Drawn to the tonal range and delicate strength of platinum/palladium prints, Kerik Kouklis has specialized in this medium since 1995. He has since perfected and added to his technique evolving his entire craft into an exploration of the capabilities of this classic medium.
Kerik grew up with photography, helping to build a darkroom in his parent’s basement in his early teens. He moved into large format cameras and sheet film in the late 1980’s and began working with platinum/palladium in 1990. Platinum printing is a contact printing process, limiting the print size to that of the negative. For larger prints, this means either using a large format original negative or making digitally enlarged negatives. Kerik now works primary with digital cameras (including his iPhone) and makes digital negatives, but also uses 8”x10” and 7”x17” formats when the mood to shoot film strikes.
The platinum/palladium medium has a much different look than gelatin silver. The prints tend to be somewhat softer in appearance and are effused with delicate midtones and a gentle glow. Since 2001, Kouklis has been using a ‘gum-over’ process that adds hue and depth to his prints. This process involves printing one or more layers of gum bichromate over the platinum image using the same negative. With a subject matter that tends toward the ethereal, utilizing fog and gentle light situations, the addition of tint accentuates the moodiness of an image.
Kerik has taught platinum printing since 1997, including the first of the new Ansel Adams workshops in early 2000. His work is in private and public collections in several countries and is the collection of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. He has also produced two independent documentary films, “Mongolia in Winter” in 2017 and “Dr Doc” in 2021. In 2021 Kerik relocated to California’s Central Coast after living in the Sierra foothills for 30 years where he and his wife Carol raised their two daughters, Gayle and Sarah.