The platinotype (a print made solely of platinum metal salts) was first patented by William Willis in 1873 for the Platinotype Company. They manufactured a large variety of photographic platinum papers as did their competitors Eastman Kodak and Gevaert. It was practiced widely until platinum became too difficult and expensive to source when the British government restricted its use to the production of explosives during World War I. The cheaper and easier to obtain palladium was introduced into the emulsion at this time. After the war, cameras became smaller, producing negatives unsuited for the contact printing done with platinum printing. The process fell into obscurity but resurged in the 1960s as alternative processes gained popularity.*
They are often called the holy grail of photographic printing.
Wide Tonal Range
Between black and white there are endless shades of smooth and nuanced greys. The tonal range opens the shadows of an image and expands the highlights so that more detail can be seen in these extreme parts of the image.
The print is made up of a chemical mixture of the precious metals platinum and palladium, hence the name.
Photographic media is by definition light-sensitive, and platinum palladium is the most permanent and fade-resistant of them. Platinum and palladium are noble metals meaning they are resistant to corrosion and oxidation, common problems with silver and pigment prints. The paper the image sits on will disintegrate before the image changes.
*For more information on the history of platinum palladium printing and the print itself read The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes: Platinotype by Dusan C. Stulik and Art Kaplan.
David Hyams, master printer and our co-founder, has spent his career understanding the chemistry behind these prints, how to control variations, and using digital negatives for consistency, ease, and preventing waste. Some of our capabilities include:
Controlling tonal shifts
Would you like your print to be warmer, cooler, or somewhere in between? We can print to your desired aesthetic.
Platinum palladium prints have a matte surface. We can add a glossy finish with a final coat of gum arabic, enhancing contrast.
Platinum palladium requires contact printing, meaning the negative is not enlarged but printed 1:1 on the paper. With calibrated digital negatives we can take any of your digital images and output the perfect negative for your final print. Print sizes are dependent upon the file size of your digital image.
Our exposure unit allows us to print up to 24x36 inches.
Because our calibrated digital negatives keep us from wasting prints in testing, we are able to pass our savings onto our clients. Our pricing is based on materials costs, your customization requirements, and the market price for platinum and palladium. Because of this we can only provide a basic estimate of pricing on our website. Contact us to discuss your needs or schedule an appointment to visit our lab and samples.
8x10 | $275
11x14 | $375
16x20 | $600
> 16x20 | please inquire
March 2-3, 10am-5pm
The platinotype (a print made solely of platinum metal salts) was first patented by William Willis in 1873 for the Platinotype Company. The cheaper and easier to obtain palladium was introduced into the emulsion during World War I when platinum became valued for its use in explosives. This weekend workshop will focus on this more traditional platinum-centric printing while experimenting with lesser-known techniques for split-toned printing. Students will use digital images to create digital negatives and we will discuss the general philosophies behind adopting a calibrated digital negative workflow for platinum palladium printing.
Workshops have no minimum of enrollment requirement but the maximum is 4 students. We will refund 80% of the fee if you cancel 3 weeks prior to the first day of the workshop and 50% if you cancel 1 week prior to the first day. No refunds will be issued with less than 7 days notice of cancellation.
Interested in another type of class? Here are some of our previous offerings. Join our mailing list at the bottom of the page to stay up-to-date on our workshops. Or, schedule and On-Demand Workshop tailored to your needs.