The importance of viewing original prints
March 5, 2012
As a printer if you want to attempt to reach the heights of the masters that have come before, it is important to view and have access to original prints of the particular process you are trying to perfect. The Victoria and Albert museum house some exceptional platinum prints that one can view for as long as you like, the staff are very helpful and the room is usually not that busy.
The museum has around 20 of Irving Penn’s platinum prints that are possible to study in detail. Three years ago when I started to become interested in multi-layer platinum/palladium printing I visited the print room as often as possible. On one occasion I took the book Irving Penn ‘Platinum Prints’ along as reference to compare to the originals. I always thought the reproductions in the book were rather warm when compared to the original prints, which you should be able to see in the photos below. It distilled how important it is to view original prints vs. reproductions in books and preferably not behind glass.
‘Camel Pack’, shown below has a great amount of detail and depth to it, almost three dimensional, undestandably the reproduction does not portray this.
‘Nubile Beauty of Diamare Cameroon’, is a stunning image, the way the texture of the skin is reproduced in the portrait is the best I have seen of any platinum/palladium print.