Studio Update (Early 2013)

January 24, 2013

It’s been a busy couple of months working on some exciting projects. We recently completed a portfolio of eight platinum/palladium prints for the Royal Anthropological Institute in conjunction with the British Museum. The imagery features the tribes people of Papua New Guinea photographed in the 1930’s by Lady Vera Broughton, the wife of Walter Guinness, the 1st Baron Moyne on their famous tour of the islands. Working with the Guinness and Verney family on this commision has been a real pleasure and I will highlight some of the prints created in an upcoming post.

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The snapshot image above shows a small sample of projects we are currently working on in the studio. New platinum prints from Stefan Milev, originally shot with the recently released Impossible 10×8 inch large format instant film. Look out for an upcoming article in Black and White photography magazine on instant film that I recently finished writing.  Entitled ‘Instant & Forever’ it will feature imagery and platinum prints created by DC Editions from Stefan Milev, Sarah Moon & Wendy Bevan, all photographic artists who have become synonymous with the Polaroid/Instant Film aesthetic over the years and have turned to alternative photographic printing process to reproduce their instant imagery.

We are also working on new larger platinum/palladium prints for Kristen & Mark Sink whose stunning wet plate collodion imagery has previously been highlighted on this blog together with two new exquisite platinum prints from Paul Coglin’s ‘Behind the Eyes’ series. Noteworthy commissions completed recently include a 40×30 inch platinum/palladium print of an iconic image of model Gisele Bundchen shot by photographer Rankin, shown below in its final clearing bath. Will provide some more updates from the studio over the coming weeks.


Gisele Sparkly 1995, Rankin, Platinum Palladium Print, 40×30 inches

Its been a busy few months where we have been working with a number of talented photographic artists some of which will be highlighted in forthcoming posts. One exciting project is the creation of a portfolio of platinum prints for photographers Mark Sink & Kristen Hatgi.  Collaborating for the past four years the couple have created a series of images that are almost like windows into an intimate, romantic, beautiful world of faces, still lives, nudes and landscapes. They are some of the most stunning wet plates I have come across and have translated beautifully into platinum prints. I recently wrote an article on their work which can be viewed here

Below shows two from the set that have been scanned from the original prints, more to follow :


Megan, Hatgi & Sink, Platinum/Palladium,2010


Untitled, Hatgi & Sink, Platinum/Palladium, 2008


Megan, Platinum/Palladium Print, tipped in

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.

Renaissance Press is housed in a renovated historic barn on the bank of the Ashuelot River in Ashuelot, New Hampshire.

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)

Three Roses, Tom Baril, Polytoned Silver Gelatin, Printed By Renaissance Press

Three Roses, Tom Baril, Platinum Palladium, Printed By Renaissance Press

Silver Gelatin Histogram Analysis
(Three Roses)

Platinum/Palladium Histogram Analysis
(Three Roses)

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