All photographs on this site are available as limited edition fine art prints in traditional hand coated platinum/palladium or gum over platinum. Contact David or ICEBOX for additional information.


ICEBOX Gallery
1500 Jackson St. NE #443
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Currently seeking representation in other markets.

Platinum Printing Background

The platinum process begins by hand coating traditional cotton rag watercolor paper with a light sensitive mixture of iron, platinum and/or palladium salts. After drying and re-humidifying, a negative the same size as the final image is contact printed on the sensitized paper under intense ultraviolet light. The print is then developed instantaneously using a hot developer that reduces the platinum to its metallic state, effectively plating the paper fibers with metal. The iron and other extraneous compounds are then removed by a series of clearing baths.

In the 1830s, Sir John Herschel and Robert Hunt found that platinum compounds were sensitive to sunlight, but neither could form a stable image. By the 1870s, William Willis, an engineer from Birmingham, England, had made significant progress and was awarded the first patent for creating a photographic image using platinum. Willis started the Platinotype Company in London in 1880 to manufacture a commercial platinum printing paper. Platinum prints become the preferred fine art print for internationally known photographers such as Peter Henry Emerson and Frederick H. Evans. Later, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and their circle continued to champion its use. By this time there were many manufactures of commercial paper, including the Eastman Kodak Company. The military use of platinum during World War I and the Russian Revolution caused the price of platinum to skyrocket, effectively ending its use in fine art photography. The process lay dormant until the 1970s, when fine art photographers Irving Penn and George Tice began experimenting and resurrected it for their personal work.

Gum Dichromate over Platinum

The so called gum over or gum platinum process is another early 20th centry process practiced by the Pictorialists. The process starts with a standard palladium or platinum print. The print is then coated with a pigmented light sensitive gum arabic solution and re-exposed to the original negative. This process is typically repeated two or three times. By varying the pigment dichromate mix and exposure color can be placed into the highlights or shadows as desired. The result is an extraordinarily deep and rich print.