31 Studio - The Platinum Printroom

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.

Frank Horvat Portfolio

VIDEOS | 31 Studio Platinum Printroom 

Genesis | Sebastião Salgado