Platinum and Palladium Printing

Stonehenge, England 1986. 12×20 inch Palladium Print

In the 70’s and 80’s, in May after I turned in my grades, I would usually head for London. After that, my first stop was Stonehenge. In those days, entry before and after visiting hours was by appointment, obtained by permit from the authorities. Considering the length of daylight this time of year, in the upper latitudes, you could have three to four hours in the morning and evening before they opened and closed the gates. You and your companion were allowed in alone with a guard and it was permissible to step over the wire fences enclosing the monument.

Occasionally, I would delay my visit to June, during the summer solstice. The daylight hours were even longer. Since Stonehenge is considered to be one of the “Vortices” there were, sometimes strange occurrences during the times of my visits. One was a lady, who brought in an iron, ironing board and laundry to work off the “current” generated by the stones.

It was during the 1986 solstice that I made this photograph. I usually exposed both sides of my 12×20 inch holder at each photo. This time, it was quite late, around 10:00 PM. When the second sheet of film was in the camera, the sun gave its last gasp, as light on the massive stones began to fade. I released the shutter. It was dark by the time I removed the film from the camera.

 

I didn’t know what I got until I was home to develop the film. I gave Tri X film maximum development, 20 minutes of straight D-76 at ninety degrees. The negative was still too thin for palladium printing, so while the emulsion was still soft, I toned it with selenium. That did the trick, although I had to use the most contrasty mixture of palladium possible. The print is one of my favorites. It is in quite a few collections, private and public.

Nowadays, visits to Stonehenge are different. Groups of people are allowed in under strict supervision. Not as much fun.

 

 

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Dick Arentz
1640 N. Spyglass Way
Flagstaff, AZ 86004-7382
Dick.Arentz@NAU.EDU

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Dick Arentz is a professional photographer, and retired University professor, who specializes in the platinum and palladium printing process. He has conducted over forty platinum printing workshops and has had over seventy one-man exhibits. His work is represented in public and private collections, including the New York and San Francisco Museums of Modern Art.

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