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Articles tagged with: platinum paper

Helen Mack photo from "Fit for a King" identified

on Thursday, 17 November 2011. Posted in News

One of the most vexing matters about researching my father's career is that so much material from the 1930's and 1940's has so little relevance today. His own personal collection from his Hollywood days bears photographs of stars who have long since been forgotten, but who were quite fashionable in the day. Slowly these people have been revealed, their films logged with dates and title and photos previously unknown have in themselves become familiar. Usually this process happens all of a sudden when I am able to pair a dress or hairdo or a background item which I find on eBay to similar features in a photo in the collection. And it was this process which lead to the newest movie discovery for Ned Scott: "Fit for a King" in 1937 with Joe E. Brown and Helen Mack. There are some very fine heavy fiber prints of Helen Mack in portrait and some very funny prints of Joe E Brown in the collection, but no film designation for them until now. The Mack prints are all off stage prints, and she is posed with the same costume as several images currently on eBay with the film designation listed. A clear fit, and the same can be said for the Joe E. Brown prints. Here's Brown, dressed in drag as a maid, confronting Mack's character Jane in a hotel bedroom. The film was directed by Edward Sedgwick and produced by David L. Loew. A 1941 letter from my mother to her mother in Seattle mentions that the Loews attended one of their parties in their new house in La Canada. I bet that Ned Scott did more films for Loew in the late 1930"s, I just have not found them as yet. I can suggest from the quality of the Helen Mack prints that Ned Scott made them himself, and I can further suggest that the paper used may have been platinum 8 x 10 from the Platinotype Company in London. He was buying and using this paper at that time period.

Helen Mack and Joe E. Brown

Joe E Brown and Helen Mack in "Fit for a King" 1937 by Ned Scott

Ned Scott platinum printing photo discovered

on Thursday, 03 May 2012. Posted in News

Ned Scott's favorite method of printing his negatives was to use platinum paper from the Platinotype Company in London. He felt that platinum paper was the truest representation of his negatives, and this was especially evident in the black tones in the images. Obtaining this paper was difficult as well as expensive. There was no representative or photo supply company in Los Angeles which carried the paper in stock. It was necessary to buy straight from the factory in London. It was the mid-thirties, and purchasing such a specialty item from London took time to organize. Purchase orders had to be executed in writing, and posting these in letter form was slow even with newly established overseas air mail routes. Paying customs fees or "duty" was 30% of the purchase price, and Ned Scott sought to avoid that whenever he could. Obstacles abounded for avid users of platinum paper, a factor which we cannot appreciate today. But Ned Scott persisted in his relentless quest for this excellent paper, and he purchased as much as he could prior to the closing of the Platinotype Company in June of 1937.

Connie McCabe, Head of Photograph Conservation at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., has recently shared many of the particulars of platinum paper, particularly the warm japine black form. The Archive has supplied her with correspondence and documents from Ned Scott's platinotype file. She will be giving a talk on this subject at the May 11 meeting of the American Institute of Conservation in Albuquerque.

Printing platinum paper always involved the use of sunlight as the light source. These prints were not made in a darkroom.

Ned Scott platinum printing

Ned Scott laying out his Platinum Print holders for developing in the sun, 1940-41