Multi-Layer Platinum Print Test Results
Having extensively researched the idea of multi-layer platinum prints over the last few months I have finally had a chance to finish some tests and report on the results.
Multi-layered platinum printing was used with great success by the late Irving Penn who created some of the finest platinum prints in existence. This technique should not be confused with double coating, as with this method a print is coated and developed up to three times in succession with different negatives as opposed to coating…waiting..then adding a second coat and then exposing and developing..
I spoke to Richard Sullivan (of Bostick & Sullivan) a few weeks back on what his thoughts were on Penn’s technique using multiple layers of platinum sensitizers in succession and he was of the opinion that Penn was at the time using some quite difficult negatives to print in platinum (specifically colour ones) and thus required a separate number of inter-negatives to be created to achieve the desired result. However this does not take into account the high dmax that Penn’s print achieved ( I am hoping to get an exact reading of one of Penn’s prints in a week or so)
Richard some time ago came up with a similar method to Penn’s which I believe he used for multiple gum prints, however the bond Richard had identified to attach the printing paper to aluminium was reversible whereas Penn’s was not, this was key to me as I don’t wholly like the idea of platinum prints being attached by an adhesive whether it be acid free or not. Bonding the paper to aluminum also had the added benefit of making multiple registration relatively straight forward as the paper remains dimensionally stable.
Anyway enough of the back story, onto the results. I was initially sceptical that Arches Platine would accept 3 successive coats, so did not test or allow for a forth layer, however in hindsight I should of, if I get some time next week I will attempt this.
The pictures below are rather self explanatory, As stated the paper was Arches Platine which is bonded to aluminum, the sensitiser mix was the same for each coat, that being a mix of 1:3 in favour of palladium, exposure time was identical and the print was developed in Potassium Oxalate (70F).
For me personally this technique is a viable option for small prints aswell as larger prints in excess of 20x16 inches. I find with larger prints it is quite difficult to get a good first coat so another layer will always be beneficial. In terms of the final print results the multi-layered platinum prints I have created have a greater depth and richness to those that I have previously only single coated. It also opens up the possibilities of taking advantage of crafting individual negatives for each successive layer as well as mixing layers of just platinum or just palladium, something I have only really touched the surface of but intend to investigate this further over the coming months.
Last edited by Davec101; 09-25-2010 at 09:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Thanks for the explanation & demonstration. In order to keep perfect registration between coating/developing each layer, I presume gluing to a stable base such as aluminum sheet would be required. Seems like alot of work - have you compared the resulting DMax to that of multi-coating?
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
Originally Posted by doughowk
I have yet to achieve significant gains in density with double coating Platine. I must when i get a chance try double coating and multi-layering heavier papers or those more condusive to accepting additional layers of sensitiser.
Thanks for sharing this. I've done up to two coating/exposure cycles when I've felt that a print needed it with the same negative, and have found dMax and contrast to be helped considerably. My print was on Fabriano EW hot press. The neg re-registered perfectly. I'm sure that the oxalic acid presoak before using the paper helped its stability in that regard.
Awesome stuff! thanks for sharing Would you be willing or capable of creating a video demonstrating the process?
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Originally Posted by alexhill
I have been shooting some video of the process over the last week, I have yet to edit it all, here is me coating the second layer ( its quite long, needs editing!). Will post it all once i have some spare time.
Awesome! I can't wait to see the video together totally. Watching a video like this can save someone who is trying to learn (and could in turn innovate) a lot of time. http://www.ted.com/talks/chris_ander...nnovation.html
Thanks indeed for sharing this great info.
Nice work - thanks for the show and tell.
Idle speculation while in my car this morning... might there be a way to lay down a selective resist on the lighter areas of the print after the first cycle, so only the dark parts take up sensitizer when re-coating? Just a thought, but could save $$ on a big print.
Originally Posted by Ben Altman
I did not think of that, by selective resist what exactly where you thinking of using? It would be possible to localise where you coat second and third layers, maybe if a coating template for a particular print was created although this does seem rather long winded and the template would have to be quite precise. In the grand scheme of things, if you are producing palladium rich prints, multilayering 3 times is only equivalent to actually one platinum rich print, or if one is using na2 I dont see it as being overly extravagant.
Last edited by Davec101; 09-29-2010 at 01:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.