The Art of Printing

Fine Art Photography Prints

A photograph is a medium; it’s more than a picture. It is a living breathing image, a moment in time that cannot be retaken. Photography is an art form. The photos we take are about expressing an idea that aims to share. And it’s from these ideas that we form works of art. And considering my realm, photography prints are the ultimate expression.

In a photo, the rich depth of colours and textures cascade into a large pixel map collectively creating facets of light that transform a viewer into an admirer. The way we see the world transpires in an instant. It is from these still images photographers can mimic the master painters of the world to form works of art. The medium of a print is what photography is about, and master photographers define this. Many masters would contest that the art of printing is dying. Lost to a world of digital where young creatives fall short or the picture and instead lose their gaze to a backlit screen.

This tangible print is why the art of printing is so relevant. A photograph, when printed on complimenting medium transforms a picture into an excellent work of art. Homeowners, businesses or art collectors can then adore these works.

Inkjet Printing

With the rise and advancement of technology, printing doesn’t require a professional lab anymore. Now, all that is needed is some specialist equipment, a trained eye and some beautiful art papers. The results produced are just as good, if not better.

Here at my printshop, I produce photos using the exceptional Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-1000 printer. This state of the art device prints my preferred size of A3, but is capable of larger A2 size. From a combination of twelve pigment ink tanks, photography prints display a wide gamut of colour that is paramount for fine art photography.

When talking about colour, both my Nikon and Fujifilm cameras are capable of capturing the Adobe 1998 standard array of colours. Most commercial grade printers fold when trying to produce this colour gamut, but not the Canon. Combined with custom high-grade ICC paper profiles, the system can convert my camera dependent colours (Adobe 1998) into a complimenting colour space that my Canon printer can reproduce with ease. It’s for this very reason I decided to use the Canon over the competitor products. The level of quality and detail is simply unmatched.

A Passion about Photo Paper

Smooth gradations and refined shadow details are some of the benefits when printing from this excellent machine, especially when printing on specialist fine art photo paper. There’s a sense of fulfilment when printing your photographs. It is simply not possible to teach this particular feeling. Instead, it has to be experienced, and this is why I print the photos that I capture. It’s about expressing my vision and the natural colours and textures I see in the picture.

Fine art photography isn’t just about the printer though. Paper is an essential medium, and here at my print shop, I have been experimenting with various mediums. What I have learned from my research is quality matters. Having done the research, I quickly learned that Hahnemühle, Awagami and Canson photo papers came out as some of the best in the market. The various fine art photo papers these companies produce are exceptional and depending on the photo; they can lift and enhance an image beyond colour and comprehension.

Take Hahnemühle as an example. This South Lower Saxony’s Solling uplands company, founded in 1584 as a paper mill, makes some of the most beautiful paper you will ever see. Their photo paper comprises of either resin coated substrate materials or cellulose-based natural papers. These mediums combined with an inkjet coating gives images the best chance to ‘jump’ from the paper resulting in realism that is hard to replicate.

Archival quality is also a must for all my fine art photography prints. Similar to 100-year-old lasting silver halide photos that use a chemical process to develop an image, the now acid-free paper combined with archival quality inks are equally as suitable for mounting, framing and wall hanging pictures.

Structure matters for Fine Art Prints

Awagami Fine Art Papers are also a great way to add detail to my fine art prints. With A+ rated natural fibres, photos appear with much more texture and character due to the intertwined expressive surfaces. This quality of paper is another reason why my A3 images excel in quality and realism.

Choosing the right photo paper is sometimes the hardest choice to make. Something I value is understanding the story of an image and finding out what best represents the theme. For instance, if I capture a minimalistic image, I love to use a structured, Japanese photo paper. As mentioned earlier, Awagami is an outstanding producer in that respect. This level of detail portrayed through the printing process is not something that can show through a digital image on a screen. Obtaining this level of detail is why I always strive to go the extra mile to print and display my pictures.

Some other types of photo paper I enjoy using include wood grain papers like bamboo, german etching and washi. Most of these papers are available in Germany, but some are also available from factories specialising in Japanese paper manufacture. Whatever photo paper I choose, printing in A3 has undoubtedly changed the way my customers and I see the world.

My Own Print Shop

Creating fine art A3 works of art through my print shop has proven to be a successful endeavour. My clients always comment on the level of detail shown in my work, and this is something I hold dear. Obsessing and experimenting with different paper stocks is an avenue I will always explore, regardless of cost. In the end, it ensures a high level of satisfaction for all my work.

I, therefore, encourage you to visit and take a look for yourself at the level of detail shown in my fine art photographs. If you are interested in purchasing fine art photography prints, please visit my website, send me an email or be in contact in person as I would love to explain or show you through the processes adopted to redefine my photography.

Links of Interest

Youtube: Thomas Heaton on Photographic Prints

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