Achieving The Beauty of Platinum-Palladium Prints

with Don Messec

Achieving The Beauty of Platinum-Palladium Prints through digital contact negatives

September 18-21, 2023 (4 days)

Limited to 6 participants to assure lots of hands-on printing and attention – 4 places available

Don Messec is an artist/photographer who highly values the print. His skills have been honed by printing his own work and for luminaries such as Clyde Butcher.

This is a workshop dedicated to learning by doing. That is my philosophy, so count on making prints.

Platinum-Palladium printing has always been one of photography’s most loved looks. Historically it has been limited in size and desperately demanding to print. Even recent attempts to make the process less complicated using digital negatives have left many frustrated by how often they require an image specific curve to produce a great print. Not anymore.

Over complicating the process only leads to killing the joy of printing. Demystifying how your coated paper sees your negative is paramount to getting a good negative. We will go over that, and exposure, which means that even a simply arrived at negative will produce beautiful results. There are a few keys to getting a good platinum/palladium print.

You don’t even need an expensive exposure unit if you have good sun. Those of you who don’t have good sun or like to work at night will need some form of UV light. But we will start with the simple joy of solar exposure – weather permitting.

The workshop will include:

       Platinum-palladium formula and refining

       Paper preparation and coating

       Digital negative making and refining

       Setting exposure for both solar and artificial light

       Proper development

       Proper clearing and washing for archival print

       And a bit on spotting and print curation

MakingArtSafely is Don Messec’s latest effort in his30 years of bringing new thinking, technology and materials to artists who do not want to “die for their art.” Don’s MFA is from UIUC and he began his printmaking experience at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop in NYC in the 1980s. Sounds so long ago. Don Messec was the founding director of the Printmaking Center for Safe and Non-toxic Printmaking, a world leading academic studio unit in research and development, cultivation and education in low-toxic safer printmaking for artists and art instructors. Now, transitioned into MakingArtSafely, where the importance of works on paper continues to be promoted and developed.

What’s Included

Each student will receive enough transparency, paper, platinum-palladium mix, sensitizer and contrasting agent for 6 8×12/8×10″ prints, with more available for a fee. Brush, developer, distilled water, transparency material, specialized negative printing ink sets and other communal needs, such as trays and chemistry, are also included.

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

  • Source materials such as digital or digitized photographs in any of the following formats – PSD, jpg, TIFF, RAW. Bring original camera or scanned files at original resolution in addition to any processed or manipulated versions. It can be useful to go back to the original capture 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.
  • Large enough luggage and/or box to pack prints, with stiff protector (cardboard or matt board). Paper will be torn down to approximately 11×15”

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 Wednesday when we go out Dutch for a late lunch
  • If opportunity and conditions collide we may get to add a photo excursion.