Photographic prints of platinum metal on paper supports are some of the most exquisite and expressive in the world of fine art photography. Platinum prints were produced from about 1890 to 1920 in the USA and Europe. The chemical and material nature of these valuable prints is of great interest to many who are interested in their long-term preservation, in the intersection of science and art, and in the scientific and technical study of cultural heritage. This paper presents the results of a characterization study using newer electron microscopy techniques. In this study, a low vacuum high-resolution scanning electron microscope was used to study the surface and sub-surface of historic and modern platinum and/or palladium print samples. Using environmental SEM pressures allowed us to investigate the actual top surface and sub-surface with cross-sections without any preparation; no coatings of carbon or other material. Cross-sections were prepared using an argon plasma cross-polishing system. This study shows that the photographic image of platinum prints is composed of platinum nanoparticles embedded in the upper layers of the paper’s cellulosic fibers.