Handmade Prints

I make all of my prints in my studio using two historic processes:  Platinum/Palladium and Photogravure Printing. I consider the tremendous effort and skill needed to create these fine art photographs to be as satisfying as when capturing the moment on film.  Because these methods are handmade, each print is different, there will be varying brush strokes on the Platinum/Palladium prints, and differing degrees of tonality in the Photogravure Printing due to the hand process of inking and polishing the plate.  Please contact me directly at rantonek (at) mac (dot) com for acquisition and pricing.

Prints:

All of my handmade prints are on fine art acid free paper such as Arches Platine, using archival methods.  Prints are available in either portfolio sets by project or individually.  Portfolios are placed in archival boxes with a personalized note on the project and dated, numbered, and signed by myself.

Platinum and Palladium Printing:

Since the beginning of photography the Platinotype has been the highest standard for photographic printing.  Created in 1874, it utilizes the noble metals of Platinum, Palladium, and even Gold that allows for great tonal range and coloration. Noticeably more soft then silver gelatin prints, Platinum/Palladium prints appear matte on the paper, but bring out more details and offering greater control to print warm to cool. Finally, as these noble metals do not oxidize, this historical process is long admired for its longevity and quality.

After the mixing of the noble metals, a brush is used to hand coat the paper, thereby creating an emulsion that can be used to print on.  The metal salts soak into the paper and require time to dry.  The emulsion salts are then activated by placing a negative directly on top of the coated area and exposing it to a high intensity UV light. 

Once exposed the print is placed in a chemical development bath that brings the image forward.  Once developed the print needs to be washed thru numerous clearing baths to remove the paper of any residual chemicals.  Humidity, image density and tonality, chemistry and mixture of metals all contribute to the unique nature of each print.

In all of my prints you will see the individual hand coated brush strokes, making every print different. I believe the Platinotype Process imbues my images with the vitality they require and provides a rare and unique print that is often highly sought after by collectors.

Photogravure Printing:

I personally hand pull each of my Photogravure Prints on archival paper via a Tackach Intaglio press from plates I have created off my negatives and then inked.  While Photogravure Printing is long out of fashion, and requires learning and mastering printmaking; I have fallen in love with this process and believe it is one of the timeless traditions of photographic printing.

This process requires me to expose my images onto metal plates, bevel the plates, mix my inks for the desired tone, then ink the plates and diligently wipe and polish the plates to a burnished shine.  I then place the plate onto the Intaglio Press bed followed by a sheet of archival fine art paper that has been soaking in water for a day or two.  The print is then hand pulled via the Intaglio Press to imprint the image into the paper.  As the press passes over the plate, the ink is transferred into the pliant paper, making a deep impression in the paper. When done right it produces an amazingly textured print with deep rich blacks.

Given the nature of the process every print can differ in tone and depth due to the variety of inking, polishing, and interaction with the paper, as well as imperfections due to the hand making process. I consider each of my prints as handmade works of art on archival paper.


Polaroids:

One off Polaroids are my special shots taken while using one of my many instant cameras which produces soft focus, high vignette, and chromatic aberration.  Sizing is approx 3x4 inches for each Polaroid.  These prints are delightfully small but carry the decisive moment forward in rugged fashion.


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