According to Christina Z. Anderson, a new Alternative Process paper that sounds perfect for Platinum Printing is coming out soon from Hahnemühle. See the details below. If true it really sounds incredible. It also is bittersweet as I am close to calibrating Fabrino Artistco after 3 months. I love the blacks Fabrino give but it sucks solutions like a sponge and you have to pre soak it.
"For over nine months I have been in conversation with Carol Boss of Hahnemühle, under a nondisclosure agreement, beta testing a new platinum paper along with a number of other alt printers (we did not share info with each other so we would not skew the results). I am thrilled to announce that the fruit of this extensive testing has just been unveiled: Hahnemühle Platinum Rag. The image gracing the package is Kerik Kouklis’ image, another beta tester.
For those of us who print alternative processes we know that there are a lot of papers that are alkaline-buffered and therefore unsuitable for certain alternative processes unless pre-acidified, which adds an extra PITA step. For platinum, the mainstay papers have been Arches Platine and Bergger Cot 320. This new paper has trumped those two papers as my platinum paper of choice (I am not employed by Hahnemühle nor do I stand to gain $$ or paper from them!).
100% cotton, internally sized, no buffering, no optical brighteners, 300 gsm, pH-neutral. Even though called natural white, it is slightly whiter than Arches Platine. It is 1/3 stop faster than Platine. The paper prints deep charcoal blacks even with hot potassium oxalate developer which is as warm as it gets (I settled on room temp pot ox in the long run), clears easily of all iron salts, and works perfectly under lower humidity conditions such as those present in Montana. Even under 20-25% humidity I experienced no bleeding of the shadows into the highlights, which is a common problem with Platine in my practice.
The paper is smooth, crisp, firm, not very absorbent, and still prints beautifully with 20% less solution than 1 drop per 2 sq. in., my standard amount. This represents a cost savings. And no bronzing occurred with less solution and less humidity (I tried it as low as 57% of my usual amount of coating which was not a good thing on this or any paper). Both back and front print beautifully and similarly, therefore another savings in case you “booboo” the front.
I tested gum over platinum, cyanotype over platinum, cyanotype alone, watercolor over platinum, and the paper stood up perfectly through several wet and dry cycles. I have not yet tested tricolor gum and six or more wet/dry cycles to see if it outperforms Fabriano Artistico in that regard. Cyanotype on this paper is a gorgeous rich, deep blue. VDB next to test.
Sizes offered will be 22x30, 20x24, 11x15, 8x10, 8.5x11, come March. I know that Freestyle Photo and Bostick-Sullivan will both carry it along with other retailers. My guess is there will be a run on the paper so watch for it!
When a company like Hahnemühle puts their money behind a platinum paper, this is yet another happy indication of the growing alternative process market and I thank Carol Boss for moving this project forward tirelessly!"