Over the weekend before Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Center for Alternative Photography's Platinum & Palladium two-day workshop. The workshop was led by Carl Weese and was an all-inclusive beginner crash course on this precise method of printing. I assisted Carl as an intern, helping with the photographic and printing processes quite a bit.
A brief description of the printing method :
Developed in the 1870's, platinum and palladium printing is a contact printing method where an individual sheet of fine art paper is coated with a platinum or palladium (sometimes both) emulsion, exposed to UV light, then developed to reveal a beautiful print (if all goes well). The ideal result is a beautiful print portraying fine variances in tone and color which is composed of tiny particles of non-reactive platinum and palladium embedded within the fine art paper. It is a very sensitive and time consuming process where the photographer / printmaker has enormous control of the print's color, tone, and surface with selections of paper and it's chemical formula along with the selected materials and procedures.
During our workshop, students photographed on 4x5 black and white film, developed the film with Carl, and experimented with many of the platinum / palladium variables including paper types, chemical balances, and exposure times. I'm very happy to have been involved, and hope I can work with the Center for Alternative Photography again!