Digital Negative to Platinum Palladium Prints

Workshop with Don Messec

Digital Negatives to Handmade Prints

August 5-9, 2023

Limited to 5 – Full, waiting list available

Don Messec print examples

Student print examples

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.

This workshop dedicated to learning by doing and doing every step; then doing it some more. Plan on making negatives and prints. Demystifying how your coated paper sees your negative is paramount to making good negatives. We will go over that, and exposure, which means that even a simply arrived at negative will produce beautiful results. There are just a few keys to getting a good platinum/palladium print. Over complicating the process only leads to killing the joy of printing.

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:

Determining platinum-palladium formulas and refining

Paper preparation and coating

Digital negative making and calibrating

Setting exposure for both solar and artificial light

Proper development timing and temperature

Proper clearing and washing for archival print

And a bit on spotting and print curation

Don Messec is an artist/printmaker/photographer who highly values the print. His skills have been honed over decades by printing his own work and for luminaries such as Clyde Butcher and Robert Stivers, Gregory Kondos, Ricardo Mazal, and many others.

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 paper, platinum-palladium mix, sensitizer and contrasting agent for several prints prints. Brushes, developer, distilled water, transparency material, specialized negative printing ink sets, digital printers and  software along with other communal needs are included.

The studio is equipped with Epson printers, work surfaces, a few communal computers and a variety of exposure units: very high end Olec exposure unit, ‘pizza oven’ florescent exposure unit, contact frames plus lots of free sunshine exposure opportunities.

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 unaltered original capture 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.
  • Optional – 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 11×15” for 8×12″ or smaller image size

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.


Save Your Spot!

Registration Form

No deposit required