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The Platinum Print
For people who collect photographs, platinum/palladium prints are known for their beauty, archival stability and unique, one-of-a-kind print statement. Platinum/palladium prints are the holy grail of photographic print making. Made from the salts of platinum and palladium, these prints are also called “platinotypes” or “platinum” prints. Platinum and palladium are noble metals on the Periodic Table and are resistant to oxidation.
Platinum prints have a different “look” from silver gelatin or digital prints. A platinum print has a more gradual tonal change from black to white. To the eye accustomed to the punch of a silver gelatin print, a platinum print will often feel “softer” or lower in contrast. In reality there are actually more steps between pure black and pure white in platinum prints than in a silver gelatin print. This contributes to the deeper, richer feeling you experience when looking at these prints.
For the most beautiful tonal range achievable
Our platinum printing is an entirely handcrafted process. It begins in our darkroom by preparing a light sensitive solution, which contains platinum and palladium salts. This solution is brushed on to specially selected art paper, dried and exposed in contact with a negative to ultra-violet light. The exposed paper is placed in developer, where metal salts are reduced back to a metallic state forming the image. It is then carried through a series of clearing baths. The print that emerges from the final wash consists of nothing but particles of precious metals permanently embedded in the fibers of the paper.
Platinum emulsion has a unique response to light resulting in the most beautiful tonal range in black & white photography. This also happens to be the only true archival photographic process. As these emulsions are mixed and coated by hand, no two prints are exactly alike. I like to think of them as “monotype” prints from the same negative. Some practitioners of these historic processes leave brush strokes plainly visible. My goal is to make prints as smooth as possible, but occasionally brush strokes can be seen in some of the prints. They should be seen as the marks of the artist.
Platinum prints not only have a great tonal range, but also significantly outlast any other form of photographic print processes with a permanence that can last a millennium. As a result, platinum prints have become a favorite for fine art collectors and photographers alike.