Despite the scarcity, expense and craftsmanship required in the printing process, the prints in this show are made of palladium. Palladium has perhaps the longest range and the most delicate tonal scale of all photographic processes. Palladium is one of the rarest metals in the world. As you look at the prints in this exhibit what you are viewing is an image that is made up of the metal palladium. The palladium process was chosen to complement and enhance the ethereal nature of the images.
Palladium is one of the “noble” metals that include platinum, gold, rhodium, and iridium. Noble metals are rare, precious and extremely resilient to degradation. Palladium is one of the rarest metals on earth, it is about 15 times rarer than platinum and 30 times rarer than gold.
The paper the photographs are printed on were hand coated with a mixture of palladium chloride combined with ferric oxalate a chemical that renders palladium sensitive to light. To create a palladium print a negative is produced the size of the desired image. The paper and negative are sandwiched together in a contact frame and exposed to high intensity ultraviolet light. The print is then developed in a solution of ammonium citrate and processed to rigid archival standards. After finishing and drying each image in this show received six to ten fine mists of an archival varnish to enrich the dimensionality of the prints.
Palladium prints are unique not only in their expansive tonal range but also in the method of creation. The chemistry for each print is created and hand brushed by the practitioner on a sheet of fine art paper shortly before the print is exposed and processed. Each print is unique. Palladium ranks among the most archival of all photographic processes. There is no comparison between the tremendous longevity of a palladium print and the relatively brief lifespan of a digital print.
In the last century, many of the world’s most revered photographers (Alfred Stieglitz, Irving Penn, Paul Strand, Frederick Evans etc.) have chosen the platinum/palladium process to present their work.
The prints in this show were published and produced by Paul Taylor, Director of Renaissance Press. Paul has long been renowned as one of the finest printers of a variety of photography processes.