Monday, December 05, 2011

Blog Notes: this weekend's plaltinum workshop

New York, New York

The entry at 36 East 30th Street this weekend.


A couple prints from the workshop on the drying screens Sunday afternoon.

Calling the workshop "platinum printing" doesn't get it quite right, because we go through the entire process from start to finish. Saturday morning we begin by shooting ten 4x5 negatives, looking for scenes (on the roof of the workshop building and in the large daylight studio inside) that will demonstrate or test the main attributes of the platinum medium, while I explain how to meter each situation for optimum exposure. Then I develop the film, showing the class how to use the very simple method of tray development in PMK pyro. No fancy equipment needed, just three trays, a water supply, and a darkened room. Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday everyone gets to print from the negatives, learning the basic printing skills and experimenting with different papers and coating formulas to see how they will vary the results from our new negatives.

2 comments:

Neil Partridge said...

I love the look of platinum prints that I see every so often on your blog, and the TOP blog. Could someone attend one of these workshops as a complete beginner? (I'll disregard for the moment the fact I live in the UK). Also, is there a way to get from a digital "negative" to a platinum print or similar?

Carl said...

Neil, yes, the workshop is designed so that a beginner gets a full introduction to the process, while someone already familiar with sheet film and view cameras learns how to modify what they already know to aim at platinum printing.

It is possible to make platinum prints from digitally-generated negatives from inkjet printers on transparent media, though so far I'm less than thrilled by the results I've seen. It will keep getting better. I will be experimenting with the digital end of this over the winter. You can make these starting from a scan of a negative, or from a digital capture. But from a capture you'll be limited to the dynamic range the sensor can handle, which loses one of the great virtues of the traditional approach, which is the ability to handle subjects with a vast range of subject brightness.