I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a control freak. It was a natural inevitability for me to take complete control of the creative process involved in fine art photography and choose to print my own work. A firm believer in the pursuit of perfection, I knew that meant investing in the best printer and highest quality papers and canvas I could buy for myself and my customers.
Whether printing my artwork or customer's photos, all photographs are printed on a Canon ImagePROGRAF fine art printer. The printer uses a 12 color LUCIA EX pigment ink set. Combined with the high resolution output of printer, the LUCIA inks produce prints with incredibly smooth color transitions and about 20% more colors than previous 12 color ink systems. An added benefit of the LUCIA ink system is that it is incredibly light-fast, scratch and weather resistant. Properly protected prints and canvas have a greater than 100 year display permanence rating as determined by Wilhelm Research.
Perhaps the most important component, however, is the paper used in the printing process. In the world of inkjet photo printing, there are literally hundreds of paper types available from various manufacturers but they basically fall into two groups; fine art paper and traditional inkjet photo papers. There are papers and canvas that fall into each group. Let's take a look at both types.
Traditional photo papers are available in matte, luster (satin) and glossy finish much like prints you would pick up from your local 1 hour photo lab. Luster paper is the most popular of the three, being a great choice for virtually any type of photo. Glossy paper includes a subset of papers called Metallic. Metallic photo papers give a photo unbelievable depth, clarity and color. While not suited for every landscape or wildlife photo, metallic paper is a great choice for black and white photos as well as HDR and night photography. It really makes images pop off the paper!
Fine art papers include both paper and canvas and are the material of choice for high quality prints. Without getting overly technical, to qualify as a fine art paper, the paper (or canvas) must be archival and to be archival it must be acid free and otherwise meet ANSI standards. This ensures that the print will not turn yellow, get brittle or deteriorate with age. Images printed on museum quality, archival fine art paper or canvas using 12 color LUCIA EX pigment inks exceed the Fine Art Trade Guild's requirements for Giclée reproductions.
Wading through the sea of choices for photographic and fine art papers, I have come to rely on two manufacturers, Breathing Color and Hahnemüle. A world leader with a history spanning over 400 years, Hahnemüle invented fine art inkjet printing paper. They offer a wide array of fine art papers including German Etching, Photo Rag and Fine Art Baryta. Breathing Color's outstanding line of photo and fine art papers includes their "Lyve" matte canvas. This museum quality, archival canvas is known for its incredible tonal range, color gamut and superior resolution and is my choice for gallery wrapped canvas giclées.
In conclusion, whether you are buying one of my photographs or I am printing one of yours, rest assured that you are receiving an image printed at the highest possible resolution by the finest equipment using only high quality papers and canvas. Pride in craftsmanship matters. The difference is apparent!