New Digital Negative to Platinum Palladium Printing

Workshop with Don Messec

Digital Negatives to Platinum – Palladium printing

June 4-8, 2018

Welcome support of Hahnemuehle USA

Limited to 8 participants to assure lots of hands on printing – 6 left

Prints from PtPd workshops

The backbone of this workshop is PiezoDN the latest and most powerful reliable negative system out there. No surprise it comes from the brilliant folks of Piezography lead by Jon Cone. PiezoDN allows the artist to work from printers as humble as a 6 ink channel Epson Artisan 1430 up to an 11 ink 9900. Now with the release of Piezography Pro one printer with 9 or more channels can become a highly versatile, serious part of your photography. Piezography Pro ink set produces ‘monochromatic’ prints of near endless chromatic nuances to PiezoDN negatives. Keep in mind that PiezoDN itself is highly versatile. While this workshop focuses on Platinum-Palladium printing, PiezoDN can also be dialed-in to produce negatives for silver, carbon, cyanotype, whatever.

You do not need a darkroom with big sink, darkened room, yes, we will go over that. There are no silver processing chemicals involved, so no difficult disposal issues. Once fully dialed in your negatives are more reliable than any previous negative making process and the same settings work over a much broader range of image types: high key, low key, portrait, landscape, foggy and ethereal, soft and hard. Proofing is no longer about getting a good print by adjusting chemistry it’s about getting the best interpretation of your intent and you can leave chemistry alone. For those who have always been highly demanding of their prints this amounts to a huge savings in time and expensive materials. Just sayin’ – it is the best system I have ever used.

Platinum-Palladium printing has always been one of photography’s most loved looks. Historically it had been limited in size by the original negative and demanding to print. Even recent attempts to make the process less complicated using digital inkjet negatives have left many frustrated by how often they require a new Photoshop curve to produce the best print. Not any more.

With Jon Cone’s Piezography development of a new QTR profile system specifically for creating digital negatives the process has never been more reliable and repeatable with far better tonal range – as if platinum-palladium prints weren’t already stunning. I find myself in love with platinum-palladium printing, again. Moving efficiently from image refinements to a stable negative system to repeatable prints platinum-palladium printing has entered a new era. It turned the way I see my own work on fire. We will go through studio set up to custom profiles, chemicals, paper coating, safe practices, digital negatives, exposure using different light sources, basically – the works. I am excited to add this gorgeous printmaking medium to the array of processes taught at MakingArtSafely.

5 days will be dedicated to studio work – you will learn the process so you can go home and set yourself up. Weather and interest permitting we will be spent some time out shooting. Several printers will be set up to create your digital negatives and in this new approach it will be possible to print digital positive paper proofs before committing to a digital negative and platinum-palladium printing. While the process is now far more reliable and efficient, it is still expensive to do all of your proofing with metal, even though it is far less so though due to fewer failed prints.

What’s Included

Each student will receive enough paper, platinum-palladium mix, sensitizer and contrasting agent for 20 5x7 prints. Spreader, developer, distilled water, transparency material, specialized negative printing ink sets and other communal needs are also included. It is an expensive process especially in terms of chemicals which is fairly reflected in your General Studio fee.

The studio is equipped with Epson printers, work surfaces, a few computers and very high end Olec exposure unit, pizza oven exposure unit, contact frames and typically lots of sunshine.

What to Bring

  • Note your General Studio Fee is not purely a materials fee but include an extensive array of relevant communal shop needs, costs and consumables.
  • Source materials such as digitized drawings and digital photographs in the following formats – PSD, jpg, TIFF, RAW. Bring original files at original resolution in addition to any processed or manipulated versions. It can be useful to go back to an unmodified file to re-interpret the image once you have a print in hand.
  • Digital camera if you have one. Of course you will take pictures and video!
  • Jump drive (thumb drive or other portable read/write media)
  • Laptop if you have one. Especially if it has Photoshop and/or Lightroom. If you do not have any of this software consider downloading a trial version for the workshop. This is more important in Canada and EU as the host studios rarely have digital equipment for you to use. I bring some, but not much.
  • Large enough luggage and/or box to pack prints, with stiff protector (cardboard or matt board). Paper will be torn down to approximately 10x11”

That’s it! Any questions about supplies, please feel free to contact us.

Workshop Itinerary

  • Monday morning begins with students arriving at the studio between 9:30-10 AM.
  • Daily instruction is 10 AM to 4 PM with the studio open to students between 9:30 AM and 7 PM. Exception is Friday when the workshop ends at 4 PM.
  • Bring a lunch everyday except Tuesday when we go out Dutch for a late lunch
  • Thursday night we host a dinner in our courtyard. Companion welcome.
  • If opportunity and conditions collide we may get to add a photo excursion.