Offering a range of traditional and contemporary lab and studio services for those photographers working with both film and digital.
All work is created entirely and meticulously by hand at the studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota to the absolute highest standard using traditional techniques, and with only the finest quality materials. Film is processed by hand in small batches, handcrafted prints are made in the darkroom using traditional methods, and custom portfolio cases made to order. No corners are cut and I do whatever it takes to produce work that is exceptional and special.
Black and White Film Processing
Polymer Photogravure Prints
Handmade Portfolio Cases
Screw Post Portfolios
Handmade Notebooks and Journals
The platinum process, like many of those alternative processes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, requires a negative the same size as the final image. This is because the platinum sensitiser is only sensitive to ultraviolet light. These large negatives are output using Pictorico film and an inkjet printer.
The platinum print is made by hand-coating a sheet of paper, by brush, with light sensitive chemicals containing platinum and palladium metal solutions. The ratio of the two metals can be slightly adjusted to control the colour of the image – a higher proportion of platinum will result in a cooler image, while more palladium will give a warmer image.
Once the sensitised paper is dry, the negative is registered on top, placed in a vacuum frame to ensure complete contact and exposed to ultraviolet light. After exposure the negative is removed from the paper and the print placed in the potassium oxalate developer where the image appears instantaneously. The print is rinsed, placed in several successive clearing baths of EDTA to remove unwanted chemicals and metals and finally washed and dried.
Just as the ratio of platinum to palladium can control the image colour, the type of developer and its temperature can also have a dramatic effect on the colour of a print. When potassium oxalate is used as a developer it will result in a warmer tone, especially when heated, than either ammonium or sodium citrate developers.
Assuming the paper used is of archival quality and that the processing workflow is carried out correctly, the resulting print will have archival properties far in excess of any other photographic medium, making it desirable to collectors and galleries.
There's no denying it, working with film these days is hard work. There are no short-cuts and it all takes time, but I guess it always has. For every film or paper that's bought onto the market, another two disappear, or so it seems. But it's still so much fun, even after all these years!
The prints are all hand-printed by me in the darkroom, using film, enlargers and chemistry, the same way it has been done since the early days of the 20th century. I only use fibre papers and all prints are toned and processed to archival standards.
The traditional way involves copper plates, acids and delicate tissues, as well as a lot of space and studio equipment, but today we’re able to use an environmentally friendlier alternative, the photopolymer plate.
Unlike copper plates, these plates washout (develop) in plain water, are much easier to work with and are quicker to process. The polymer plate is twice exposed to uv light – once in contact with an aquatint screen (a stochastic, or random patterned screen producing a similar effect to a halftone) and then to the image positive. After both exposures and having removed the film, the plate is immersed in water and gently brushed with a soft sponge or brush for several minutes. This washout removes the unexposed and unhardened areas of polymer (shadows) while those that were exposed to uv light harden, become insoluble and remain on the plate (highlights). After processing the plate is dried and re-exposed to uv light to cure it and enable it to withstand the pressure of the press.
The plate is inked and gently wiped by hand using tarlatan to remove the ink from the lightest areas, but being careful to leave ink in the grooves of the darkest shadow areas. The finished plate is then placed on the bed of an intaglio press, covered with damp etching paper and the felts and run through the press. Under pressure the ink is squeezed out of the deep grooves and onto the paper to form the image. Carefully, the felts are lifted and the print pulled away from the plate and laid out to dry. The plate can then re-inked, wiped and printed until the edition is complete.
I teach workshops in the polymergravure process approximately once or twice a year at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. To see the schedule, see the Workshops page.
Handmade Portfolio Cases
Clamshell cases are an elegant, yet practical, method for the presentation and protection of photographs, documents and books and the interlocking tray design provides safe storage and reduces the contents’ exposure to light and dust. Each case is made entirely by hand using traditional techniques and the best archival materials.
Also known as a Solander box, Dr. Daniel Solander sailed with Captain Cook aboard the Endeavour, as one of the ship’s botanists, to the Pacific Ocean. While cataloguing the natural history collections of the British Museum he invented this style of box, which is still used in libraries and archives today and considered the most suitable way of storing prints, drawings and manuscripts.
Available cases will be listed on www.keithtaylor.shop. Contact me for custom case commissions.
I often teach workshops on constructing clamshell cases. Please see the Workshops page for upcoming classes.