Carl Weese PtPd Workshop at CFAAHP

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by wilsonneal, May 21, 2006.

  1. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    Northern NJ
    8x10 Format
    Just returned home after the 2 1/2 day "Intro To Platinum Printing" workshop held by the Center for Alternative and Historic Processes in New York City. The workshop was led by photographer/author Carl Weese, and was attended by 6 students, including APUG's own FlyingCamera.

    Carl's approach relies more on controlling contrast in development of the negative than on contrast control agents in the coating process, and I really liked this approach alot. My overall impression is that everything I've read up to this point made PtPd sound really complicated, and I now know it's not. It is, however, fun and addictive.

    We started Friday night talking about the process and then went up to the roof of the facility where the class was held, a pro-lab on East 30th Street, to make some photographs using Carl's 5x7 Agfa. The pictures were mostly exercises in tonal range so that we could get a sense of what the PtPd process' capabilities.

    Saturday morning we returned to the roof and shot some more tests, and then souped all the film in Pyro. After lunch the film was dry and we commenced learning how to coat using a brush. We didn't experiment with a tube, but the brush coating went so well for all of us that I don't think I've got much interest in the tube spreader now.

    Our UV exposures were accomplished with lightning speed thanks to a bank of UV flourescent tubes that put out something like 75w x 8 tubes. We were dealing with exposure times of 2 to 4 minutes for the most part.

    By the end of the day Saturday, we'd all had a chance to get at least one coated, developed, cleared print under our belts and had the night to think about the process.

    When we went in Sunday we began adjusting time, varying concentrations of Pt to Pd, or experimenting with contrast agents to achieve the results we were after. I experimented with a personal negative that wasn't Pyro and got very satisfying results. Another student had some really neat plastic camera images she'd had scanned/printed for enlarged negs and worked on those. Eric Taubman, who owned the lab where we worked and is teaching several other CFAAHP workshops, experimented successfully with some glass negs he'd brought that worked beautifully (interestingly, his work is featured in this month's View Camera).

    At the conclusion of the workshop I had 4 different versions of my personal negative--all were satisfying--and a couple of other prints from the shots we did at the workshop. I love the look of the prints. I am hooked. I know it will change the way I work.

    Carl Weese is a solid instructor. He led a fast paced and interesting weekend packed with learning. We had lots of 1:1 access for questions and problem solving. I am not sure how his approach may differ from other practitioners of PtPd, but the techniques I learned were easy to get comfortable with and I feel confident I'll be able to replicate the results at home.

    As I said to CFAAHP Director Patricia Katchur before leaving, I'm not a rich man, and the cost of a workshop is a significant investment that could be spent on equipment or supplies, but I feel I got incredible value for my money and had a terrific time with some great folks. I highly recommend the workshops offered by the Center. You can learn more at

    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2006
  2. donbga

    donbga Member

    Nov 7, 2003
    Large Format Pan
    I think their workshops are very reasonably priced and it's nice having them here on the East coast.

    Sounds like you had a very positive experience.
  3. photomc

    photomc Member

    Jul 20, 2003
    Multi Format
    Sounds like a good workshop indeed. Nice to take one from someone like Mr. Weese.
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    May 24, 2005
    Washington DC
    Multi Format
    I'll add in my 2 cents worth. I wholeheartedly agree with Neal. CFAAHP is a wonderful, under-recognized and under-utilized resource. This was my second workshop through them. They do several things there that make the workshops well worth the money. Class sizes are extremely limited - 6-8 people maximum. Their facilities are first-rate, which makes the hands-on end of the workshop highly successful. Because of the small class sizes and the dedication of everyone attending, people bond and express a real desire to stay in touch after the workshops. Perhaps most of all, they get awesome instructors to lead the classes.

    I came into the class with some experience printing pt/pd, so some of it was a rehash of things I already knew. However, it was definitely worth it to watch an acknowledged master of the medium go through the process in an organized way, and have ready answers for troubleshooting image problems. Now I know where I was going wrong with certain things I was doing, and what I was doing right that I didn't even know was right. I definitely want to do an advanced Pt/Pd class at some point in the future.