Visions In Platinum
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, the subject matter I am most passionate about is the Canadian Rockies. I mainly use ultra large-format view cameras ranging in size from 7″ X 17″, 8″ X 20″ up to the ultra-large 12″ X 20″ for my photographic work. I chose these formats because of their exaggerated rectangles, which extend the sweeping narrative of the landscape, and because they effectively articulate the way I see the world. The view camera also has the unsurpassed ability to control perspective and capture the greatest amount of detail.
For the last 20 years, I have chosen to express these images predominantly in the medium of the handcrafted platinum print because this classic process more fully reveals the entire original tonal scale. It conveys a sense of three-dimensionality and enables me to convincingly translate the elements of space, water, atmosphere, and land with a delicacy unattainable with any other process. It creates a sense of presence. From the viewers’ perspective, it invites a different way of seeing, like a journey through a new land.
Modern visions and interpretations of time and place supported by historical processes such as platinum printing can produce very compelling imagery as reality is raised to an abstraction. A synthesis of ultra-large format 12″ X 20″ view camera photography with the platinum print impacts the viewer directly by articulating a vast sweeping narrative. Thus, the imagery itself, the platinum printing process to support this imagery and the technique to capture it on film are combined to produce bold and compelling visual statements. That one will keep revisiting these images time and time again to relive the experience of what was seen and felt by me at the time the photographs were made is the defining characteristic of these photographs.
The large-format negatives that are used to make platinum prints are also uniquely suited to making very detailed black and white silver gelatin images. These images are fundamentally different from platinum prints and exhibit more contrast and render a cooler and bolder interpretation of the subject. And unlike the platinum print which is a contact printing process, virtually grainless silver gelatin images made from these large negatives can be enlarged up to wall mural size and still convey a sense of depth and presence. This analog process of making these unique limited edition silver prints in the darkroom also lends an air of authenticity compared to the ubiquitous digital print.
Limited Edition Prints
Sunrise On Lake Louise, Lake Louise, AB$1,500.00 – $9,600.00
Sunrise On Lake Louise, Lake Louise, AB #2$3,300.00
Spirit Island, Jasper NP, AB 8X10$1,500.00
Moraine Lake, Banff NP, AB 8X10$1,500.00
Engine, Alberta Prairie #41, Stettler, AB$3,300.00
Alberta Prairie # 41, Stettler, Alberta$3,300.00
The Platinum Process holds a very special place in the universe of photography, both historically and aesthetically. Irving Penn once said, “Compared to a silver print, a platinum print is like adding another dozen keys to a piano keyboard while allowing one to strike each of the keys with greater nuance.”
The platinum print process gives results that are more accurately descriptive and more faithful to nature than other photographic methods because it is capable of combining precision of definition with a softness and delicacy unattainable by any other process. Most viewers are therefore drawn to the extraordinary scale, warmth and subtlety of the platinum print and its ability to portray the world in terms that are intensely believable.
To prove and establish a printing process that conveys that luminous expansive feeling one has when viewing a well made platinum print is one of the technical objectives of these images. During the coating of the platinum and palladium solution onto the paper, it soaks into the paper before drying. The reduction of the platinum and palladium chemicals to the metallic component under UV light then takes place not only on the surface but into the paper as well. This creates a perception of depth and is one of the most unique properties of a platinum print in addition to the tactile nature, three-dimensionality, warm tones and unsurpassed tonal scale which are the defining characteristics of a platinum print.