Contact Photo: Q&A with printer Bob Carnie

Our 2016 Contact Photo Festival feature is photographer Monica Glitz.

Monica will be showcasing her works from her Ancient Splendor series that documents UNESCO World Heritage sites. Each print featured in the show will be made using alternative printmaking processes.

Below is a Q&A with Bob Carnie who printed Monica’s collection.

April 22 – May 31 | Opening April 28



Why platinum palladium and tri-colour?

We have chosen these two processes as they have the look, texture and feeling of work done in the very beginning of photographic printmaking. These images are of historically significant subjects that have been preserved, but also worn down by time. Contemporary prints cannot give us the colour palette and physical sense that these two processes offer. In both cases the paper is arches platine, which is produced in France and has been offered for over three hundred years.The noble metal of platinum palladium sinks into the very fabric of this paper and any resulting pigment is layered on top for an exquisite image.

Why is it important to print using these permanent processes

We know that through exhaustive research on print permanence that the noble metals of platinum palladium will not fade, in fact the paper will decompose before the metal will go away.The tri colour prints that we are making use the same pigments that are in some of the wall graphics Monica photographed. We feel that the sites she is portraying are significant and our prints reflect the endurance of these structures and locations. If by chance complete ruin due to Natures or Mans device happens, these prints may be the only permanent physical record in our digital age.

Can you explain the procedure and how long it takes?

The procedure to make these prints (tri colour) is to first separate the supplied image into five layers or negatives. One is to use as a positive for future negative registration, one negative to produce a black and white image on the arches platine; the other three negatives are Yellow, Magenta and Cyan negatives, which are the subtractive colours that when combined on top of the platinum palladium creates a full tone rendition of the original scene Monica creates. Each step takes hours to create so for every single image it could take days to produce.