On Sunday four terrific people arrived at my house and we spent three days making digital negatives then using them to learn the basic processes involved in palladium print making. The workshop was a success. We had one rough day. As you can imagine it was day 2. In the push to get start3ed making prints our exposure time and curves were not accurate on Monday. This was proven by the abysmal results obtained printing Tuesday. I was really frustrated and so were the students, as they should have been. College age students would have bagged it. But these guys stuck it out. I got up really early Tuesday. Made a new step tablet, used it as a crude index of exposure time, and made a new curve. Whammo! Great prints all day long! I will post some images when I receive them as scans from their makers.
I recall that ten years ago I attended a workshop in palladium printing taught by Dick Arentz at the Photographer’s Formulary in Montana. There were about ten of us struggling to get through. I had made my negatives using Dan Burkholder’s method. I brought along his book and the software I needed to make more at the workshop. Since I had a 1280 printer at the time, all my negatives were orange as the workflow added color to further decrease UV light transmission in the negatives. We each had to show negatives to Dick, I was nearly hooted out of the state. “Won’t work, outrageous, unnatural” were some of the jeers I heard. Arentz said he had heard of this effort to make digital negatives, but he thought it was folly. So I made a print. When it finally came out, he looked at it over my shoulder, and acknowledged that things seemed to be working, that I should add another couple of drops of Na2 for more contrast, and he would check back. The next print was terrific, and in a short time frame Dick Arentz was holding joint workshops with another print maker in making digital negatives to use in palladium printing.
This recent workshop was special because all of the participants were accomplished photographers who had gorgeous images as starting points. They knew one another and so it was a very congenial, goal oriented group. A truly superb experience
for me as well as the participants. It went so well that I think I will do it again in the spring, hopefully we can work some outside and won’t have to bundle up to go to the garage where the UI light lives.
Digital Negatives and Contact Printing Workshop