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Gary Auerbach Platinum Photography
Specializing in Archival Platinum Portraiture.
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Gary Auerbach Platinum Photography
The Platinum Gallery At The Hacienda

Resident Photographer at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
5601 North Hacienda Del Sol Road

Tucson, Arizona 85718
(520) 299-1501
(520) 721-7598 fax

Type of Gallery: Platinum Photography
Price Range: $450.00 - $1,000.00
Credit Cards: Visa, MC, Amex
Check Policies: Prefer Credit
Wheelchair Accessable: Yes
Monday - Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fees - In House
8" x 10" Platinum Portrait ($300.00 per print/$100.00 Sitting Fee)
11" x 14" Platinum Portrait ($600.00 per print/$150.00 Sitting Fee)

Out of Town Location - $1,200.00/Day
Travel - 40% Day Rate
plus appropriate expenses

Archivalists have always had a problem with image permanence of the photographic print. Gelatin Silver prints are known to have difficulty with oxidation and sulfiding of the print surface. Efforts to control this with special types of toning will slow down the deterioration process. A well made Silver Gelatin photograph toned in selenium will last from 50 to 100 years depending on the type of exhibition.

The platinotype, or platinum photographic print, was first utilized in the early 1880s. It was quickly determined that by utilizing platinum and palladium in the emulsion, instead of silver, that the platinotype would not degrade in the same manner. In fact, there would be no change in the image quality or color at all. Based on exhibition style the platinotype will last 200 to 500 years. Since there are very few producers of platinum photographic paper my photographic prints are hand coated with platinum/palladium emulsion, contact printed with 8" x 10" or 11" x 14" negatives, leaving the platinum metal etched into the fibers of the watercolor paper. There are less than 25 photographers in the world doing large format platinum portraiture.
Gary Auerbach

Photographer's work goes platinum - Tucson Citizen
Disgusted at seeing his works from the past 30 years fade and discolor, Tucson Photographer Gary Auerbach discovered a process from the past that will preserve images well into the future.

"Platinum printin was the method of choice during the turn of the century," Auerbach said. "Because you are essentially depositing platinum into the paper, the photograph will last as long as the paper will last."

He said he gets his paper from the Crane Paper Co., which makes paper for the U.S. Treasury. The company estimates its paper will last 500 to 1000 years if protected behind glass from direct sunlight and excessive humidity.

"My chief market is people who want heirloom portraits that will last for centuries and governments who want historical photographs for their archives," Auerbach said. "To me as an artist, it's important to be able to have someone pick up my work 300 years from now and still be able to see it."

Only since suffering a permanent wrist injury that prevents him from working as a chiropractor, has Auerbach found a satisfactory way to print photographs.

He didn't start out to be a working artist. After graduating in the 1960s from the University of Arizona in accounting ("It never hurts. It was a great start," said Auerbach), he did a short stint as a commercial photographer in New York City. "But I found out I never picked up a camera to do personal work," he said.

Auerbach chose to become a chiropractor instead and for the past two decades has done photography "for love, not money." Still, he did keep his hand in commercial photography, doing free-lance stock photography of images found around the world.

"I always shot what I wanted to shoot, but then I found some of my early photography was beginning to deteriorate. The color was definately gone and had turned greenish."

After some research, he attributed this to the popular silver-based process he used.

"It's been well understood since 1850 that silver-based photographic images have a problem with permanence," he said.

After Auerbach injured his wrist in 1989, he felt that he had to make a professional transition. "But I was even more disillusioned with photography because it would mean practicing an art form that was self-destructive," he said.

In an attempt to salvage photography as a personal choice for a profession, Auerbach began to research other processes at the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography.

He found that platinum printmaking is an archival method for portraitures. In addition to longevity, the process gives a particularly appealing visual quality, softening the image.

"I taught myself how to do it. I sent away for the chemicals to make the emulsion for this process. One of the nice things was that no darkroom was needed. I could do it on the kitchen table while watching my three kids."

For Auerbach, the most unusual aspect of a platinum print is the way it is made.

"Each piece of archival photographic paper is individually hand-coated with a platinum emulsion. A large negative is contact printed, leaving the platinum metal etched into the paper. This was the method of choice for some early photographers such as Edward Steichen and Alfred Steiglitz, who used platinum in its most well-known days."

Auerbach now works full time as a photographer. An 8-by-10 inch platinum portrait by Auerbach, excluding sitting fee, is $300.00.

Auerbach recently returned from doing portrait work commisioned abroad and from a Moscow exhibition and demonstration of his platinum print. As a result, his work will be featured in the August issue of the Russian magazine FOTO.

An exhibition of his platinum prints of images from Moscow, France and Spain is being shown at his gallery. For information call (520) 299-1501.
by Charlotte Lowe - Tucson Citizen Visual Arts Critic

See Gary's article
"Platinum Printing Made Simple"

World Wide Web art competition
DNP Pavillion Japan
Entry # 137, Teresimo

All photographs copyright © Gary Auerbach; [email protected]


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Other Interesting Sites:

Ye Olde Crafte Shoppe
Don Tibbits Photography
Kenneth Martin Photography (Scotland)
On-Line Photography Magazine
Peter Balazsy, Polaroid Image Transfers
The Alternative Process FAQ
Kerik Kouklis Platinotypes
SJL Images

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