I taught a workshop last year at Cone Editions Press in Vermont. A wonderful group of photographers and printmakers gathered for four days and learned about the nuances of making platinum/palladium prints. We used methods designed by Cone Editions for making negatives with state of the art digital technologies, and combined these with my standard way of making platinum/palladium prints. The location, a dream studio space, delicious food, inspiring conversation and images, and the deep expertise of Cone Edition’s staff combined to make this one of the most rewarding workshops I have ever guided. Much to my delight, I have been asked back this year.
Here are scans of some of the prints made by each participant at the Cone Editions workshop. The files have not been processed in any significant way (the only deviation from my standard being that I copied them with a digital camera instead of a scanner), and were all captured along with a color swatch which is shown in the set of prints by Emily Gomez.
Emily Gomez made a set of three prints from the same negative, using exactly the same sensitizer, paper, and processing after exposure. The only variation from one print to the next was in the degree to which each print was hydrated prior to exposure. In other words, the amount of water molecules in the paper varied. This formula for platinum/palladium printing renders a ‘print-out’ effect–the image appears as the print is exposed to ultra-violet. Print-out relies on the presence of water molecules in the sensitized paper. The more water present (hydration), the more print-out there is. Conversely, with less hydration of the paper, the more the image ‘develops up’ when it is placed in a clearing bath of EDTA disodium salt after exposure. Even more remarkably, as demonstrated here, the print’s color is related to hydration prior to exposure, ranging from a reddish brown (less hydration) to slightly warm to almost a blue-black (maximum hydration). Read more about the print-out formula and hydration, or watch this video.