One of the most prized types of photos for people who collect photography is the platinum/palladium print. These photos are known for their beauty, archival stability and unique, one-of-a-kind print. Made from the salts of platinum and palladium, which are noble metals. The platinum salt emulsions are imbedded into the fibers of the paper by brushing or use of a glass rod.
As with most historical photographic processes, a platinum print is made by placing the negative and emulsion-coated paper in direct contact with each other. Therefore, the size of the photographic print is equal to the size of the negative.
Platinum prints have a different “look” from silver gelatin or digital prints. All platinum prints have a matte finish, no glossy surface. The sensitizer is absorbed into the paper rather than sitting on the surface. A platinum print also has a more gradual tonal change from black to white. To the eye accustomed to the punch of a silver gelatin print or a digital print, a platinum print will often feel much softer. There is actually far more tonal range between pure black and pure white in platinum prints.
My platinum prints are hand coated-mixed emulsions. These sensitizers are mixed just prior to use and coated on the paper with a Japanese Joto Brush or watercolor brush or glass rod. Once dry, a contact negative is placed in direct contact with the paper. It is then exposed to ultraviolet light on a NuArk 26-K Plate Burner. The exposure to the light source takes several minutes or more depending on the density and contrast of the negative.
The image tone of a platinum & palladium print can vary widely in color. These prints can range from a cool, slightly purple black to split tones of brown and warm black, to a very warm brown. The proportions of platinum to palladium in the emulsion, choice of developers and the temperature of the developer control the final color.
Since these emulsions are mixed and coated by hand no two prints are ever exactly the same. Some practitioners of these historic processes leave brush strokes plainly visible. My opinion on this is it depends on the print. I find that some prints seeing the brush marks adds to the artistic expression of the work and sometimes it’s distracting. So I judge it on a print-by-print basis. My goal is to make your prints a beautiful piece of art, not just a photograph. Most of my work can be printed in Platinum/Palladium. I can also make one of your photos into a Platinum Print. Please contact me for prices and sizes and estimated times to complete a work.