This is the first part of my ‘Joy of POP’ series about how to get the best out of the platinum/palladium printing-out process. Here is a link to the whole series.
The platinum/palladium printing-out process (POP) is an amazing thing. It is so good that this year I switched away from the traditional developing-out process which I have used for years.
Here are my biggest three reasons for switching:
- I can get a wider range of tones – all the way from super-strong blacks, through chocolatey burnt umbers, to graceful silvers.
- I don’t have to keep lots of different grades of Potassium Oxalate developer available. I still use Potassium Oxalate developer, but now I just need one standard mix.
- The printing-out process is immune to black spots. Since switching I have not seen a single black spot, while before switching I would see these almost every day.
And here are three common misconceptions about POP that I have learned are myths:
- Prints are inconsistent. This is only true if you do not have control over humidity. You can get control with a few simple steps. My prints are completely consistent.
- It is hard to manage contrast. Actually the opposite is true. I have learned that contrast control is really easy.
- The process is tricky/finicky/more trouble than it is worth. This is also not true. The process is incredibly easy. Actually, by comparison, POP makes the traditional process look tricky/finicky/more trouble than it is worth.
Properly covering this process was one of my goals when writing The Platinum Printing Workshop. I had dabbled with it before, but this was the first time I made a serious attempt to learn and understand it. I am happy with what I wrote, but since I published my book I have learned much more.
Over a series of blog posts I will explain how to work with the printing-out process, how to avoid some common mistakes, and how to get the best out of your prints. I hope these instructions will stand on their own, although they are really intended as a supplement to my book, especially Chapter 6.
The way of working I will describe pulls together various elements of all three of the main printing-out process variants: Pizzighelli’s historical process, Malde-Ware, and the Ziatype. I hope you will find that this way of working is simple, down to earth, and very effective.
Updated links for the third edition: