Blog / Paper Preparation [English]
Prints are made on Platine paper manufactured by Moulin d’Arches, a paper mill founded in 1492 in Vosges, France.
This 310 gsm art paper is made with traditional techniques on cylinder molds. It is acid free and without alkaline reserve or optical bleach. Guaranteed 100% cotton, it has been specially designed for platinum-palladium prints.
The sheet is 381 x 283 mm, and the contact negative is 279 x 216 mm, creating margins of 33 mm and 51 mm.
I use a pencil to create register marks 33 mm from the top edge and 51 mm from the right edge.
I then place a negative on the marks, which allows me to easily create the opposite marks (lower, and left) perfectly parallel with the first ones.
With these pencil marks, I can position my masking bands. I use Scotch-Blue 2080, which is removable and comes off without damaging the paper surface, and is resistant to moisture.
The area that will receive the photosensitive solution is now defined.
The solution (ferric oxalate + sodium tetrachloropalladate + potassium chloroplatinate) is prepared with a dropper.
The solution is poured onto the photosensitive paper. There is no need to work in the dark, as the solution is not sensitive enough to be affected by a standard 60 watt light. However, working in direct sunlight should be avoided.
The solution is rapidly expanded with a brush. The operation requires some practice to get a uniform distribution and to not damage the surface of the paper.
The paper has to be dried in the open air, in darkness. After thirty minutes, the masking tape is removed and the paper is ready for exposure.
From my experience, a paper that has dried too much does not work very well. The surface should be just dry enough to avoid damaging the negative.
When using masking tape, we get prints with “straight borders.”
For aesthetic reasons, or to reflect the traditional aspect of the process, some people prefer “free borders,” made without masking tape, which reveals the brush strokes used to spread the solution on the photosensitive paper.
In the “free borders” technique, there are no masking bands to help identify the surface to be covered, just discreet pencil markings.
The solution is spread rapidly on the paper with crossed movements.
With this style, we see the brush marks on the final print instead of a straight edge.