Video shows the beauty and serenity of creating a platinum/palladium print from a Leica M Monochrom file

by Felix Esser

posted Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:42 PM EDT


There's nothing more fascinating and relaxing than watching a true craftsman patiently perform his or her work. This is especially true when it comes to the craftsmanship involved with old-fashioned analog photography, both the developing and the printing part. Just as the processing stage of analog photography requires skill and patience, it can be a joy to watch those proficient in it perform their work.

One of the lesser known printing techniques is the platinum/palladium process. As the name suggests, it uses either platinum or palladium as the light sensitive material, and it is said to have the broadest tonality of all chemical printing processes. It is exclusively monochrome, though, hence why it works best with black-and-white photography.

One of the modern masters of the platinum/palladium printing process is Manuel Gomes Teixeira, who was recently invited by Leica's official distributor in Portugal to test the Leica M Monochrom -- a modern digital rangefinder camera with a black-and-white sensor, and one that is said to produce digital images with very fine tonality. So it only seems logical that Teixeira would create a platinum/palladium print from an M Monochrom image.

The video below takes us on a journey from the capture of the picture through a Leica Summicron lens, all the way to the finishing of the print. During its eleven-minute runtime, we get to see all the steps involved in the process: the editing on the computer, the printing as a negative on transparent material, the preparation of the basis for the platinum/palladium print, the exposure in a special light chamber, and finally the chemical treatment of the print.

All this is captured in a very calm and slow-paced way with a lot of attention to detail, just as the whole process of manufacturing a platinum/palladium print needs patience and care. If a relaxing break from your stressful daily routine is just what you need right now, then this video will most certainly be the right treatment. And at the same time, it'll broaden your horizon a bit and show you a way of working that is the very opposite of the fast-paced lifestyle so many of us have succumbed to.

Platinum Palladium Printing with Leica M Monochrom from Luís Oliveira Santos on Vimeo.