After more than 2 years working with the Mike Ware formula for producing palladiotype prints i’ve decided to change to a more traditional process using chemistry to control the contrast as opposed to humidity which I found to be extremely difficult to control in the climate I live and work in. So armed with an iPad, several reference books and some help from a Platinum/palladium printer, photographer and fellow Castlemaine resident Stephen Tester I set out on another journey of discovery. Extensive research led me to the conclusion that I needed to first improve and then modify the negative and contrast range by changing the material I was printing onto for my digital negatives as well as adding a colour adjustment layer to the negative file which inhibits levels of UV light passing through to assist with the density control. Sounds technical right? ..It is..
Once the negative is produced we can move onto the next stage, the print…Arches Platine paper is torn to size using the digital negatives as templates. The paper is then coated with the palladium solution. I generally coat the paper with a glass rod. Once dry the negative and paper are sandwiched inside a contact frame and exposed under the ultra-violet fluorescent tubes for 2-3 minutes. The resulting print is then developed in Potassium Oxalate this is another change from the Mike Ware formula, previously EDTA disodium was used along with EDTA tetrasodium to process out & fix the image, using Potassium Oxalate is a more traditional process in which the contrast is controlled using small amounts of potassium chlorate in the sensitising coating solutions.
I’m now using Pictorico OH transparency film for my negatives which unfortunately I need to import as it’s unavailable locally, I was previously using a locally sourced product which I found to be less consistent and tended to have longer drying times which resulted in emulsion scratches at times. I’ve recently started printing with Bergger COT-320 paper which I’m extremely pleased with. I’ll still be working with Arches Platine but I’m so pleased with the results from the Bergger it will now be the paper I reach for.
In summary I’d like to point out that both processes have pros & cons and both processes can produce beautiful results but in the end for my desired result, look and feel the new treatment is now my process of choice.