Commercial viability of platinum paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by MichaelR, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. MichaelR

    MichaelR Member

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    I have always loved the look of platinum prints but, as I use a rental darkroom in NYC, coating and drying papers has not been a practical option for me. I would imagine that I am not alone and I was wondering if there might be enough interest in commercially prepared platinum papers to make it worthwhile for a company,such as Ilford, to consider making such a product. It would seem that not only would this be of interest to large format photographers, but now that large negatives can be digitally generated, it might also be of interest to small and medium format users, as well as those who start with digital capture. If Simon Galley notices this post, perhaps Ilford could consider the possibility.
    With best wishes to all for a happy new year
    Michael
     
  2. WetMogwai

    WetMogwai Member

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    I can't imagine there would be enough demand for that. Besides that, I wouldn't want to use it if they did make it. I love platinum, but part of the attraction is the imperfection that makes each print unique. I would expect commercial paper to be as evenly coated as normal photo paper. Also, since you mix the emulsion based on the contrast required to make the print you want, I would expect there would have to be a wide range of papers that you would have to keep around, making it very expensive to do and harder for the companies to justify making.
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Michael,

    You don't really need a darkroom to coat and dry platinum or palladium. It can be done under incandescent lighting since the sensitizing solution is activated with ultra-violet light. Drying can be done by air drying or a blow dryer. You would contact print with a printing frame and uv lightbox or for that matter the sun. Processing and washing in trays also under incandescent light such as a 40watt bulb. I use large format 4x5, enlarged negatives from that or mf on to x-ray duplicating film (that takes a darkroom) as well as digitally enlarged negatives from scanned film.

    Check with Bostick and Sullivan. They might still offer a starter kit to give it a try.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. WetMogwai

    WetMogwai Member

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    jeffreyg, which transparencies do you use? I've never printed transparencies on inkjet before. I've had problems with the ink ever drying on some paper with my Epson 2200, so I'm a bit reluctant to jump right in and try without hearing from others so I can avoid buying something that may end up being useless. I shoot 4x5, but I'd like to do platinum prints as large as 11x14 if I can, though I can't afford a camera and film that big at the moment.
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Robert
    I use Pictorico OHP Transparency Film with an Epson 2200 set for matte paper. The film is available in different sizes so for the 2200 you could use 11x17 or 13x19. I use a PhotoShop plugin from Dan Burkholder that I tweak to make the negatives. If you do have a darkroom the duplicating film makes a really nice negative.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    If it were made I'd use it. I'd like the uniformity of a commercial Platinum paper. If Printing-Out Paper was once again commercailly made I'd use it too.
     
  7. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    There used to be a beautiful pre coated platinum/palladium paper from the Palladio Co. I'm not sure why they stopped making it.
    While I agree that coating is half the fun it was a cool little paper. At the time I was adding varying amounts of hydrogen peroxide to the developer to change contrast.

    I believe POP paper is available at http://www.altphotoproducts.com/ although I haven't tried it. Yet...
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  9. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    Thanks for the link David, now I do remember the occasional black spot. Great paper.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I do not recommend blow drying platinum paper at home (or anywhere, really). The platinum dust that flies off can cause a very nasty form of asthma. It took me 5 years of printing to develop asthma from it...I foolishly did not wear a simple cloth dust mask that would have prevented it (everyone will react differently to the dust, of course).

    If one has children in the home, this dust will be spread around the house.

    Air-dry with a fan (but not blasting on it) actually improved my prints, too (better control of moisture levels between prints). A light tight drying box can be made, but I just tack the wet paper on the wall.
     
  11. MichaelR

    MichaelR Member

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    Thanks for all of your replies. Frankly, I still don't think I have the wherewithall to get involved in coating my own paper, but I am still very intrigued by the process and would love to be able to buy a commercially available product. I was hoping that this thread might catch the eye of Simon Galley and inspire Ilford to consider the possibility.

    Best wishes to all for the new year,
    Michael
     
  12. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Mike-

    coating your own is VERY easy. Again, it can be done in modest room light, and if you're worried about even, consistent coating, you can use a glass rod instead of a brush. Humidity control is a major factor against commercial platinum paper - back in the day, they would make the stuff, completely dessicate it, and then seal it in a metal tube. You got it home, opened the tube, and then had to re-humidify the paper for an extended period of time to revive it. Much less of a pain in the ass to just coat your own and have enough moisture in the paper at the time of printing because you coated just-in-time. Or I'm sure there are some folks here who would be happy to print it for you for a modest fee if you sent them the negatives.
     
  13. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    there were at one time many coated platinum papers available in the store....easy off the shelf beats homemade anytime....hence doing lots more lodima vs platinum printing....why...the prints tell the story!!! im using it if it is Here!!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I997 using Tapatalk 2
     
  14. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Hi Michael et al.

    Whilst I think they look fantastic, We would never make a platinum / Palladium product. The volumes would not be any where near commercially viable.

    Kind Regards

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology LImited :
     
  15. MichaelR

    MichaelR Member

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    Thanks you everyone for your suggestions. While I am sorry to hear that Ilford would not be interested in making such a paper, I really do appreciate Mr. Galley's reply and his responsiveness. I must say that I am learning the Ilford Art 300 paper and it is a truly fantastic product. Matched to the right image, it gives wonderful results. Regards to all
    Michael
     
  16. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    Sounds like an opportunity for a cottage industry to me.
     
  17. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Mr. Shrager is right. At one time, platinum papers were available. I think Irving Penn used pre-coated paper until it wasn't available.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another reason for not commercially coating platinum/palladium paper: cost vs. waste. Especially with folks getting into printing odd size images like 5x12, 7x17 or even odder sizes and proportions like 5x8, 4x10, or custom sizes like Kenro Izu's 14x20 camera, if you buy pre-coated paper, pretty quickly you'll be screaming about the cost of the wasted metal salts not getting turned into images. To take an extreme example, if you wanted to print a 7x17, you'd probably have to buy a 20x24 sheet and cut it in three strips of 8x20. That's 41 square inches of wasted platinum, or enough material to coat a 5x7 print and then a bit - almost $3 worth of palladium, nearly $7.50 worth of platinum.
     
  19. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    Ilford Art 300 is of course a different animal than pt/pd, but I am really hooked on it. To me the surface is reminiscent of gum over pt.