What, Why, & How FAQ

What, Why, & How?

Q.Why platinum printmaking?
A.For you, platinum printing means a unique, handcrafted print that displays a delicate luminosity in images capable of surviving unchanged for generations. For us, it is an opportunity to completely immerse ourselves in the printmaker’s art while rendering our images as no other process can.

Q.Why large format photography?
A.Beyond the obvious—the bigger the negative, the more image detail that can be captured—large format photography is a very deliberative process. In the beginning, it forces the photographer to take his or her time observing the subject, because there are so many manual settings to make on the camera and a single sheet of film can cost more than a whole, 36-exposure roll of 35mm film. When the science of observation becomes second nature, the photographer can then pre-visualize and control the finished image in a way not possible when squinting through a smaller format viewfinder. We feel everyone should experience the radiant glow of an image on a large format camera’s ground glass at least once in their lives.

Q.Why black and white, not color?
A.Working in black and white (and let’s not forget the infinite shades of grey in-between) lends an abstract quality to our work, because we don't normally see a world without color. It also simplifies the image so the viewer isn’t overpowered with extraneous information. That’s not to say color doesn’t have its place; it just doesn’t fit our vision of our images in this part of the journey.

Q.Why do your prints cost more than some other photographers’ black and whites?
A.Three components are figured into our print pricing. First is the cost of materials, which is much higher than that for modern silver prints made with digital or small format camera images. Second is that shooting in large format and printing in platinum are much more labor and time intensive than mainstream photographic processes. Third, we have to eat, too, but that part is about the same as any reasonably well-nourished photographer. Oh, and there’s always the fact that we'll probably be bitten by a rattlesnake or eaten by a gila monster while shooting in the desert, and you know what happens to art prices when the artist has departed this mortal coil (hmmm...maybe we should raise our prices and enjoy it while we can...).

Ultimately, however, the value of a print is in the eye of the beholder, and we can’t determine what that value is to you. If our work sufficiently moves you and you can afford the other costs, it is worth the price. If not, it isn’t. We will never trade on our name simply to sell a product or set our prices.

Q.What's a diptych or a triptych?
A.A diptych is a print made by using two different side-by-side (or upper and lower) shots of a subject, while a triptych uses three shots. The effect is akin to using a larger negative to capture the image, except that there are “breaks” between each of the negative images that make up the whole. We find great pleasure in making and viewing these multi-negative prints, but discovering just the right subject matter, designing the shots, and actually making the large print can all be quite a challenge.

Q.Why do some of your prints have irregular, dark borders?
A.Generally, we mask the edges of negatives we are printing to leave clean, “paper white” borders around the printed image. In a few cases, however, we do let the border of hand coated platinum show if it enhances the image in some way and doesn’t detract from it. Unmasked borders may show brush marks or be almost solid black with irregular outer edges. When we mount prints with such borders, we cut the mat window to show the border, unless requested to do otherwise.

Q.How many prints of each image do you make?
A.Currently, we limit our editions to twenty-five or fewer prints, each. We also make one or two finished prints before an edition is run and keep those “artist’s proofs” for ourselves. All other test prints are destroyed.