I was a the Queensland Centre of Photography on Saturday (Feb 23) evening and saw the "Granite" exhibition of 11x14 platinum/palladiotypes by Julian Pearce. Julian was there and much in demand for conversation but I got a fairly extended interview with him.
It turns out that he has been making noble metal photographs for some time but he perfected his technique under the tutelage of Gordon Undy aguably Australia's greatest platinotypist. The influence of the guru certainly certainly shows. Maybe Julian's photographs will find their own "voice" in time. What he does now is very traditional, very good.
The 11x14 camera is huge and heavy and Julian agreed that it limits mobility. Setting a perfect camera position may involve half an hour of exhausting labour and multiple trips to bring up the tripod, then the camera, then the film holders. It's all too much in one load. The payoff is supreme quality and image integrity. Like nearly everything in photography it is not an unalloyed bargain.
The platinum/palladiotypes got a mixed audience reaction. Some I talked to said they were tonally flat, lacked "snap", and didn't entertain the eye. Others saw them as classic examples of the genre: luminous shadows, controlled highlights, infinite gradations, and ultra-premium materials. For $950.00ea they are well priced for anyone wanting an impeccable platinum/palladium photograph for their collection.
Curiously the photographs were out of the frames that were used for the first showing at Point Light in Sydney. The QCP apparently bans works framed under glass and the platinum/palladiotypes were held up by little magnets at the corners. It was nice to see them up close without any intervening reflections.