Ilford FP4 + PMK = Beautiful Platinum Prints

July 09, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

This article is for my fellow photographers and collectors that want to know the gory details behind our pure analog creative process for making our handmade wild horse platinum prints.

Over the last few weeks, Tim Jr. and I have tested Ilford FP4 in PMK Pyro developer to make some new Wild Horse Platinum Fine Art prints.  

If you want to know more about our heirloom-quality handmade fine art, then you will want to check out my Platinum Collectors Guide.

In this article, I share the technical details to help you successfully use Ilford FP4 developed in PMK.

We use a variety of negative mediums ranging from paper negatives to silver gelatin dry plates, to collodion dry plates, and on occasion, commercial sheet film like FP4.

We love using a pure analog workflow because of films unique characteristics and ability to handle and render light in a way that meets my creative vision and intentions. 

Most of our fine art wild horse prints start with a small 35mm exposure because we need the speed and agility of smaller cameras, and then we need to work our magic in the darkroom and make enlarged negatives. 

Since platinum prints are a contact printing process, we need negatives that are the same size as our platinum and silver chloride prints (8x10 to 20x24 typically).  We are working on making larger 30x40 platinum prints right now too.

Ilford FP4 developed in PMK is a match made in heaven for making various older historic prints like platinum, AZO, salt, and many others. 

We are focused on making platinum prints for our collectors, which is why we have been exploring and testing FP4 in PMK. 

Tim Layton's Free Fine Art NewsletterTim Layton's Free Fine Art Newsletter

We rate FP4 at EI 64 and develop in PMK at 21C using 1:2:100 dilution for 12 minutes using constant agitation in trays to make an ideal negative for making platinum prints. 

This combination produces the proper density, stain (UV blocking), and contrast that matches platinum and palladium's extended tonal range. 

We also found this negative to print very well on silver chloride grade 3 papers like Adox Lupex or Lodima brands.

We test using small 4x5 negatives, and once we have the process dialed in, we then scale up to make bigger negatives like 16x20 or bigger.  

We are currently working on making a 16x20 Platinum/Palladium version of "Ice Princess, " a white mare from the Shawnee Creek herd of wild horses.

More to follow on this very soon as we work through this process. 

Tim Layton Wild Horse Fine Art JournalTim Layton Wild Horse Fine Art Journal


Ice Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim LaytonIce Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim Layton My handmade Wild Horse Platinum & Palladium Fine Art is based on four guiding principles: Truth, Justice, Difference, and Identity.  

These core principles run like a ribbon through my artwork from beginning to end.

TRUTH: I see truth as a primary objective when I create a new body of work.  Truth is the one thing that stands the test of time; without it, we have nothing or no purpose. I seek the truth about wild horses in America and tell their story through my handmade artwork. 

JUSTICE: There are many injustices in the world.  I am drawn like a moth to a flame to tell the stories of wild horses because they have no voice and are under relentless attacks in the 21st century.  Wild horses in America are in the fight of their life, and without help, they will quickly become something future generations only read about in history books.

DIFFERENCE: I sincerely want to help make a difference for wild horses and fight for their right to live wild and free.  I have been forever changed because of wild horses. I am on a mission to raise awareness about their current issues and challenges, so people can come together and find lasting and reasonable solutions to the current crisis.

IDENTITY: When I got my first camera in 1975, everything changed because I realized that I had a voice that was much bigger than myself, and I could inspire and motivate people to make a difference in the world. I have always been drawn to the awe of nature and wildlife, and when I started following wild horses regularly in 2015, my eyes were opened, and I realized I was where I needed to be, and they needed my help. My path forward is clear and filled with purpose and joy.

Ultra Large Format Photography Newsletter by Tim LaytonUltra Large Format Photography Newsletter by Tim Layton



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