Lenscloud works in close partnership with 31 Studio for the production of fine art black and white photographs. 31 Studio is the foremost specialist for Platinum and Platinum-Palladium printing, and was the first dedicated workshop to be specifically set up in the UK and to revive this lost art. 31 Studio was established by Paul Caffell 30 years ago and is now continued by his son, Max Caffell.
The most noticeable feature of a Platinum print is the wide and detailed tonal range. There are no absolute blacks or whites, just a distinctive range of subtle greys.
Paul’s aim was to recover a photographic process that had been hugely important at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. He spent many years learning the process virtually from scratch on his own. During this period he met Borje Almquist, a Swedish photographer and printmaker who introduced the idea of adding Palladium to the process to control the warmth of the tones.
Platinum printing was the chosen printing method for many great photographers around the turn of the 20th century including Emerson, Steichen and Coburn to name but a few. However, the process went into decline and had virtually disappeared by the 1920’s.
Although the method was briefly revived by Irving Penn in the 1960’s, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that photographers such as David Bailey, Linda McCartney and others began to see the artistic potential in the process.
Paul had successfully printed a series of Bailey’s images from the 1960’s and by the mid 1990’s, driven by a renewed interest in the process, 31 Studio’s business expanded into larger premises in the South West. They have not looked back.
From the late 1990's Paul’s son Max has taken an increasingly prominent role in the work and direction of the studio. Some of their more interesting projects include the creation of new editions of the work by some of the most important photographers to have used Platinum printing. In the late 1990s Pam Roberts, then Curator of The Royal Photographic Society, gave Paul access to the original glass negatives of Frederick H. Evans. These negatives included Evans’s classic image The Sea of Steps, taken in Wells Cathedral in 1903.
31 Studio went on to produce a special edition of this wonderful picture for The RPS. Other similar projects include new editions of work by Alvin Langdon Coburn, Lee Miller Archive, and Jacques Henri Lartigue.
On a more contemporary note, the studio has printed works for renowned photographers and artists such as Don McCullin, Sebastiao Salgado, Frank Horvat, Idris Khan, Turner prize winner Simon Starling, and many more.
Today 31 Studio has the capability to create prints from multiple sources, from early glass negatives through to the many generations of film negatives, positives and prints including present day digital files.
Sebastião Salgado selected fifty of his GENESIS images, to be printed by us as limited edition Platinum Prints.
In this film, Philippe Garner, former International Head of Photographs, Christie's, explores the photography of Sebastião Salgado.
A film showing Platinum Printing from some of JACQUES HENRI LARTIGUE’S historic negatives -
held by Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue (Ministére de la Culture - France AAJHL)