Ultra Large Platinum/Palladium prints,
September 4, 2012
Some artist’s require larger platinum prints than the norm, in the past we have printed up to 40×30 inches in platinum and palladium. This is usually the largest size that paper mill’s manufacture cut sheets; to go any larger requires purchasing roll’s however for some papers this is not an option. I have found that every time you go 4 times larger the more challenging the whole process becomes, however with practice one can become proficient.
I recently learned of Renaissance press, a studio based in the U.S that has been producing some of the largest platinum/palladium prints at around 60×40 inches.Run by Paul Taylor for the past 20 years their main speciality is printing exquisite photogravures for some of the worlds leading photographic artists including Sally Mann, Robert Adams, Kenro Izu and Tom Baril.
Speaking to Paul the other day I learnt that the paper they are printing on for these very large platinum prints is custom made and hand crafted by Dieu Donne in NYC. ‘The paper is a blend of abaca and cotton. The oiliness of the abaca fiber does not allow the metal to “sink” into the fibers deeply creating incredibly rich and luminous prints. The paper is prepped for printing by calendering to the desired smoothness using an etching press followed by a delicate gelatin sizing’. The digital negatives are created using standard Piezography K7 Selenium Glossy Inkset, which is quite a new method. Also they are printing gum overlays.
Unfortunatly at present Paul was unable to provide images of the 60x40inch prints however once they are made avaliable i shall post them. They have printed in platinum and silver gelatin for Tom Baril ( Robert Mapplethorpes old printer) and am always interested to see comparisons which are shown below. One can see that the platinum/palladium print exhibits a wider tonal range specifically in the mid to highlight areas of the print and is slightly softer with less contrast than the silver print. (The Histograms below also ilustrate this)