This really is my dream paper: An interview with Doug Chinnery on Cotton Etching 305
Posted: 18 Jun 2018
Doug Chinnery is a professional teacher, printer, writer, and photographer based in Nottinghamshire, UK. He specialises in landscape photography and teaches a variety of workshops, including one on printing and colour management for the Fotospeed Academy. Doug believes that to get the best out of your photographs, they should be printed well, so we worked with Doug to create our brand new Signature paper, Cotton Etching 305.
For Doug Chinnery, printing is an important part of the photographic process. Creating something tangible is an intrinsic part of Doug’s work as a photographer and helps him to hone his technique and ability – something he feels every photographer should take the time to do. “I feel that an image isn’t an image until it is printed. It’s just a series of ones and zeros on a hard drive,” he says. “To fully realise our craft we need to print our images. Art needs an artefact, and to make a finely crafted print is a very satisfying skill to learn. It turns the act of photography back into something more like a craft again. There really is nothing like holding a beautiful print in your hand and seeing it this way for the first time.”
And, as anyone who has ever printed knows, the kit you use can have a huge impact on the way your final image looks. Doug uses a Canon Pro1000 A2 printer, which he loves. “It is the best printer I have ever used. I have never had a clogged nozzle or a single paper feed issue. It is a dream to use,” he says. But what about paper? For Doug, it’s about enhancing the image in every way possible.
“As a professional, I am very interested in making my images look the very best they can,” he says. “I want a paper that really brings out the full range of colour, contrast, and textures in my work. I also want papers that are archival in nature and that produce consistent results for me time after time.”
Previously, Doug’s paper of choice was Platinum Etching – our Signature paper made in collaboration with photographer Charlie Waite. Last year, however, we reached out to Doug with an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. “I got a call, out of the blue, from Toby at Fotospeed asking if I would like the opportunity to work with them on designing a paper,” Doug explains. “He had barely got the words out of his mouth before I had accepted. Who wouldn’t want their own bespoke paper? For an artist and printer it is a dream come true!” he added.
But designing a paper isn’t an easy task, and it was important for Doug that he was involved in every aspect of its creation. “It took almost a year from that conversation to release, but the time and effort was well worth it,” Doug says. “When I was offered the chance by the team at Fotospeed to work with them to design my own Signature paper, I realised that this was a real honour, the chance of a lifetime. We worked very closely, and hard, on the specification. I am sure I frustrated them at times as I rejected several versions which were not quite right. But the effort was worth it.”
The end result, though, is a triumph in Doug’s eyes. “I wanted a paper which was heavy in weight, that had a real quality feel to it, he says. “I wanted it to have a white base so that colours are reproduced faithfully without the paper imparting a colour cast. I was also keen for it to have quite a heavy matt texture so that it would be great for images with sharp fine detail and also would make soft gentle images render beautifully. The final and perhaps hardest thing for the team to achieve was a high D-Max to produce deep, rich blacks. This is particularly difficult on matt papers. But the team have excelled themselves and the Cotton Etching 305 gives the most amazing blacks I have seen on a heavyweight matt paper. It also has a very wide colour gamut so it is much easier to print on than many matt papers. This really is my dream paper.”
So who should try Cotton Etching? Doug thinks that if you print, you should give it a go, even if you have a trusty favourite paper already. “It’s hard for me to think of any photographers who shouldn’t at least give it a try!” he says. “If a photographer likes matt paper, I am pretty convinced it will blow them away. It is so easy to print on compared to other matt papers, even with the generic ICC profile – although I would urge them to have a custom profile made which will be even better. So far it has made all of the images of mine I have printed on it look even better than they did on other papers. But then maybe I am biased!”
Doug has big plans for his paper, already having printed a whole batch of images for his recent exhibition as part of the Vision 9 group at the OXO Gallery on London’s South Bank. “They were very well received and sold well”, he says. But what’s next? “Valda Bailey and I have just launched our new joint website, www.baileychinnery.com, and we are offering photographers a print service. We are both so impressed with the paper that we will be printing the vast majority of our customers’ images on Cotton Etching 305, so it is going to feature very heavily in my life from now on.”
Cotton Etching 305 is a 100% cotton Acid Free Fine Art paper with a white base. The surface has an etching texture which helps accentuate detail and gives a depth to you image. Cotton Etching 305 use the latest coating technology resulting in a wide colour gamut and pin sharp detail. Find out more here.
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