© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints

Pond, Shingle Springs, California (2015).

I developed my first roll of movie and noticed my first black-and-white print seem below the pink mild of a darkroom in 1972. I used to be 12 years outdated. My life would by no means be the identical; I used to be hooked. Now, 44 years later, I’m nonetheless making prints in a darkroom, though my strategies have modified.

The rise of digital images as a instrument for making pictures has resulted in a paradigm shift within the making of the photographic picture. For roughly the primary century-and-a-half of its existence, the phrase {photograph} was kind of synonymous with the phrase print. For those who wished to see what the digital camera noticed, a print needed to be made. Certain, there have been coloration slides, however these too have been bodily objects that could possibly be held in a single’s hand after being returned from the picture lab. You needed to wait.

As soon as the standard of the digital picture reached a excessive sufficient stage, an increasing number of photographers deserted their darkrooms and the limitless hours spent within the pink mild waving their arms and mixing chemistry to supply the magic that’s the chemical {photograph}. They’ve traded that have for hours gazing a glowing monitor, manipulating photographs on the display utilizing a complete new sort of magic. A mix of {hardware} and software program permits us to work with electrons and knowledge somewhat than treasured metals and chemistry. And this transformation was revolutionary, not evolutionary, in its dizzying tempo.

Certain, there are nonetheless a number of holdouts who solely shoot movie and solely make prints in a darkroom, however that quantity continues to dwindle. Most elderly enlargers are given away, offered for pennies on the greenback or delivered to a recycling facility. Nevertheless, from this revolution in image-making and the will to hold onto the handmade object, a brand new strategy to images has developed and has grow to be generally known as hybrid images: the combining of digital and analog strategies to attain the aim of a home made, chemically-processed print.

© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints

The digital unfavorable’s greenish coloration is the results of the combo of inks used to create the wanted UV density.

The digital unfavorable, which is the hyperlink between a digital picture and an analog print, was pioneered within the late 1990s by Dan Burkholder. His groundbreaking guide, Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing, revealed in 1999, laid the trail for what has adopted. At the moment, inkjet printers weren’t able to creating negatives with sufficient density to make prints in lots of the so-called “different processes.” These embody platinum, palladium, cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, gum bichromate and lots of extra. These processes are solely delicate to ultraviolet (UV) mild, and subsequently can solely be made by means of contact printing. Enlargers shouldn’t have the aptitude to place out sufficient UV mild for these processes, so your unfavorable should be the identical measurement as your print.

© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints

The ultimate print hanging to dry. Final Gentle, Yosemite, California (2016).

Again then, we made digital negatives by taking recordsdata to a service bureau and having them output on an imagesetter, a machine that exposes a digital picture onto lithographic movie. This was an costly enterprise. For instance, a 16×20 unfavorable price roughly $50 to $75 for output. This was years earlier than the primary first rate DSLR, so that you have been possible working from an unique movie unfavorable as a place to begin. An excellent drum scan would run $30 to $50. Do the maths—it was a dear method to work. At the moment, I used to be primarily capturing giant in-camera negatives, 8×10 by means of 14×17 inches. I’d solely make a digital unfavorable if the unique unfavorable was broken or had a severe flaw that will present within the print.

Because the revolution progressed, inkjet printers improved by leaps and bounds, and photographers got here up with intelligent methods to squeeze the wanted UV density out of the printers to make prints with these processes. For me, the breakthrough was the Epson 3800, launched in 2009. For my part, this was the primary printer that made digital negatives that rivaled movie negatives in high quality. There have been earlier fashions that labored effectively sufficient, however the 3800 set a brand new normal. Since then, printers have continued to enhance.

At this time there are a number of devoted techniques for making digital negatives in the marketplace. Some folks take a DIY strategy and use the Superior Black & White mode (ABW) inside the Epson printer driver to make their digital negatives. I exploit a program known as Quad Tone RIP. This utility, written by Roy Harrington, was initially meant for making black-and-white inkjet prints from digital recordsdata and it really works extraordinarily effectively for that. QTR takes management of the printer away from the Epson driver and permits the consumer to manage how every particular person ink is used, to combine the colours to maximise UV density. The one disadvantage is that QTR solely helps Epson printers, so when you’ve got a distinct model of printer that you just love, look to different techniques for making digital negatives.

© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints

Two Birds, Placerville, California (2015). From a digital unfavorable, initially shot on 120 movie.

Since about 1990, my printing processes of alternative have been platinum/palladium (Pt/Pd), and Pt/Pd mixed with gum bichromate. The Pt/Pd printing course of was invented by William Willis within the 1870s and patented commercially in 1879. By the flip of the century, platinum prints have been highly regarded, valued for his or her magnificence and permanence. Platinum and palladium are two of essentially the most inert components in existence, which gives for the archival stability of those prints. With the onset of World Battle I, platinum household metals have been laborious to come back by within the U.S. and platinum papers needed to be imported from Europe. By 1941, commercially produced platinum papers have been now not obtainable.

Modern print-makers who need the distinctive and exquisite qualities of this course of create their very own printing paper by mixing the light-sensitive chemical compounds and coating their paper by hand. Many print makers thrive working this fashion, gaining each technical management and private satisfaction from this handmade strategy to photographic print making.

The method entails mixing small portions of a sensitizer answer (ferric oxalate) with options containing the platinum and/or palladium metals. This combination is then utilized to high-quality rag paper or different media, utilizing both a brush or a glass rod which evenly spreads the answer throughout the paper. As soon as dried, the paper is uncovered to UV mild involved with a unfavorable the dimensions of the specified print. After publicity, the print is developed, cleared of residual chemical compounds after which washed.

© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints

Dogwood Blossom, Yosemite Valley, California (2016).

I labored this fashion for a few years, with in-camera negatives constituted of more and more bigger view cameras as much as 12×20 and 14×17 inches. Now that almost all of my prints are constituted of digital negatives, my prints have gotten a lot bigger (I print as much as 20×30 inches), and my digital camera a lot smaller. I presently use a Sony a7R II for digital work, which has greater than sufficient decision to make digital negatives of that measurement. I’ve additionally lately begun capturing 8×10-inch movie once more and have been printing straight from these in-camera negatives. Sure, I exploit my largest digital camera to make my smallest prints. Go determine.

Now’s maybe the very best time within the historical past of images to be working on this medium. Whereas we lament the lack of classical movies and papers after they go away—most lately Fujifilm FP-100C immediate movie, for instance—trendy instruments present us a hyperlink to the early days of images and allow us to make use of these lovely processes to supply our work.

The digital unfavorable has been the foremost issue within the revival and rising recognition of the historic “different” processes. Papers particularly designed for these printing strategies are actually being made by Hahnemühle, Legion Paper, Arches and others. In my almost 30 years working in these processes, that may be a first. For many people, sending knowledge to an inkjet printer simply doesn’t scratch the artistic itch in the identical approach that creating a home made print within the darkroom does.

Course of Abstract

As a result of they’re primarily delicate to UV mild, platinum/palladium and lots of the different handmade printing processes will be completed with out a true darkroom. All you want is a room with no window mild, fluorescent lighting or different potential sources of UV mild. Commonplace incandescent bulbs (if you’ll find them) or low-UV LEDs can be utilized to mild your darkroom. Some folks use yellow bug lights as safelights.

© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints© Kerik Kouklis platinum prints

Coating high-quality artwork paper with the platinum/palladium answer.

So as to make acceptable digital negatives, you’ll need to calibrate your system, bearing in mind your means of alternative, monitor, printer and your UV mild supply. This may be essentially the most painstaking a part of the workflow, however as soon as calibrated, printing turns into a lot simpler and extra environment friendly. The next applies to the platinum/palladium course of, with crossover to lots of the different processes.

  1. Making the {photograph}. Whether or not you shoot movie or digital, you wish to seize as a lot of the tonal vary of a scene as potential. With digital, this will require HDR strategies, however I not often have to resort to that within the varieties of mild wherein I prefer to {photograph}.
  2. Digital Processing. Course of your picture as you usually would, however embody a step to transform to black and white. There are a lot of methods to do that in Photoshop and Lightroom. As soon as you’re calibrated, you’ll need to pay shut consideration to higher spotlight and decrease shadow values because the glowing display can simply idiot you on both finish of the tonal scale.
  3. Negatives. I make my negatives utilizing QTR and print onto Pictorico OHP transparency movie.
  4. Chemical compounds. Platinum/palladium is a comparatively protected course of in comparison with processes that embody dichromates or risky chemical compounds like these utilized in moist plate collodion. Nonetheless, protected and correct dealing with and disposal of the supplies is simply being good. It’s best to work in a well-ventilated room and put on acceptable protecting gear like goggles and gloves. There’s a wealth of data on the Web about managing chemical hazards. The method can also be fairly straightforward to do. With a calibrated unfavorable and the right paper and chemistry, the remainder is little one’s play. Considered one of my children made and offered her first print when she was 13.
  5. Publicity. I exploit each a selfmade UV supply containing 12 four-foot fluorescent UV tubes and a NuArc Plate Burner. Publicity instances in my UV field are within the six- to eight-minute vary. I’ve lately heard of individuals making their very own UV mild sources with strips of UV LED lights. You can too print utilizing the solar, however it is going to be unpredictable and can grow to be irritating very quickly. Commercially produced UV sources are additionally obtainable.
  6. Processing. The developer I exploit for platinum/palladium is potassium oxalate. When the print is positioned within the developer, the picture seems nearly instantly. Growth is full in lower than a minute. Leaving it longer has no discernible impact on the print. The print is then cleared first in an answer of disodium EDTA, then two baths of Heico Perma Wash or Kodak Hypo Clear. There’s a last wash of 15 to 20 minutes. The prints are then held on a line till damp, then positioned face up on drying screens for last drying.

Instructed Suppliers

Bostick & Sullivan, bostick-sullivan.com. Premier provider of all issues alt-process: chemistry, paper, gear, and many others. I’ve been working with their supplies for many years. Nice customer support.

Photographer’s Formulary, shops.photoformulary.com. Provider of chemistry, paper and gear for many processes. In addition they have a terrific workshop facility and an in depth workshop program. (I’ve been instructing there for a few years.)

Artcraft Chemical compounds, artcraftchemicals.com. Provider of chemistry for many of the different processes, specializing in moist plate collodion.

Freestyle Photographic, freestylephoto.biz. Provider of all issues analog—movie, paper, chemistry, gear, together with provides for lots of the different processes.

• • •

Kerik Kouklis is a high-quality artwork photographer, educator and print-maker from Northern California. His work has been exhibited broadly and he has taught workshops in different processes for almost 20 years in numerous places across the U.S., Canada and the U.Okay. See extra of his work at www.kerik.com.

Initially Revealed October 2, 2016

(function(d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = “https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.6”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Shop Amazon