Exploring New Options For My Pure Platinum Prints

April 10, 2017  •  2 Comments

I have been testing a variety of developers and films over the last couple of months for a new series of Pure Platinum prints that I am making.  My process is Pure Platinum because I do not use any palladium in my process.  I decided to start creating some exposures and process the large format sheet film via my normal routine (HP5, FP4 in D-76 or Pyrocat HD) in my Jobo processor.  


My creative workflow is completely analog, meaning that I create large format sheet film negatives with my large format cameras that produce negatives the same size as my Pure Platinum prints.  I hand coat my platinum sensitizer on Hahnemühle Platinum Rag Paper and follow a well-tested regiment to ultimately create my Pure Platinum prints.  It is imperative that I have total control over my negative creation process as well as the ability to manage all of the platinum printing variables.


I created some platinum prints from the negatives that I typically create and while they were acceptable, there was something missing that I couldn't exactly put my finger on.  I wanted my collectors to feel like they could fall into my Pure Platinum prints and offer them something very special.  

I started to explore some new options, and that is when I connected with Steve Sherman.  Steve is on the advisory board at Darkroom Underground, so we communicate on a variety of topics regarding the publication.  When I learned about the impactful results Steve was able to achieve via Pyrocat HD using his finely tuned semi-stand process for his silver gelatin prints, I knew I needed to explore this in the framework of my Pure Platinum process.  

For those of you that are interested in establishing a personal exposure index (EI) for your films and taking control of your black and white film development, Paul Wainwright is writing a series of articles in the Darkroom Underground that walks photographers through every step of his visual-based process.  (hint....no densitometer required!)

The negative at the top of this article is a sheet of HP5+ exposed at EI 400 and developed for 2 full stops of highlight expansion using Pyrocat HD and the methodology that I learned from Steve.  I had to conduct my own series of tests, which I will continue to do over time, in order to find the right combination of variables to produce the types of negatives that I needed for the elongated tonal scale required for my Pure Platinum prints.  I have a lot of printing to do over the next few months, but I feel like I am on a good path now that will elevate my artwork to a new level.  

Steve has been researching and perfecting his process since 2003 and he continues to be a treasure-trove of knowledge.  As I continue to collaborate with Steve on fine tuning my workflow variables, I am very optimistic about the long-term possibilities in regards to my Pure Platinum prints.  


Because I need to take full advantage of the Pyrocat HD stain, I decided to switch fixers to Formulary's TF-4 archival rapid fixer.  This fixer is known to work well with staining developers, so I went ahead and made the change.  Technically you don't even need a stop bath when using TF-4 and it also eliminates the need for a hypo-clearing agent, which further simplifies my workflow, not to mention the cost savings too.  TF-4 is non-hardening, so if a photographer chooses to tone their prints, it is a good option here as well.  I dilute my TF-4 1:3 in distilled water for my large format Pyrocat HD negatives.  I routinely travel and develop films in my Sprinter van on the road, so this modification in my workflow significantly helped me while working remote. 

As I continue in this new journey, I will create new articles along with images of my Pure Platinum prints. 

-Tim Layton 

The Darkroom Underground is your analog photography magazine produced on a quarterly basis serving photographers, artists, collectors, and readers around the world.  The Darkroom Underground publishes a balance of technical and creative articles in every issue along with featured photographers and their portfolios. We are pleased to offer editorial from internationally recognized photographers and writers and also publish articles and portfolios from our  readers. 

If you like this type of article then you will probably enjoy my free darkroom newsletter and my darkroom and large format video-based workshops

Tim Layton
B&W Fine Art Analog Photography
Darkroom Underground Magazine: www.darkroomunderground.com
© Tim Layton Sr. | All Rights Reserved



2.Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Rolf, the platinum workshop is on hold right now. As soon as I begin development again, I will be sending out a note to the newsletter group. Thanks for asking. I will keep you posted.

1.Rolf Schmolling(non-registered)
Hi Tim,
how is your workshop on Platinum Printing coming along?
Cheers, Rolf
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