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Friday, 30 September 2016


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And even if you get it 'right', you might decide that it needs tweaking because the glass used in framing eliminates the magical glow that appeared in some important area of the naked print, and that a touch more exposure is now needed. Or you decide to display the print under different lighting conditions. Been there, done that.

I used to have my prints done by a friend who is an excellent printer. A few years ago I bit the bullet and bought a Canon Pro 10 on one of their specials. It sat on the floor of my office for 6 months before I would even open the box ... I was terrified of the darn thing. All that calibrating, profiling ... etc. Finally, I unpacked it, plugged it into my Mac, stuck a sheet of paper in it and hit print on the Lightroom screen. VOILA!!! PERFECT PRINT!!! I have never looked back.

A couple of years ago I started a print group of some like minded friends called Photo Friday. We get together the last Friday of the month to share or prints, socialize, support, encourage and critique each other work and generally keep each other honest ... photographically and artistically. I couldn't decide what to take tonight but finally narrowed it down to 6 street images (my guilty pleasure) or 6 antique cars from a recent car show. I printed all 12, laid them out on the viewing table and decided on the street group one of which needed some last minute corrections. Try producing a dozen 13x19 BW images, plus last minute corrections, on 24 hours notice with a commercial service ... hideously expensive and not a hope on the deadline.

Owning a printer is not cheap, but if you value your Art ...


John W

It's struck me as odd that we can work on an image for an eternity, only to hand it over to a third party for the final step of printing. It makes no sense at all. If I like an image enough to want to print it, why would I hand it over to a third party. Mind you, that mindset has cost me countless hours in colour management, printing software, trialling papers etc. Producing excellent prints is not for the faint-hearted, and it isn't cheap, but seeing your work, nicely framed on a wall is an extremely satisfying experience.

I've been searching for information on a question, to no avail, so thought that maybe you or one of your readers may have an answer to my conundrum.

I have a old Canon i9950 printer that still works a treat and I want to convert it to pure B&W, as I recently bought a Canon pro-100s to replace my dead IPF5000. I like dye printers.

Years ago, there was an article somewhere that gave guidance on converting a colour printer to pure B&W, using aftermarket grey, light grey, dark grey and whatever inks.

The article was very instructive on which colour inks to replace with which tones, making things much easier to implement. I can't find this article anywhere, despite hours of searching.

Would it be possible to ask such a question of your learned audience?

Or maybe logistics get in the way of printing your own. My workflow sometimes gets interrupted by my day job, which periodically prevents me from printing anything during a 2-3 month period. I can't justify maintaining a printer and dealing with clogs and other issues under those circumstances. I've found a great high end printing service a couple hours away that offers a number of Hahnemuhle and Breathing Color papers, and have been very good at reprints until I get it right. I also do large prints on paper and canvas, so that would be a very substantial investment in hardware, way beyond a P800. Different strokes, different folks.

I have to agree with this 100%. The majority of prints that I have gotten from labs would end up in the trash if I had made them. So I have had professional color lab equipment for almost the whole time I have been working.

But most people cannot afford or keep running that sort of stuff. Now that inkjet printers have made this so easy to afford it makes sense for many people.

Learning to print is still a big deal I bet. Learning to print color in a darkroom was quite a process for me, even with lots of experience in B&W. Even transitioning to a film scanner and Epson 7500 was almost like starting over. I think current generation printers starting from digital cameras is probably a lot easier, but there is still a lot to learn.

To Ray's post and here is some information on converting a color printer to B&W. Inkjetmall is one company and M.I.S is another company, I have used both with great B&W results on both matte papers and glossy or luster finish paper. Hope this helps.

I work as a large format printer but I don't own my own printer at home.
With the correct profiles I get pretty good results and quick delivery from online printers.

I just don't print enough to justify the cost of running my own home printer.
I may lose some time tweaking and reprinting but to setup my own printer and keep it working properly would take me longer.

I have had decent prints even from cheaper online places.

And after you've made a number prints, carefully correcting such small details that nobody else would ever notice, finally getting the print perfectly printed, you can sit back and enjoy it for the next week or so. Or at least until your better half pauses in front of it, looks closer, then away again a few times, and says. "What's that?"

I'm colorblind. Therefore I've always used professionals for retouching and custom printing. No investment, no learning curve. I'll take walking on the beach over sitting in front of a computer, any day. YMMV.

BTW, HCB always used a professional printer.

BTW2, I consider calling oneself an artist to be both presumptuous and pretentious 8-) I'll let the market decide. YMMV.

[My mileage does vary on that. How would you feel if someone said "I consider calling oneself a professional photographer to be both presumptuous and pretentious"? Same thing.

I don't judge people based on what they want to call themselves. "Artist" can be descriptive. It certainly accurately describes one way of working in photography, a way that is distinctly differentiated from being a professional or an amateur or any of several other types. If you're a photographer who works creatively and independently, hangs or participates in shows and exhibits, publishes books, sells original work to fine-art buyers, and has work in art museum collections and private art collections, then you work as an artist. That sort of photographer calling him- or herself an artist has nothing negative about it--it's just a plain matter of fact.

Example: Peter Turnley is both a photojournalist and an artist. To say so describes the two ways in which he works, that's all. --Mike]

I recently purchased an Epson P600. Iv'e compared pictures that have been printed by an expert printer on an Epson professional wide format printer. The P600 is far superior.

Mike, I think you miss my point. "My mileage does vary on that. How would you feel if someone said "I consider calling oneself a professional photographer to be both presumptuous and pretentious"? Same thing."

I didn't call my self a professional, the market did. Clients, who wanted to pay me money for my work made me a professional.

"If you're a photographer who works creatively and independently, hangs or participates in shows and exhibits, publishes books, sells original work to fine-art buyers, and has work in art museum collections and private art collections, then you work as an artist. "

Once again, it's the market doing the naming. Galleries, museums, and buyers.

Self-styled Vanity Press authors are a good example. They have the entire print run of their novel languishing in storage. The market has spoken. No matter what they call themselves, they ain't authors. Maybe someday, but not now.

[So you're setting up commercial success as the ultimate arbiter of validity, even for art? Giving conventionality and conformity the power to determine who gets to be unconventional and non-conformist?

You realize that by your standard, Van Gogh and Emily Dickinson aren't artists and "Moby Dick" isn't art. Among many other examples.

I'm just 180 degrees apart from you on this, Chuck. Part of the reason people BECOME artists is to escape the tyranny of the market and be free, go their own way, follow their muse. Certainly not all artists are successful or good, but calling yourself an artist doesn't imply that kind of status claim. It's just a descriptive term.

A reader passed along a recommendation for "Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice" by J.F. Martel. I'll pass the same recommendation along to you. --Mike]

Thanks for the info, but I've discovered those sites and unfortunately they all cater to pigment printers and mainly Epson. I was hoping to find something related to dye inks.

And just like the good old days, you can make test strips so you don't have to use half a dozen sheets of paper and a liter of ink to get stuff right.

Cheers, Geoff

You are saying there are people out there buying the flagship pricy brand name camera and gear and germanic lenses and expensive trips........and where the rubber hits the road, in the very sensitive print realization of all that fancy dancing,...... they McD the most crucial print work!?

Naaaahh.......you can't be serious!?

I still remember and miss standing over the developer tray and pulling that print out when it was just so.

As it is, sending your art to a fussy inkjet printer does not begin to compare to the magic of watching that image emerge under the safe lights. Send them out to a printer off-site if it's just a transaction and you need some prints.

But there's no joy and no magic and no artistry to that.

I don't miss the smell, the mess, the dermatitis induced by darkroom chemicals one bit. Inkjet printers, as well as digital cameras, is what ostensibly brought me back to photography after a somewhat long hiatus.

It's the final image that counts, not how you got there.

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