Decision Making in Printing with Charlie Waite
Posted: 13 Aug 2019
Why do I need to print? Why bother with printing? What is the point? Who do I even show my prints to? How do I even get an exhibition? Do I have enough confidence to even host an exhibition in the first place? Should I print my own prints? If not, who does and what would it cost? Are they only ever to be seen on Facebook or Instagram?
There are numerous considerations before any decision is made to print but all of them are surmountable and within hours, we can be printing images of our work. There is nothing to compare with the immense pleasure of seeing your work emerging from the printer on paper that you decide best suits your work.
Terms like ‘custom printer profile’, ‘calibration’ and ‘paper profiles’ can be bewildering. All of which when combined together, results in fear and apprehension, making printing off your work a daunting task. The paper choice is critical. What governs our choice of paper? There is an array of papers to choose from, but the answer is always to test, test and test some more.
My own personal choice is a textured paper known as Platinum Etching 285. It is a velvety-textured paper which is perfect for my style of work. Once you begin to become familiar with the personality and character of your paper, then your printing style and printing techniques will develop, as will the formation and development of your signature, making your work more recognisable.
For many years, I used a variety of papers that I felt worked well for me and during that time and as digital photography took hold, I became aware of other manufacturers entering the market. Rather late into my career (I regret to say), I came across Fotospeed. I have been hugely impressed with the Platinum Etching 285. For many years, for exhibition prints, I would use the Cibachrome process or the C41 where an internegative was made from the transparency.
The Cibachrome delivered high gloss or metallic appearance and whilst this surface was very popular, I found it too ‘photographic’. Yet I continued to use it and always enjoyed printing my own Cibachromes along with all my monochromes.
Then, my photography seemed to be erring toward the ‘soft’ and whilst I did not want my photography to be overtly painterly, I did look for something in between. Platinum Etching was the right paper in regard to weight and surface that suited my work and continues to do so.
The photographer often wrestles with the much-needed parity between what they see on the monitor and subsequently what they see on the print of the same image. After a short while, this relationship becomes an easier one and then it becomes a wonderful moment to remove the print from the printer and be completely delighted with the result. I have always preferred the printed image to the image seen on the monitor and this has never changed.
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