Way back when I first came to the US, I started using Van Gelder Simili Japon paper for my own platinum printing. It was from the last remaining mill in Holland yet it was easily available in large sheets and had good wet strength. The downside was the watermark. Running the length of the longest side were the words ‘Holland’ at each end and in the middle its huge logo. These all encroached many inches into the sheet, so you lost quite a bit of paper, unless you wanted a print with the word ‘lland’ or ‘Holla’ in it.
Over the years other papers came along that were supposedly better for platinum printing, improved versions of Arches Platine, Weston Diploma, COT 320, and my use of the Van Gelder faded away. But recently I’ve found myself wanting to make prints on it once again. You can still buy the large sheets from New York Central, my original supplier, but that watermark… Then I found that they make an easily available, but lighterweight version, in convenient pads of 25 sheets for calligraphy. It’s only available in 12 x 9.5″ size but my prints are only 7 x 7″ anyway. Perfect! And it has good wet strength too.
With my work being so small, it’s easy for the texture of a paper to become distracting and lose detail. But after making just one print on this paper I remembered why I loved it so much, all those years ago. So the new prints I’ve been making are all on the Simili Japon, 50/50 platinum and palladium.
For the best part of the past year I have been one of several beta testers for a new paper by Hahnemühle, formulated specifically for alternative/historical processes, and it’s beautiful. Straight out of the box, this paper worked for me.
Those that have been around me long enough know that I’m not a printer who uses densitometers or relies heavily on calibration (although we absolutely need those people), so my testing was based on my real world conditions and variables. I changed nothing in my approach to testing and nothing really changed; my sensitiser mix and exposure times were virtually identical to those I would have used with Arches Platine. Very easy to work with, and with great wet strength, the coating was smooth, the blacks deep and has excellent separation throughout. I also tested both sides of the paper without any discernible difference. The weight, surface and colour of the paper give it the feeling of a luxurious, high quality paper, which it is. Bostick and Sullivan and Freestyle will both be carrying the paper from March.
I must thank Carol Boss at Hahnemühle for giving me the opportunity to be one of the beta testers and for listening to us and our requirements and pushing them forward.
Hahnemühle Platinum Rag is an uncoated fine art paper. It is designed to meet the highest quality requirements for platinum printing and any other non-traditional photographic printing processes like Palladium, Van Dyke, Cyanotype and Salt Prints. The natural bright white paper with a weight of 300 gsm is made of 100% cotton fibres, acid free and does not contain any alkaline buffering. Along with the optimised sizing, the paper allows for easy coating and clearing. Hahnemühle Platinum Rag excels with a beautiful tonal range and very deep blacks. The smooth, slightly textured surface lends the paper a pleasant feel-to-the-touch.
Hahnemühle Platinum Rag will be available in March in the following sizes:
8.5″ x 11″ 5 sheets (Sample Pack)
8″ x 10″ 25 sheets
11″ x 15″ 25 sheets
20″ x 24″ 25 sheets
22″ x 30″ 25 sheets
The online magazine Monovisions has just published a selection of images and the story behind Cy DeCosse‘s series The Midnight Garden. The images are all printed in platinum-palladium by me, and in editions of 30.
Of the magic created by Cy’s prints, one critic, John Wood wrote: “There is a luminosity in the lights and velvet depths to the darks that can take your breath and that is simply not present in the work of any other photographic artist. I have never seen platinum prints I have been so tempted to touch; I want to actually feel those dark, textured leaves, to really enter DeCosse’s garden.”
I recently finished printing a fun project — a portfolio of prints for Tom Rose, a professor at the University of Minnesota.
The twelve images, all photographed in the apartment of philosopher and writer Arthur C. Danto, were printed in platinum-palladium and housed in a custom clamshell case that I made. The prints will be exhibited at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing at the end of April during the symposium, Arthur C. Danto and the Work of Art; from Object to Theory.
“These images were taken in the apartment of the renowned American philosopher and art writer Arthur C. Danto and his wife, the painter Barbara Westman. It was my privilege to know them and to spend time with them in their beautiful and magical environment.
In an attempt to express the atmosphere and aura of the rooms I used several formats and methods to accomplish what I believe is a portrait of them focusing on what they have assembled, and the collection of objects with which they have surrounded themselves. The images underlay my belief that how we live in spaces creates a portrait of who we are, and what we believe through visual reveals — open and abstract space becomes place; a specific place with history, memory and a resonance, a kind of metaphysical haunting. I am interested primarily in phenomenological experience, the effect on the senses that provide clues to understanding and offer interpretations of everyday experience.”
— Thomas Rose, Professor, University of Minnesota.
Image size 9″ x 9″.
Paper size 19″ x 15″.
12 images, available individually or as a complete set.
Produced specifically for the exhibition and symposium, Arthur C. Danto and the Work of Art; from Object to Theory, to be held at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing at the end of April.