During the weekend of November 23rd and 24th I took an Into to Platinum Printing class with Carl Weese at The Center for Alternative Photography in NYC. I know Carl's work from the Drive in Movie Theater series he created and the writing he does for The Online Photographer Blog so I was eager to take a class with him.
We started with taking photos on the roof of the building and in the daylight studio. Exposing for the shadows, then developing for the highlights, we set the shadow detail on Zone 3. We then learned how to process 5x7 negatives in PMK pyro in trays. I was afraid to try this in the past but after the demonstration it is much easier than I thought.
After the negatives were dried, we learned how to prepare the sensitizer and paper. The room was a little cold and a little dry these days so we had to add a little humidity. Carl demonstrated how to coat the paper and the correct way to hold the brush, not pushing down too hard, keeping straight up and down. After coating the paper we let it dry until the surface was no longer shiny wet. Then it was dried longer in front of a small fan for about 2 minutes or until it was no longer cold on the back and wet on the front.
Once the print was dry, we put the negative emulsion side down onto the paper, then into a contact print frame. The negatives we made that day did not have a lot of stain from the pyro on it so they only took 3-4 minutes in the UV lightbox. After exposure we put them in a tray and poured the developer on it. It was like magic to see the image instantly appear. It reminded me of the first time I took photography class back in 1995. The biggest problem I had was getting the developer out onto the paper all at once without getting the developer all over the place. After that we washed them through a few washes and hung them to dry.
The two images below are ones I made from my own 8x10 negatives. They are a little soft because they were developed normally a while ago and did not have the benefit of the stain from the pyro.
Before the workshop I spent a lot of time and money trying to learn myself. After taking the workshop I believe I could develop my own negatives and make my own platinum prints from them. I would highly recommend the class with Carl and I plan on taking more in the future.