The photographs offered in our gallery and on this site are all printed by each photographer either personally or by their printer or lab. Before being signed, each print, is checked by the photographer to ensure the finest representation of the original image. Here’s a list of the most common printing processes used by the photographers on this site.
Platinum prints (platinotypes) are favored by collectors because of their beautiful tonal range and their permanence. Although made with a monochrome printing process, the broad scale of tones of a platinum print ranges from warm black, to reddish brown, to expanded mid-tone grays that are unobtainable in silver prints. Unlike the silver print process, platinum lies on the paper surface, while silver lies in a gelatin or albumen emulsion that coats the paper. As a result, since no gelatin emulsion is used here, the final platinum image is absolutely matte with a deposit of platinum (and/or palladium, its sister element which is also used in most platinum photographs) absorbed slightly into the paper.
This is the most widely used black-and-white printing process. It requires papers coated with a gelatin emulsion of light-sensitive silver halide. The print is produced by exposing a negative onto the paper, either by contact-printing or through an enlarger. The print is then chemically processed, fixed, and dried. Gelatin silver prints may be toned using a variety of compounds or minerals to create a wide range of subtle hues. A silver print should virtually last 75 to 100 years.
This is the most common type of colour photograph. Photographic C-type (chromogenic) prints are the result of printing a digital file on a continuous tone printer that uses silver-based paper. The photograph is created by exposing the paper with light sources (such as lasers or LEDs) and then processing the exposed paper with traditional chemistry. This process offers the quality and archival properties of a photographic print with the creativity and consistency that can only be achieved from a digital process.
GICLEE, or Archival fine art pigment print
Technically, a giclée and an inkjet print are the same. They’re both made by spraying ink onto the surface of a material, most commonly watercolor paper, canvas and photo-like paper. However, in the print world, giclée has become synonymous with fine art reproductions printed on archival watercolor paper or canvas using a high-end inkjet printer and archival quality pigmented inks. The giclée printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction and is very stable.
This is a common, high-quality print created by various sized droplets of ink propelled in fine detail onto paper. The inkjet print is produced from a digital image file as opposed to a negative. A fine art print produced on this medium should use archival paper of a fine quality and ink appropriate to the quality of the image. An increasingly popular fine art medium, inkjet prints allow a greater spectrum of colour reproduction.
Dye transfer is a continuous-tone color photographic printing process which was introduced in the 1920s by Technicolor and popularized in the 1940s by Eastman Kodak. In this method of color printing, an original transparency or negative is projected or contact-printed onto three separate sheets of film through red, green and blue filters. These separation negatives are then projected or contact-printed to make three relief matrices dyed in cyan, magenta and yellow dyes. Each of the matrices is then brought into registered contact with a sheet of special transfer paper which absorbs the dye. The finished print is therefore made up of a combination of dye images. The dye transfer process possesses a larger color gamut and tonal scale than any other process, including inkjet. It also allows the practitioner the highest degree of photographic control compared to any other photochemical color print process. As much as dye transfer is one of the most permanent color processes, in 1994 Eastman Kodak stopped making all materials for this process.
Iris printers have also been used since the late Eighties as final output digital printing devices in the production of fine art high-resolution color accurate reproductions on various media, including paper, canvas, silk, linen and other textiles. In this process the original photographic negative or print is scanned into a computer, then printed with an Iris inkjet printer. The prints can be produced on a variety of artist's papers. The paper is wrapped around the printer's drum, which rotates at a high speed while a set of nozzles distributes inks of the four process colors - cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Iris technology was first developed as a proofing process by commercial offset printers. The high quality of the process was noticed in the early Eighties by two pioneers of Iris printing: famed musician, photographer and collector Graham Nash, owner of Nash Editions, and Jon Cone, of Cone Editions, who then developed inks that expanded the color range and archival quality of Iris prints. In the 2010s the Iris printer was for the most part superseded in the fine art printing business by Epson and other large-format printers that are much cheaper than the Iris and use inks designed to be archival.
With this technique prints can be exposed using digital exposure systems, yielding a digital C-Type print (sometimes called a Lambda print or LightJet print). The LightJet and the Lambda both use RGB lasers to expose light-sensitive material to produce a latent image that is then developed using conventional silver based photographic chemicals and paper. This process allows consistent reproduction of large run editions with the same quality as traditional print techniques.
Vintage print is a market term, current since the Seventies, denoting a photographic print made within about five years of the negative's creation. It is much more valuable than prints done later in the photographer's life, or posthumous estate prints. The vintage print's special aura among dealers and collectors derives partly from its greater rarity (except, usually, in the case of contemporary work); partly from the sense that it encapsulates the photographer's original vision, and results from technical choices available when the picture was taken.
In the late 20th century it became increasingly common for photographers, like printmakers, to produce limited editions of their prints. Some of the great photographers, such as Nino Migliori or Lee Friedlander, have refused to limit their editions, probably because it's anti-democratic and inorganic, not in keeping with the true nature of the medium. Truth is these days collectors are more likely to buy prints from limited editions for investment potential, and the smaller the edition, the bigger its value. We make sure that in this site limited edition or uneditioned prints are carefully indicated.
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