Platinum printing is a photographic printing process that produces high-quality, archival images. Unlike other printing methods, platinum prints are made by coating the paper with a solution of platinum and palladium salts, which are then exposed to UV light. The result is a black and white image that has a tonal range and depth that can’t be achieved with other printing methods. To make a platinum photograph involves a series of steps.
Here are the steps to make a platinum photograph
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace
The first step to making a platinum photograph is to prepare your workspace. This includes gathering all the necessary materials and setting up a space that is well-ventilated and free from dust and debris. You’ll need the following materials:
- Platinum and palladium salts
- A sensitizing solution
- A glass or plastic tray(about 3)
- A brush or glass rod
- A printing frame
- High-quality paper
- A UV light source
- Developing and clearing agents
- Tongs with rubber tips
- Plastic Beaker
- Dark plastic bottle
Step 2: Prepare the Sensitizing Solution
The sensitizing solution is made by combining platinum and palladium salts with a solution of ferric oxalate. The sensitizing solution should be mixed just before use then applied to the paper. The solution should be handled carefully, as it is can be toxic.
Step 3: Coat the Paper
The next step is to coat the paper with the sensitizing solution. This is done by pouring a small amount of the solution onto the glass or plastic tray and using a brush or glass rod to spread it quickly and evenly over the paper. The paper should be coated with a thin, even layer of the solution, taking care to avoid any bubbles or streaks.
Step 4: Dry the Paper
After the paper has been coated with the sensitizing solution, it needs to be dried completely. This can be done by hanging the paper to dry in a dust-free area or by using a hairdryer on a low, cool setting.
Step 5: Expose the Paper
Once the paper is dry, it’s time to expose it under a UV light box. The paper is placed in a printing frame with a negative on top and then exposed to the UV light for a predetermined amount of time. The exposure time will depend on the strength of your UV light source and the desired result.
Step 6: Develop the Print
After the paper has been exposed, it needs to be developed. This is done by placing the paper in a tray with a developing agent and agitating it for a few minutes. The developing agent reacts with the sensitizing solution, causing the image to appear on the paper.
Step 7: Clear the Print
Once the print has been developed, it needs to be cleared to remove any unexposed sensitizing solution. This is done by placing the print in a tray with a clearing agent and agitating it for a few minutes. The clearing agent dissolves any unexposed sensitizing solution, leaving only the platinum and palladium behind.
Step 8: Rinse and Dry the Print
The final step is to rinse and dry the print. This is done by rinsing the print thoroughly with water to remove any remaining chemicals and then hanging it to dry in a dust-free area.
Platinum printing is an expensive, time-consuming and delicate process, but the results are well worth the effort. The resulting prints are rich and detailed, with a unique tonal range that is unmatched by other printing methods. The prints are archival and will last for generations.