Pt/Pd Processing Steps for Maximum Archivability
What are the key steps to obtain maximum longevity (centuries) of pt/pd prints? I know what these are for silver, but have no idea of pt/pd.
What are papers one can use to achieve maximum longevity? Pt, and for the most part, Pd, are impervious to chemical reaction. So, longevity depends much on the choice of paper. I've heard that Bergger Cot 320 is good. Are there warm colored papers that meet this criteria?
The major step is to make sure that the image is completely cleared of residual ferrous iron.
Other than that, great care must be taken with storage conditions for maximum longevity. If stored in humid conditions all kinds of molds, spores, etc. will grown on the paper, and ultimately destroy the Pt./Pd. image, no matter how stable the metal image may be. For example, I saw some years ago a collection of wonderful bromoil prints, which in theory should be absolutley stable because they consist only of carbon inks on paper, completely destroyed by surface mold and fungi. And this was in Barcelona, Spain, where RH, on average, is much less than it is in most areas of the US.
Even carbon prints, which are without question the most stable of all photographic prints, can be easily destroyed by damage from mold and fungus to the paper surface.
Originally Posted by Neil Poulsen
Remember, that you start with the finest of papers, and that you soak them in things that the mfg never intended them to be put in. Any good quality paper will last a long time. IE print making papers, some drawing papers Japanese papers any high end paper will last.
Just becareful on how you finish the print. Clear in a water bath. Three clearing baths to follow (hypo/clear, EDTA, Sodium sulfite, Hyrdocloric acid any of these, followed by a good wash. Then dry. I have a few friends the resoak the finished print in a buffering bath (?? sodium metaborate??) I think I am sure that you will get lots of answeres.
From time to time I pull a print out of the batch I am working on and tack it to the outside wall of my darkroom to see if it ages well. This sometimes work and sometimes not because friends will come by and take the prints.
Originally Posted by Neil Poulsen
It all comes down to three things.
1. The selection of a quality paper.
2. The proper clearing of ALL ferrous and ferric conmpounds.
3. The removal of all clearing compounds from the paper, and possibly mild buffering.
The paper selection is fairly easily made, as long as you are using a good quality printmaking paper or any of the traditional pt/pd printing papers you will meet that requirement to ny knowledge. Don't try to print on newspaper...
The removal of the iron is the hardest to do, and frankly, most people do not do it enough. It's actually very difficult to remove all the iron compounds form many papers because of the buffers in the paper. Many people attribute substantial warmth to palladium, and while it is warmer than platinum, I think you may find that much of the warmth attributed to palladium is actually connected to the iron, which seems to be a bit more tenacious with the pd salts.
Hold a print that you think is cleared up to a light table and look carefully. The highlights should be just as white as the paper edges. If not, you haven't removed all the iron compoounds. Some people look at the print from the back side on the light table. It is often apparent if there is still iron in the paper.
The removal of the clearing bath solutions is important because many people use some form of acid in clearing, and the acid will eventually yellow and damage the paper with age if it is left in the paper. Some people will do a final bath in a buffering solution to account for this, others will wash the print a very long time.
If you have a PH pen, you can see if the paper comes out acid or not. I once did a test where I checked the PH of an acid cleared and then washed paper to a traditional sodium sulfite cleared paper. Even with the recommended 30 minutes washing, the acid treated paper came out showing some acidity remaining in the paper. SO, it is probably a good idea to always have the last clearing bath be a buffered bath of some kind before going into the wash.
Let me know the next time you are going to pin some prints up and I will come by and leave my opinion in place of the print.
By the way, I now do one more step, I make sure that my initial rinse after development is very slightly acidic. The print appears to clear faster so I assume that when clearing time is up, the print has cleared better.
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