New Digital Negative to Platinum Palladium Workshop

with Don Messec

New Digital Negative Platinum-Palladium printing

McTavish Academy of Art, North Saanich, BC – Vancouver Island

September 24-27, 2019 

Platinum-Palladium has always produced one of photography’s most beloved prints, held high above digital, even silver. Historically it had been limited in size by the original negative and very 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, personal vision prints. Not any more. Plus you do not need a darkroom, enlarger, even an exposure unit if you have sunlight.

We will go through studio set up to printers, custom profiles, chemicals, papers and coating, safe practices, PiezoDN digital negatives, exposure using different light sources, basically – the works. I do a lot of work in this medium and understand what one truly needs and does not need.

4 days will be dedicated to studio work – you will learn the process so you can go home and set yourself up. 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 the high degree of reliability of this once old now modern process.

North Saanich is a lovely small town associated with Victoria. If coming from off-island, it is but minutes from Swartz Bay, Sidney or Victoria Ferry Terminals and even closer to Victoria International Airport (YYJ). Beautiful area with access to Saanich Inlet on one side and the San Juan Island on the other.

Prints from PtPd workshops

What’s Included

Each student will receive enough paper, platinum-palladium mix, sensitizer and contrasting agent for 8 8×10 prints. Spreader, developer, distilled water, transparency material, specialized negative printing ink sets and other communal needs are also included. 

The studio is equipped with an Epson printer, work surfaces, pizza oven exposure unit, contact frame and typically some sunshine.

What to Bring

  • Source materials such as digital or scanned photographs or digitized drawings in any of the the following formats – PSD, jpg, TIFF, RAW. Please 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 10×11”

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


We start Tuesday and just go for it. There is a terrific kitchen at the academy and I strongly recommend we make use of it and have as many meals as makes sense right there.