Gold – one of the most precious metals – is often considered the standard by which other valuables are compared. In photography however, many consider the platinum process to be the most exquisite and luxurious. Expensive to produce platinum prints are coveted for the luscious matte surface texture, subtle range of tones, delicate rendering of the image, and beautiful colors (from a cool, slate grey to rich, warm browns).
Patented in 1873, platinum prints (and their close cousin, palladium prints) have been produced nearly constantly, right to the present. At different stages in the medium’s history, the platinum process has been used to achieve different artistic goals. All that Glitters is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography presents platinum photographs from the collection of the Center for Creative Photography, including works by Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, William E. Macnaughtan, Peter Henry Emerson, Dick Arentz and more. They are organized chronologically to illustrate the distinct phases of use and how photographers worked with this beautiful printing process.
Left: Peter Henry Emerson, A Reed-Cutter at Work, ca. 1885 (detail). Platinum print. Center for Creative Photography: University of Arizona purchase. Right: William E. Macnaughtan, A Connecticut River, 1912 (detail). Platinum print. Center for Creative Photography: University of Arizona. Gift of Mrs. Raymond C. Collins.
The exhibition is organized by the Center for Creative Photography and Phoenix Art Museum.