A selection of my images are available as archival, exhibition quality inkjet prints. Except
for scans from film originals, where I use service bureaus to access the highest quality drum
scanners, I make these prints myself in my own studio.
Each image is matched to a particular fine-art photo paper. The most common choice is Museo Silver
Rag, a 100% cotton base paper without optical brighteners and with a finely-textured gloss finish.
Alternatively, certain images may be matched to one of several papers from Hahnemühle in either
gloss or matte finish. Printer and ink technology changes constantly, but my current prints are
output on an Epson 4880 professional printer with the UltraChrome K3 Vivid Magenta pigment
inkset. I now also have access to an Epson 11880 large format printer, which uses the same K3 Vivid
Magenta inks, for making very large prints.
Each print is signed in the margin with pigment ink, loose-mounted on archival backing with photo
corners and strips, and overmatted with a natural-white 100% cotton archival board. The overmat is
sized to leave a white border around the print, revealing the exact margins of the print and the
signature. Museo Silver Rag matches nicely to the particular archival board I use, but certain other papers
have a colder (bluer) white base which can appear stark next to the warmer white of most 100% cotton
mounting boards. To counter this effect when using such papers, the border around the image is
tinted a very faint yellow-white; not noticeable unless compared directly to the pure white paper
base, but enough to eliminate a clash with the matboard.
My prints are targeted for viewing with a Solux 3500° bulb which is reasonably close to
standard halogen. While metamerism and color inconstancy (excessive color shifts in different viewing light)
are much improved in the newer pigment inksets, it is still optimal if these prints are displayed under the
intended display lighting conditions.
For digital captures, the RAW file conversion and the majority of the image toning is performed in
Adobe Lightroom (Adobe Capture Raw). Nonetheless—at this stage anyway—all images still end
up as a master file in Photoshop where I find I can exercise a level of precision in the final small
adjustments which is sometimes difficult to achieve in Lightroom. Also, while Lightroom has an excellent
print module, Photoshop still provides an extra degree of control over mapping to the color space of the
printer, output sharpening, and other details of the printing process.
In the case of film originals, the finest scans for archival preservation and fine-art printing
come from Heidelberg Tango and other high-end (and extremely expensive) drum scanners. For the film
originals I still make into prints, I have had 16-bit Tango drum scans made by Color Folio of Sebastopol, California, recorded in a
wide-gamut working space (Joseph Holmes’ Ekta Space PS 5). The wide-gamut scan eventually will be
compressed to the gamut of the output device, but the objective is to capture the all the detail and
colors of the original transparency, while retaining the ability to map to the color spaces of different
printers, current and future. From the scan, I make a master file in Photoshop containing all the
standard image adjustments (black and white point, contrast, color correction and saturation, spotting
and minor retouching, grain reduction, capture sharpening, and so forth). Layers, Adjustment Layers and
Smart Filters are used for all editing steps, to maintain maximum flexibility.
Whether the original was digital or film, the result is a Photoshop master file which can be targeted for
prints of different sizes, images for the web, slideshows, or whatever other form of output. When the
time comes to print, the master file is soft proofed on the monitor to identify any unexpected effects as
the wide-gamut working space is mapped to the color space of the intended printer/paper, and to select a
Rendering Intent for the color profile conversion. As a result, certain images require fine-tuning
adjustments specific to a particular printer/paper combination, again isolated in Adjustment Layers.
Notwithstanding the soft proofing process, most images go through repeated hard proofing on the printer
before I am satisfied with the final result. When the time comes to print, the image is flattened,
cropped using a selection saved in the Master File, re-sized, sharpened for output, converted to the
color profile of the printer/paper, and printed.