View Full Version : platinum priniting

31-Jan-2002, 00:14
I would appreciate any information with regards to where I can purchase "PALLADI O" papers for contact printing. I have tried albeit unsuccesfully to contact the Palladio Company in Boston that used to make the papers. Maybe the company is out of business. I am not yet rea dy to start coating my own papers. I just want to try this out and see whether t his is for me.

Thank you.

Mo Kenny

Natha Congdon
31-Jan-2002, 01:23
Two points worth making:

1. Unfortunately, this paper has been unavailable for about two years, the ostensible reason being that the stock paper they use has become unsuitable for use in Platinum printing, unfortunately not a rare occurence. There are currently no pre-coated Platinum papers available, and I think the chances of there being any available soon are quite slim. Anybody with knowledge to the contrary is welcome to chime in!

2. Hand-coating the paper is really not all that difficult, is very enjoyable in that it greatly contributes to one's sense of pride in creating a "hand-made" object, and, most importantly, represents the simplest way of controlling contrast and warmth of tone in the process.

I just started printing in Pt in the last few months, and have rapidly become addicted! I would recommend you buy Arentz's book, or the Sullivan/Weese one, and get a kit from Bostick + Sullivan, including some Platinotype paper for hand-coating. It is possible to get VERY satisfying results pretty early on the learning curve if you have appropriate negs (or if you use pyro, as I do), though, as the old saw goes, the process is like chess in that there is a lifetime of learning involved in exploring all the subtleties and variations (not that I can speak to that yet from personal experience!) I would HIGHLY encourage you to jump in and give it a try, feel free to email me if you have further questions, though Carl Weese, a MUCH more experienced Pt/Pd printer is a regular on this forum as well and will likely have something to add to this thread.

Good luck, Nathan

J.L. Kennedy
31-Jan-2002, 01:46
I, too, am interested in platinum printing. Can someone give a brief descriptio n of the process of coating one's own paper? A description of any other ways th at the process differs from silver printing would also be appreciated.

Scott Walton
31-Jan-2002, 09:48
Surprisingly, the Palladio Co is still in business but they aren't that good at returning phone calls or anything! Bad business practices if you ask me... If it isn't to aggrevating, keep trying to reach them.

Joe Lipka
31-Jan-2002, 10:18
Briefly the difference between silver and platinum is money. You need a large negative (pt/pd is contact printing only). So, either a large camera or an enlarged negative is needed. Light source for enlarging is ultraviolet light. The chemistry is different, and ruined by contamination with silver chemistry, so you need a entirely different set of darkroom trays, beakers, thermometers etc. You need to buy paper and chemicals which are expensive. Think in terms of $2-3 dollars per print (5x7 or 8x10)in the cost of paper and emulsion only. Visit the Bostick & Sullivan web site for instructions on how to coat paper. That's all I needed to learn how to hand coat. Is there any good news? Yes, you can use a 40 watt yellow "bug bulb" as a safelight in your darkroom. The Pt/Pd print developer has a very long life - measured in years, not weeks or months.

Carl Weese
31-Jan-2002, 13:40

The step-by-step illustrated coating instructions I did for the book The New Platinum Print should be available on the B&S website. That should get you started. It isn't difficult, but it does take practice. You might try practicing with cyanotype (dirt cheap) before launching into expensive Pt/Pd materials.

Natha Congdon
31-Jan-2002, 13:53
To answer Mr. Kennedy's question WRT coating: either a rod or a brush can be used, with the rod reducing your use of $ chemicals by about 25%. I have only used the rod: mix your chemicals to get the warmth and contrast you want, squirt them along your glass rod with a syringe, then move the rod across the paper, pushing the puddle of fluid ahead of it. It seems to me the drier the climate, the faster you want to push, else the stuff sinks in pretty quickly, but the motion is always smooth and pretty deliberate. At a humidity of 35% or so, where I am now, you will get a smooth, even coating after 4-5 back and forth passes. Let it sink in for 2-5 minutes, dry with a hair dryer on cool, then you're ready to print. Takes about 3-5 minutes to mix up the chemicals, 1 minute to do the actual coating, 2- 5 for drydown as mentioned above. Some prefer the brush for the distinctive black brushmarks at the edge of the print, though I find the irregular black border created by the rod appealing as well.

Lest the posts in this thread leave you with the sense that Pt printing is just like silver, except harder to do and more costly (eg, a bizarre form of masochism!), many experienced printers describe it as one of the most beautiful printing processes available. The tonal range is much longer than for silver (up to 11+ stops), rendition of highlight tones is particularly delicate, with very little tendency to blow out your highlights as in silver. As one prints on various art papers (ability to select a variety of surfaces is another Pt plus!), the surface is invariably matt, giving slightly less D-max in the blacks and "shininess" in the highlights compared to most silver papers. Though this might initially strike the eye as "low contrast", on closer inspection the separation of tones across the range from light to mid to dark is noticeably more than with silver. Generally, the tone is also much warmer than with most silver papers, though this can be controlled to a great extent, esp with the printing out process known as a ziatype.

The word "delicate" is often used to describe Platinum prints, which certainly corresponds to my experience of them. Add to this the distinctive appearance of the handmade print and the art paper surface, and many people (myself included) find Pt prints irresistably beautiful.

The cost of Pt prints can be reduced rather significantly by using a mixture of Platinum and Palladium, with very similar, some (Arentz) would say, even more beautiful results. Palladium currently costs half what Pt does, though the price is very high just now due to interuptions in the Russian supply. It can go as low as one quarter the cost of Pt.

Good luck, give it a try!


31-Jan-2002, 21:56
While we're on this subject, I'm trying to find the company that makes those beautiful ultra violet light boxes and drying racks etc. I've found their web site once but can't seem to find it again. Any ideas?

Joe Lipka
1-Feb-2002, 10:07
Try Edwards Engineered Products. http://www.eepjon.com/

Tim Kimbler
1-Feb-2002, 14:38
If your new at this you may try brown prints. I've been printing brown prints, and AZO prints from 8X10 negatives for several months. I've only been at this for about 2 years. Brown prints are simple and look great. Azo prints have more of a traditional look, but easy to make. I'm about ready to jump into Pt prints.

J.L. Kennedy
2-Feb-2002, 02:26
Thanks, Nathan. That was exactly the amount of information I was looking for.