16. California. 1956. (California kiss)

On Platinum Prints:

Platinum printing was an alternative photographic process considered a high art form in the Belle Époque that is now making a comeback–in a larger format than previously possible–to make beautiful collectors’ pieces of great value.

There are several attractions to printing in platinum. Platinum is one of the most stable elements in the universe–photographic platinum prints will not deteriorate for as long as the paper itself lasts (which can be thousands of years). Platinum has the most even tonal response in nature, avoiding distortions and shadows in the images. What’s more, when printed, platinum has a matte beauty to it, adding a luminous effect to the final print. Platinum’s inherent worth adds further value to these prints. Finally, printing in platinum is safer than the traditional silver-halide process, both for the health of the printer and for the environment.

“The whole thing about analog is mastering the process,” says Gabe Greenberg, digital printing expert. “It’s an art. … The idea of being able to produce beautiful platinum prints is a wonderful thing for people experienced in the old craft of analog photography and who still love the hand-coated processes.”

The first prints in this series were produced in May of 2010 with the help of a specialist printmaker and digital printing expert. Erwitt added more images to this series in 2013.

Well naturally your pictures should be good. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

Elliott Erwitt
© Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Elliott Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with at Los Angeles City College.

In 1948, he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research. Five years later, Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier’s, Look, LIFE, Holiday and other luminaries in that golden period for illustrated magazines.

He has made significant bodies of work in America, Cuba, the UK, France, Italy and beyond. In the 1970s, he produced several notable documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for HBO.

Erwitt has become known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.

© Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

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