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Platinum-Gum Printing with Digital Negs: Kerik Kouklis | Apr. 6-12, 2014

Kerik Kouklis, Gayle, gum over platinum, 2009
Kerik Kouklis, Gayle, gum over platinum print of collodion image, 2009

Platinum/palladium printing is a nineteenth century photographic printing process based on iron, platinum, and palladium rather than silver. It is considered one of the most beautiful photographic processes because of its very subtle gradation of tones. Kerik Kouklis will be teaching this process at Penland this April.

Paltinum/palladium prints are made with paper that has been hand coated, and they are exposed in contact with a negative that’s the same size as the final print. The success of the print depends on using a negative that matches the characteristics of the platinum/palladium material.

Creating these negatives used to require a high level of darkroom skill, but today, carefully-tuned negatives can be made with an inkjet printer, making the whole process much more accessible. This is the method that will be used in this workshop.


Kerik Kouklis
Platinum-Gum Printing with Digital Negatives
In the photography studio

We’ll start by making digital negatives with the QuadTone RIP program and Epson printers. Then we’ll use these negatives to make platinum/palladium prints, and we’ll cover the fundamentals of the gum bichromate process. Adding layers of gum bichromate to a platinum/palladium print can result in prints ranging from subtle to wildly colorful. Combining these processes allows you to use both the left and right sides of your brain to produce work that’s uniquely yours. Darkroom or alternative process experience helpful but not required. Students should have basic skills in Photoshop (adjustment tools, layers, etc.). Code S02P


Register for this workshop here


In addition to covering the production of digital negatives, hand coating the paper, and making the platinum/palladium prints, this workshop will also include an introduction to another nineteenth century process called gum bichromate. This process involves pigment suspended in a medium that hardens in response to light, and a gum print can be made in almost any color. In this workshop, the gum process will be applied on top of the platinum/palladium prints as a way of adding new tonalities to the images. 


Kerik Kouklis has taught photography at the Photographer’s Formulary (MT), Ansel Adams Gallery (CA), and Project Basho (Philadelphia), among others. His work has been shown in exhibitions at the Ansel Adams Gallery (CA), Taube Museum of Art (NC), and is housed in  collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts (PA).


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An Expansive Vision


Dan Gottlieb, Bosphorus Ferry Terminal, Istanbul, archival inkjet print, 21 x 21 inches, 2010


On February 2, a special exhibition will open in support of Penland’s new photography studio.  An Expansive Vision: Photographers Working for Penland will culminate in a live auction of a wide-range of works by photographers with Penland connections and affinities. Absentee bids are encouraged.


Dan Gottlieb’s photograph taken in a terminal ferry in Istanbul (above), is one of the works included in An Expansive Vision. About the photograph, Dan writes:

This piece is part of a long series of (non)documentation of places of deep immersion—in this case, Istanbul. Small cameras act as an extension of my body’s movement, recording not conventional information but my own presence moving through time and place. Light, like memory and time is bent and blurred. The frame is my own design (patent pending), as a way to ‘preserve’ the immaterial in a sort of Riker Box.–Dan Gottlieb


The exhibition and auction will be hosted by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus at their Chapel Hill, NC residence, gallery and residency space, Cassilhaus. If you’re in the Triangle area, an opening reception featuring a gallery talk by Robin Dreyer (whose work is included in the show) will take place on Sunday, February 2, at 2:00 pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Frank Konhaus directly at to RSVP.

The exhibition is also open by appointment leading up to the auction, February 2-March 2. Cassilhaus will host a live auction on Sunday, March 2, and absentee bids are encouraged. Please take a look at the full details for how to place bids from afar and an auction catalog, here.

Below are a few more of the works (and statements about these works) provided by the artists for An Expansive Vision:


Alida Fish, Nautilus with Bug, gelatin silver print with hand painting, 16 x 20 inches, 1985


This piece was shot in the summer while I was teaching a workshop at Penland. I had Morgan house to myself one afternoon and looked around for inspiration. The nautilus shell was borrowed from Evon Streetman, the pods and the beetle I found near the porch steps. For me this work symbolizes the beauty and inspiration I often find at Penland. It was printed in the darkroom: it is a black and white silver print. The insect is hand-painted with enamel paint.–Alida Fish


John Pfahl, Big Dipper (Charlotte, North Carolina), archival inkjet print, 8 x 10 inches, 1976


This photograph is part of the Altered Landscape series. About a dozen workshop participants helped set up sparklers in a cornfield near the home of photographer Martha Strawn.–John Pfahl


David Spear, Juana Paloma, Mexico, 1998, gelatin silver print, 18 x 18 inches, 1998


This photograph was made in the desert along Highway 59, the main North/South highway in Mexico near the city of Matahuala. I saw this young girl with the raven lying on the ground sleeping, the raven tied to a stick next to her. I asked her mother if I could make a photograph and she agreed. Juana stood up and held the raven. I made several photographs. Later in the darkroom, I could see that the resulting photograph was quite startling. Innocence and innocence lost all at the same moment, the heroic face set against a hard world. She touches people in ways that they have not plumbed. She brings out the goodness in people here.–David Spear


An Expansive Vision: Photographs Working for Penland’s Future features work by Kyle Bajakian, Courtney Dodd, Chris Peregoy, David Spear, Ralph Burns, James Henkel, Benjamin Porter, Jim Stone, Shane Darwent, Russell Jeffcoat, John Pfahl, Evon Streetman, Robin Dreyer, Keith Johnson, Brook Reynolds, Harry Taylor, Dan Estabrook, Naima Merella, Holly Roberts, Sarah Van Keuren, Alida Fish, E. Vincent Martinez, Linda Foard Roberts, Caroline Hickman Vaughan, Lisa A. Frank, Elizabeth Matheson, Alyssa C. Salomon, David H. Wells, Dan Gottlieb, John Menapace, MJ Sharp, John Woodin, David Graham, Jeannie Pearce, and Jerry Spagnoli–and is sponsored by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus, Jefferson Holt, Light Art+Design, Barbara McFadyen and Douglass Phillips, Kaola and Frank Phoenix, and Allen Thomas.