In all my years of printing and teaching printing workshops, the single most important thing…
I’ve been hard at work on my new ebook, Digital Fine Art Printing | A Photographer’s Field Guide which I hope to release soon. I also have two more books in the works, so needless to say, it’s been a busy few months with less time to contribute to the blog than I’d like. I’ll have more info on the book soon including some special promotions, but in the meantime I wanted to share info on my current exhibition at Bank Square Coffee House in my home town of Beacon, NY.
It will be up now through the end of January and features 12 large limited edition prints all sized 26 x 36. I also want to share some behind the scenes info on the prints, some equipment, and exhibitions in general.
I printed most of the photographs on Canson Infinity Platine Fiber Rag which has become my favorite paper for the majority of my work. The exceptions were two images that for me require a more “subtle” and “painterly” interpretation, and for those I chose Edition Etching 310, a really beautiful matte paper with a subtle texture and rich color.
I’m often asked how I choose papers, so this is a good example where I didn’t quite get the look I wanted from the Platine, and decided to reprint with the Edition. This is not based on any limitation of the paper per se, but rather on how I want the image to come across to the viewer. Yes, I can certainly modify the Raw file to make it more subtle, but that still doesn’t take into account the characteristics of the paper and how it impacts the final print. That also leaves the digital version compromised because it’s not exactly how I’d like it to look either. So for me, each step in the workflow should be finalized before I move on to the next. Once I have the image looking exactly how I want it on screen, then I choose a paper that best reproduces that look and feel in a print. Like everything else, practice and experience help…
I printed all of the images on my Canon iPF8400 ProGraf printer which I really love even more that my previous iPF8100. It’s certainly much faster which means I don’t have to wait as long to make each print (though I always let each print dry for 24 hours before framing.)
Another feature I love is Canon’s Media Configuration Tool which lets me import custom “am1” files for each paper. This native file holds the head height, vacuum strength, black ink type, maximum ink capacity, feeding calibration, and the paper name. Unlike Epson printers (which only has the ability to use existing Epson paper types), Canon allows you to create or import a media type from scratch and name it to your specifications. So when I add these custom files provided from Canson, I can choose all of the Canson papers right from the iPF8400 menu making it easy and simple to use these papers.
And finally, the print quality is beautiful – amazing detail, rich saturated colors, and great tonal depth and separation – I could’t be happier with the quality I’m getting out of the iPF8400.
Another must have product in my studio is the D-Roller. Because I mostly use rolls, the curl on fiber based papers is especially difficult to remove. Yes I’ve tried DIY de-curlers in the past with mixed results, but once I tried the D-Roller at a friends studio, I knew I had to have one immediately! it just plain works.
I sign and number all of my fiber based prints with a Staedtler pigment marker and the matte prints with a standard #2 pencil. I sign on the bottom right of the print making sure to leave enough space for the mat which I cut to leave a 1/2” border all around the image. This way my signature and the paper is visible once framed.
While I do title my prints, I do not write captions on prints any longer and prefer to include the title in the certificate of authenticity that I attach to the back of each print. This is personal preference— I just prefer to keep the presentation as minimal and simple as possible and not distract from the actual photograph.
Finally, I use Tru-Vue anti-reflective museum glass when possible, it just looks so much better than standard UV glass especially in poorly lit environments. Yes it’s much more expensive, but the benefits are worth it – the prints look closer to the how they’d look without glass. In fact I’ve exhibited prints without glass in the past for this very reason, but that’s impractical if you plan to sell the work.
Yes it’s hard work and expensive to create a photography exhibit—and it’s not something I agree to do just because I’m asked or invited. In fact I’ve become very selective about where I show my work. I’d love to show anytime I’m asked, but the financial and economic reality is not that simple, so I try to make judgements about when it’s worth committing the time and money.
I certainly encourage you to show your work at every opportunity, but make sure it’s really an opportunity and not just someone trying to get free artwork for their space or store. This seems to have become very common over the years, and I’ve fallen prey to exhibitions where I really should have done more research.
While a coffee shop might not like the best environment to exhibit photography, this is my office away from home, many of the photographs are local, and the owners (Buddy & Katy) are dear friends who support my work at every opportunity. That’s a winning combination that doesn’t require much effort on my part.
If you’re in town, stop by Bank Sq to check out the exhibition, and ask for me at the counter – I just may be in the back writing away on the new book! I’m always up for a chat – – Please Visit!
Comments, questions, or feedback, please let me know below in the comments – I’m always happy to help.