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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Platinum Printing Workshop

The Group and Mascot

Some Prints from first of the Week

More Prints

Negatives in front of Prints

Canyon Diablo

Assisted at a Platinum printing workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico last week at Don Messec's studio. He run numerous workshops that involve printmaking, and food, in Santa Fe at

Platinum printmaking goes back to the start of photography in the 1800's. During WW1 the need for Platinum for the war stopped the use of it for photo papers and Silver papers were developed. In recent times artists started using the old formulas from the 1800's to hand coat paper and again make beautiful Platinum  prints. Platinum printing is a contact printing process. You must have a negative the same size as the print. With film that meant large view cameras, the largest I have used took a 11x14 inch sheet of film. In recent years several methods have been used to make negatives from digital files using inkjet printers and color inks. Platinum is exposed with UV light so the negatives had to work with UV light  and were made using color to block the UV light resulting in a difficult and complex process.

One of the workshops at Don's is Jon Cones who has developed a number of ink sets with seven shades of grey to make black and white prints. One of his ink sets had been used to make continuous tone negatives for various alternative processes. These negatives use carbon pigments and look and work like film negatives do. He also developed profiles that would also make negatives which work for platinum negatives.

 Last year I took my platinum chemicals and met him at his workshop in Santa Fe. He made a negative which on the first try made a good print. Since then Don and I have spent many days in my studio making negatives and prints, developing a work flow that was reliable and could be used to teach the process.

This was the first Platinum printing workshop at Don's and from the first day everyone was making great prints. The first photo shows the class holding some of their prints. Don is in the middle and 2ed from the left is Michael Trupiano. Michael is the guy you want around if you have any computer problem. Jim's dog also came with him from Kentucky to offer his critique.

One day we went to Diablo Canyon to get out of the studio and photograph. For a while it looked like the canyon may live up to its name as on the long dirt road in we met a Sheriff Vehicle coming out. It was followed by a State Police Vehicle then an official looking vehicle with CSI written on it in large letters. The canyon was quiet and peaceful, never found out what had happened.

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