PLATINUM: Contemporary Photography

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Peyote Ceremony chants, Navajo Reservation, Bluff, Utah, 1992. Platinum/palladium print.
Peyote Ceremony chants, Navajo Reservation, Bluff, Utah, 1992. Platinum/palladium print.,  ​ ​ © © Lois Conner,  Image courtesy of the artist
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5 p.m. Jan. 9, 2015 to 5 p.m. April 4, 2015

In photography, platinum prints (and their close cousins, palladium prints) are valued for their velvet matte surface, subtle range of tones, delicate rendering of the image, and colors which vary from cool greys to warm, rich browns. Patented in 1873, the platinum process has been used nearly consistently to the present. Along with other historic processes, platinum printing is one of many options available to today’s photographers. Yet even as digital photography becomes predominant, some photographers have gravitated to the platinum process for its analogue appeal, despite its expense and the labor it requires. 

Although many photographers experiment with the platinum process, few have explored the medium as extensively as Lois Conner, Scott Davis, Kenro Izu and Andrea Modica. Each of these four photographers have produced extensive bodies of work in platinum, exploiting the particular characteristics of the materials to produce innovative and compelling prints.

PLATINUM: Contemporary Photography is presented in conjunction with the exhibition All That Glitters is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography, on view in the Phoenix Art Museum’s Norton Gallery from November 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015. All That Glitters is a chronological exploration of how the medium has been used by a wide range of photographers from the 19th century to the present. PLATINUM presents the work of four masters of the process, to show just how far platinum can expand.