame, the paper is then developed. It is put in a clean, dry tray used only for developing platinum prints, and the developing solution is quickly poured over the paper. This causes a reaction with the iron compound changed by its reaction to light which reduces the platinum and palladium salts to pure elemental forms and permanently embeds them in the paper fibers. The print is then carefully cleared of all iron in a series of chemical baths and washed before being hung up to dry. The result, if all went well, is a stunningly beautiful and unique monochromatic print which will last for hundreds of years.
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