Yes, high max with platinum is quite considerably lower than with silverbromide. I have read people noting that one advantage of Kodak Azo was that you get a tonality on a par with platinum, but a higher d-max.
Originally Posted by keithwms
I also would not describe the effect of a platinum print as three-dimensional, even though the noble metal particles are adhere to the paper fibres. I remember Mike Ware has somewhere some interesting electron microscope pictures published somewhere - might be of chrysotypes, but they work pretty much the same way.
Platinum paper must also not be too absorbent, or the image becomes flat.
Regarding the special quality of pt/pd, that seems also to have to do with the way these noble metals reflect light. I don't remember the physical details, something like a linear reflection across the spectre, but I remember a printer who died in an accident some years ago, John Rudiak, writing something like: the best platinum prints seem to emanate light from themselves. This is, I think, a very good description of their special quality, particularly of their highlights - if they are executed properly. And according to my experience, this quality is also noted by people who have no idea of platinum prints, and no special idea of photography (this is somewhat against the notion that the difference between a platinum print and a silver print is only noticeable to the specialist - even though I remember to have seen once or twice a historical silver print which I have mistaken for a platinum print)
I wonder whether this quality is also visible in Azo prints. I cannot tell. I have not been able to study original Azo prints to this end.
Interesting. That is the first I'd heard about the particles having a special reflection characteristic. If somebody can tell me what the sizes of the particles are and their chemical state, I can look into it. I do spectroscopy on such things professionally.
Originally Posted by Lukas Werth
Back to the O.P..... the very special thing about handcoating is that you can pick your paper (and it doesn't even have to be paper). The final result, be it Pt/Pd/silver, a cyanotype or a whatevertype, is highly individual. Setting aside he look completely, the individuality and 'proprietariness' (I still need to find a better word for what I mean) of the print can be very important.
Depending on paper and humidity it is possible to achieve a pretty high Dmax with Pt/Pd. Silver paper usually appears, however, to have a higher Dmax when all things are equal because of the reflective qualities inherent to the gelatin layer, with glossy prints getting the most Dmax boost compared to the absolute matte effect of coating a watercolor paper, and also because Pt/Pd is very generous in offering details in the darkest parts of a print, which is one of the unique and beautiful aspects of the process. Properly executed, the tonal scale is very long as a result of long shoulder and toe. I believe this character is a contributer some prints "the 3d effect", however IME it is most notable in prints that have bright subjects against dark backgrounds, and not limited to Pt/Pd alone, but prevalent in many kinds of fine printing that have been printed by folks who understand the kind of negative and printing that gives the effect. Large format silver gelatin contact prints often exhibit the same effect with the right subject and printing. I think perhaps the detail inherent in the contact print is a larger factor than the emulsion, particularly when enhanced by contrasting areas of light and dark with good detail in both.
Last edited by JBrunner; 11-21-2009 at 10:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The DMax of Pt/Pd can be increased greatly by applying a coat of resin/varnish etc. The surface texture controls the Dmax; if you get diffuse reflection at the surface then you can't get high DMax.
Regarding the 3D look... let us not forget that many/most Pt/Pd prints are LF contact prints made with lenses that have some special characteristics. You can certainly get a similar 3D look with silver. It's not like so many printmakers were willign to give up print depth just because silver is cheaper than platinum. On the contrary, the historical drift of photography away from larger formats and contact prints may well be the bigger issue, I think. Smaller gear is more 'convenient' and gives enlarged prints that most find perfectly acceptable... Personally, I find the in/out-of focus tonal transitions in a (big!) negative to be the main contributor to the 3D look.
Last edited by keithwms; 11-21-2009 at 10:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I have heard of some folks waxing platinum prints. Certainly an appealing idea for certain effects, however I wonder if the wax would last near as long as the print, and what would happen if and when it breaks down.
Originally Posted by keithwms
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The are some notes around about Strand's varnished prints yellowing. But there are modern potions (acrylate etc) that will almost certainly not turn colour nor degrade. Recently, I am playing with sandarac, which gives a relatively minor change, but does give an interesting glint and slightly more punchy deep tones. Smells like cheap perfume, unfortunately. I will try PMMA next.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
These are deep waters. What we are doing with notions like 3-D-effect is to find words for very subjective perceptions when looking at original prints, without actually being able to refer to particular prints in the communication. Still, I think there is a point to be made. Contact printing of large format negatives should inteed contribute very much to the special quaity of platinum prints, and certainly brome silver contact prints also may have a distinct quality. Also, it is sometimes next to impossible to distinguish between a platinum print and a salt print. I seem, however, to be able to get this special alternative or platinum quality also with properly executed enlarged negatives (made, of course, from original large format negs).
Gold seems to me to be able to form a higher d-max than palladium or platinum (I am aware of the indeed important issues of paper and humidity, though). I think this is one reason why platinum prints were sometimes gold-toned. This is also visible for me when I tone alterative silver prints (salt prints, kallitypes) with gold, and, of course, with chrysotypes at high humidities.
Regarding varnishing: I have seen this discussed here, and I had the impression of running into some ideological barbed wire at the time. According to my perception, a careful varnish may considerably enhance the luminosity of, say, a platinum prints. It not only enhances the perceived d-max, but also renders visible some shadow details which otherwise fal below the threshhold of visibility. The issue of absolute permanence is there, however, and some varnishes crack very easily on paper, or leave visible traces where the paper has been dented.
Well from the literature I am thumbing through by Dick Arentz on platinum printing, one uses a pyro negative. He shows a side by side comparison of silver with pyro versus platinum with pyro, and the silver example is very similar to my own experiences.
I believe that some of the staining in pyro helps with the 3d aspect in the shadow regions, but I'm very excited to see the shadow detail open up with platinum so the quest goes on.
It's also exciting to hear that one can build up on the layers of fiber in the paper to help enhance the 3d effect, as well as the built in luminesence of the metal itself that adds to uniqueness of the medium. Can one print platinum on stretched canvas? That would be grand.
Lukas - I don't think there's anything too deep about it - I think it's just about how we feel.
Thank you all so much for the replies - I have a platinum kit on the way and it will be a wonderful next step in detail separation.
Last edited by WolfTales; 11-22-2009 at 12:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I brake for fixer!
Moe than anything, the Pyro stain adds density where UV is concerned, helping a neg achieve the thickness needed for Pt/Pd without blocking up.
Originally Posted by WolfTales
As far as "3d effect" it will depend more on the image than anything else, and the idea is subjective at best.
One can print on all sorts of material, but given the expense, things that soak up emulsion are generally avoided.
That said, once you dial your process printing Pt will be somewhat of a revelation. It really is a beautiful medium. My best advice is to start small, and enjoy!