“We try to connect with people, inspire them, and figure out different ways they can live with their photos,” says Gabe Cano, co-owner of Color Services in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The guiding principle at Color Services is not simply photo reproduction for its clientele, which is mainly retail but also includes a healthy dose of photographers and artists. Instead, Color Services finds unique ways to produce and display images. Cano calls it “specialty retail,” since much of what they produce is more than just 4×5 or 8×10 reproductions.
A recent point of inspiration is the wall of photos Color Services created for its lobby. Originally, the lobby featured a number of prints mounted to Gator Foam that covered the wall. Cano wanted to update the wall and create something that was different, impactful and inspirational.
Cano gathered photos taken by friends and the staff at Color Services, and laid out the approximately 3,000 photos in InDesign. The final collage design was printed on Photo Tex from LexJet with a Canon iPF8300 44″ inkjet printer in about 12 panels, and applied to the wall.
“The impact has been insane. The wall treatment we had before was one thing, but this really draws a lot of attention. They got lost in the photos, way more than they did before,” says Cano. “We’ve found that many our clients who see it want to do something similar, or put their own spin on it.”
For instance, Cano took that concept and applied it to a 25-year portrait photo retrospective that local portrait photographer Stephanie Baker is putting together. Cano created a mockup on a partial wall at Color Services’ studio to show Baker how it would look.
“She freaked; this is exactly what she wants to do. Now she’s looking for a space to exhibit it. She has 20,000 to 30,000 portraits from over the years and wants to completely wallpaper a gallery space with this retrospective,” says Cano.