Monday, October 31, 2011

The ghostly effects of platinum images

I recently found this platinum print, nearly panoramic by virtue of being two separate prints attached at the center. It's a platinum print of the sepia variety and what made it interesting to me was the dramatic image transfer effects that occurred as a result of being stored folded. Each half of the image has "transferred" itself on to the other half. For example, the two women standing in the flower garden on the right side also appear as ghosts in the road on the left side. Both of the buildings have also transferred their mirror images to the opposing side. The best explanation for this image transfer effect has been posited by Mike Ware. His theory goes something like this: the platinum image metal plays a key role in the conversion of sulfur dioxide (an air pollutant) into sulfuric acid, which causes the brown discoloration of the paper. We often see this effect on paper folders and protective tissues in contact with platinum prints and also on paper materials in contact with matte collodion prints (which are toned with platinum).