Paul Mansky is a local dentist. You read that correctly. I am trying to come up with an art for dental work barter system. He doesn’t know about this idea yet… In his spare time between kids and work, he shoots photos. Like many photographers he is drawn to the landscape. Mostly he spends his time in Michigan, but there are shots of Canada, and numerous national parks. Now the difficult thing about being a landscape photographer is that there are so many people doing that subject matter that it tends to be a cliché.
His method is different from anything I’ve seen. In fact I didn’t know it existed until he explained it to me. He uses an archaic process call “platinum palladium printing”. It is the oldest exposure process in the world. Platinum printing’s origins come from a man named Sir John Herschal, who in 1832 discovered that when you expose certain platinum compounds to light they can be reduced. In 1873 William Willis was able to create the process of platinum exposure and printing, so much so that he got a patent for it. Of course by then photography was a well known process, but the use of platinum as an element of exposure was dabbled with before the first photograph was ever made. What does this all mean? I don’t know, but I like the story. The moral is, that the process is ancient, difficult, time consuming, and expensive. The final product however is quite amazing. The photos I show here do not convey the unreal amount of detail in these prints. Paul tells me that the ink actually soaks into the paper instead of floating on top. This gives the image a great amount of depth and detail. In the world of digital manipulation, instant gratification, and anyone with a camera phone who can claim they are a photographer, Mansky is a breath of fresh air. He is doing this because he loves the art of photography, and he enjoys the tedious process of the dark room. Bravo Paul!
About Platinum Photography
Although platinum photography is difficult and costly to create, the beauty and the permanence make it so unique and treasured. Unlike the silver print process, platinum lies on the papers surface, while with silver photography the paper lies in emulsion that coats its surface. Platinum photographs, not having been soaked in emulsion, have a final image which is matte with a deposit of platinum slightly absorbed into the paper. Platinum prints are as time-enduring as the strongest steel or stone, their life-span could last thousands of years if only the paper it was printed on could also last as long. Not only because of the unique longevity of the photo is platinum photography being valued as an investment to collectors but also because of its immense beauty. This kind of photography is so alluring because of the wide range of different tones of black and white giving the image such life and depth.