Wednesday, May 8, 2013

                         Artist spotlight...Richard Frederick

Part 2
In Part 1 I revealed the characteristic quality and beauty of Platinum/Palladium photographic prints and thus a strong motivation to produce them professionally and artistically. I also pointed out a rather severe limitation in doing so - namely that a desire to make a large Pt/Pd print, say 30 X 40 inches, is accompanied by the necessity of making a 30 X 40 negative and therefore requires a very large camera capable of doing so. A few cameras (and film) that large were made in the hay day of Pt/Pd photography but they required a huge vehicle (probably a horse drawn wagon) to transport them and an army of helpers to set them up for a photo shoot. That is my idea of a hard way to make photographs. There had to be a better way!

Right: An 1850's large camera to make a large negative 

Left: A 21st century modern digital camera
Fast forward to contemporary times. In the 70's there was a
popular tune..."Along Came Jones". In the 90's the equivalent was "Along Came Digital". In that decade & the next, the metamorphosis of photography from analog to digital was accomplished with enormous and rapid development of the technology. Film photography (analog) for both professional and amateur photographers rapidly became a thing of the past. It was replaced - seemingly overnight - by digital photography with ever improving digital cameras, computers, printers, ink, and compatible papers. Compare the photos of the two cameras above. You should have no doubt which is the more convenient to use. The performance of today's digital cameras has well exceeded the performance of comparable film cameras.
The inevitable question was "How can I make a large and beautiful Pt/Pd print using this new fangled technology?". Somewhere in some inquisitive photographer's mind, a light went on. The thought process went something like this:
     I really, really want a large Pt/Pd print for its artistic beauty
     I have the Platinum and Palladium chemicals and large paper
     I have the high intensity light source to expose the sensitized 
     I have the darkroom facilities to develop the exposed paper
     What am I missing?
The obvious answer is that I don't have a large negative. Well, I know a lot about this wonderful computer program called Photoshop and I'm pretty sure that if I loaded one of my beautiful digital photo files into Photoshop I could use the Image Size function to make a LARGE image from the smaller camera image. Furthermore, Photoshop can invert this positive image so I now have a large negative image - just what I wanted. In order to materialize this negative, I think I can print it on some special overhead transparency  material using my $$$$ digital printer ( science is a wonderful invention).
So there is the basic idea and now I hope you can begin to see how this marriage of convenience is shaping up. It is a marriage of Analog and Digital photographic processes that produces a work of art that is both beautiful and desirable. It overcomes a serious limitation in the original Pt/Pd analog production process as it is now possible to make large Pt/Pd prints without the need for monster cameras.

Just below are two more examples of Pt/Pd prints.As you can see, they are both prints of flowers as was the print in the first posting of this title. More about that choice later. I wish I could show you the actual prints, because they are much more subtle and beautiful than what I am able to post on the blogsite, but you get the idea.

We are really anxious to proceed with the marriage. In the next post I will describe in more detail the steps necessary - from beginning to end - to produce our once elusive large Pt/Pd print...stay tuned.


As long as you are here, please continue browsing the blog and also visit our web site at: to see the news of our other talented artists. 

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