Every now and then I create an image that jumps outside the boundaries of the platinum palladium process. This image of Rowes Wharf is a perfect example. The platinum palladium process is ideal for subject matter that has a very long range of tones. This image has a shorter range of tones that are best suited as an inkjet print. I find some irony in saying that an inkjet print is more suited for this image. For many years I felt nothing but a sense of disdain for the inkjet process. The very thought of bypassing the hands-on process of the platinum palladium print in favor of an inkjet print left a very bad taste in my mouth. At that time I was using a large inkjet printer to create digital negatives for my platinum palladium process. Loading up a sheet of inkjet paper in the printer just made me feel all dirty on the inside. In a sense I had the feeling that I was selling my soul to the devil.
My antagonistic attitude toward an inkjet print was a result of the passion I felt for a finely crafted silver gelatin print. Working in the darkroom to create a handcrafted print was the holey grail for me. For the better part of two decades I had been working to master the silver gelatin process. My specialty had become the contact print. No enlarger required. All that I needed to make a print was an old fashioned reflector bowl fitted with a 300 watt bulb above a wooden hinged back frame. That's some real hardcore printing. Working with the contact printing process had made me feel a bit special. In reality I was in a special group of artisans. We were keeping the silver gelatin contact printing process alive. The silver gelatin process pushed me into learning the platinum palladium process. Working with platinum palladium goes well beyond the skills required for silver gelatin printing. Now don't get me wrong, the silver gelatin printing process takes years to learn and a few decades or so to master. Regardless of the printing process, I had formed some serious hostility toward the inkjet process.
At the time I failed to realize that I had in fact become an inkjet print snob. More irony as I encountered many an artist working with inkjet prints that had snobbish views toward my traditional print making techniques. Over time I started to look differently toward the inkjet print. This was largely in part to my departure from thinking that every image that lit up the ground glass of my view camera had to be a serious endeavor. My artistic compass was stuck in snob mode. It was high time to loosen up and have some fun. I popped the cork off the Asti Spumante and found myself celebrating a new found approach. It was as if an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The resulting approach to creating images that followed was one of bliss. I had finally overcome that rigid attitude toward the inkjet print. I have no intention of ditching the platinum palladium process. What I am doing is taking a more pragmatic approach to the image creation process. I have loosened up and now see the world in a more creative way. I find more images composed on my viewfinder that are a better fit as an inkjet print. I have even entertained the idea of shooting traditional color film. There are also images that I am hand-coloring within Photoshop. The large format negative is ideal for the dimensions of that oh so oversized inkjet print hanging on that even more oversized wall in the living room. In that spirit I offer this image of Rowes Wharf as an inkjet print.
About The Shot
Many years back I found myself looking at a of Rowes Wharf on the ground glass of my panoramic view camera. The wide nature view of Rowes Wharf demanded the use of my 8x20 panoramic view camera. Working with a large wooden view camera presents some rather inconvenient realities. Especially when composing an image at night. The view in the ground glass of a night scene is like looking at a bowel of chocolate pudding on the floor of a dimly lit basement in a pounding rain storm. My plan was to show up a few hours prior to the sun going down. That turned out to be a bad idea as the sun was shinning directly into the lens. I accepted defeat and made a plan to show up even earlier the next weekend. A few weeks of bad weather changed that plan. The next trip to Boston worked out better. I was able to set up the camera in the late afternoon and expose some film. The film was developed the next day. Excitement set in as I examined the fully developed negative. That excitement turned into disappointment. There were three negatives on the light table. Each of the negatives suffered from what we call motion sickness. The wind had shaken the camera ever so slightly during the 30 minute exposure. Such is life in the big city. I'll cut to the chase and summarize the rest of my journey. The final resulting image was worth every minute spent.
Total Trips To Boston – 9
Incomplete Trips To Boston – 3 (Traffic Misery)
Wasted Trips To Rowes Wharf – 5 (Wind Shaking The Camera)
Successful Trips To Rowes Wharf – 1
Total Sheets of Film Exposed – 14
Successfully Exposures – 2
Exposure Time – 30 minutes for each negative
Total Time Spent Exposing Film – 32 Hours
About The Print
The Rowes Wharf image was captured using an 8x20 view camera. The negative was scanned using a high resolution drum scanner. I have personally printed a 24”x60” print and I can say that the results are amazing. That’s only a 300% enlargement. The image could be printed even larger, yet there are practical limits. A print of the image can be purchased by clicking on the add to cart below. I offer 4 panoramic sizes that I personally print myself. Larger sizes are available by request. This is an open edition with the pricing structure suited to reflect that approach. The print is also available mounted to an acid free museum white mat board with 3 inch borders. Prints that are not matted are shipped rolled in a tube. Matted prints are shipped flat. Prints beyond the 24”x60” are best flush mounted to a foam core board, or mounted direct to acrylic.
The available sizes and prices are listed below. Prints are generally shipped within 5 days. The 24”x60” print can be mounted to an acid free black sheet of foam-core. Please add an additional week of shipping time for a mounted 24”x60”print. Feel free to reach out and contact me for any questions.