Birrell Jones Gallery

832 NM-76 Chimayo

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Monday - Friday Open By Prior Appointment Only, masks are mandatory as is social distancing.  Please call or email first to make your appointment

About Platinum Palladium Prints

The Alchemy of Light: Unveiling the Timeless Beauty of Platinum Palladium Prints

In a world saturated with fleeting digital images, there exists a photographic process that transcends the ordinary – a timeless alchemy of light, precious metals, and my artist's hand. This is the realm of platinum palladium printing, where photographs become not merely images, but enduring treasures.

My Legacy Etched in Precious Metals

Unlike everyday prints born from inks and dyes, platinum palladium prints are a testament to permanence. Platinum and palladium, metals more precious than gold itself, are embedded directly into the fibers of the finest archival paper. There are no dye based inks to fade, no chemicals to react with the environment, only light fast pure mineral based colorfast pigments and Noble precious metals. A platinum palladium print does not deteriorate; it matures, its beauty deepening with the passage of time. These are images crafted not just for a lifetime but for generations.

Beyond Black and White

The visual allure of a platinum palladium print lies in its unparalleled tonal range. While silver gelatin prints offer a spectrum from black to white, platinum palladium opens a world within those extremes. Shadows descend into velvety depths, while highlights shimmer with an ethereal luminosity. Fine details, the subtle play of texture and light, emerge with a captivating clarity that breathes life into the image. The result is a print that possesses an almost three-dimensional presence, inviting the viewer to step into its world.

The Alchemy of Creation

Each platinum palladium print is a unique testament to my vision and the alchemy of the process. The paper is hand-coated with a light-sensitive solution of platinum and palladium salts. The negative is carefully placed in contact with the paper, then exposed to ultraviolet light. Where the light strikes, the metals are reduced, embedding themselves into the paper's very fibers, This is not a machine-driven process, but a dance between my art as artist and chemistry, demanding meticulous skill and an intimate understanding of the materials and process. Subtle variations in the coating, in the exposure, and in Suzanne's fine art watercolor choices give each print its own subtle character, and with my There Can Only Be One philosophy making it a truly one-of-a-kind artwork.

An Echo of the Past, Embracing the Future

The platinum palladium process carries within it the echoes of photographic history. Born in the 19th century, it was favored by masters like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen, photographers whose work defined the evolution of the art form. To own a platinum palladium print is to join the lineage of connoisseurs and collectors who value the enduring artistry that transcends fleeting trends. Yet, this is no mere homage to the past. Platinum palladium printing now enjoys a resurgence in the hands of contemporary artists of like mind, who find in its unique beauty an expression that no digital or other printing process can emulate.

An Investment in the Enduring

Owning a limited edition, one-of-a-kind platinum palladium print is a privilege reserved for the discerning collector. It is a choice to invest not only in an artwork but in a piece of tactile history. My documentary work focuses mainly on vanishing cultural subjects. These prints possess an intrinsic value grounded in the precious metals they hold and the labor-intensive artistry of their creation. More importantly, they hold the promise of a legacy, an image to be admired today, cherished by your family tomorrow, and marveled at by generations of grandchildren yet to come.

The world will change, technologies will shift, but the timeless alchemy of a platinum palladium print remains as long as the paper lasts. It is a testament to the enduring power of photography, to the human desire to capture not just a moment, but the very essence of light and form, and preserve it for an eternity.


Chuck Jones & Suzanne Birrell Handmade Watercolor Tinted, Platinum/Palladium Photographs.

Palladium/Platinum printing is a labor-intensive and expensive process requiring fine paper, rare and expensive Noble Metals platinum, palladium, and gold. The many steps to the final original work of art require incredible attention to detail and Job's patience. The result is a one-of-a-kind image that can easily last thousands of years. 

Chuck Jones and Suzanne Birrell, a husband and wife team, collaborate on these handmade photographic creations. They each bring their considerable individual arts and craft skills to form a larger whole that produces the highest quality standards of photography and the printing arts in Birrell Jones's work.

Together, Chuck and Suzanne have over eighty-thousand hours invested in learning, practicing, and polishing their considerable skills & chops. Chuck makes most of the original photographs, digital negatives, and prints using a historic platinum/palladium printing process invented in the 1870s. Suzanne's hand tints the specially printed Platinum/Palladium images using the finest pure-pigment archival watercolors available.


Suzanne Birrell Ceramics

Chuck Jones & Suzanne Birrell ChimayóChicken® Upscaled Recycled Metal Yard Art