The Printing Process
The printing process is a critical step often misunderstood or underestimated. One would think that printing a photograph is pretty straightforward in this day and age. Maybe so, but if you want to do it right, nothing could be further from the truth. I tried it with companies that own professional equipment and advertised very reasonable prices, thinking that I could pass on the savings to my customers. I was sorely disappointed, time and time again. I even witnessed a few of my prints coming out of an Epson 7800 with the shadows and highlights clipped. Totally unacceptable.
Don’t get me wrong. The Epson 7800 is a great machine capable of producing outstanding fine art prints, day in and day out. So why were my prints ruined? I had done my research and thought that once I had done my part, namely proofing and profiling, I was good to go. In other words, I could trust the printer. The prints told a different story.
I was going to take part in a photography contest/exhibition that same month and had to come up with a solution, fast. At this point, any standard and cheaper avenue left a sour taste in my mouth. This is when I remembered Toon, a fine art giclée printer whom I met on the day of Help-Portrait. I scheduled a time to meet at his studio so we could discuss options. There, I was overwhelmed by the discovery that printing is not so much a science, but an art form in itself.
I learned to appreciate the many different types of paper that I could chose from, each one of them having its own unique characteristics. Then, by some trial and error, I worked with Toon to get the result I was after. Nothing more, nothing less. I was blown away by the outstanding quality of the prints as they were coming out. None of the details were lost. In the hands of a master printer, my photographs had just come to life.
At last, I was proud to display my work in a gallery. My wallet might have taken a hit, but it payed off. Among fifty other photographers, I won third prize. I happily give part of the credit to the person with whom I now trust all my printing.
What does it mean to you?
If what matters most to you is quality and not quantity, then you already know that it has a price. Buying a piece of art can be a very emotional decision, or viewed as an investment. As an artist, I’d rather you buy it on an emotional basis alone, but you will still be getting an investment. As a matter of fact, the inks and papers (100% cotton, acid and lignin free) used are archival and will last for at least a hundred years without any discoloration. Moreover, to protect your investment, all my photographs are printed in signed and numbered limited editions.