Prints That Win: The Dreams That Haunt Me

Dennis Hammon, a PPA affiliate juror, is no stranger to the Sunset Print Awards. He and his wife, fellow photographer Cheri Hammon, have six awards between them. The beloved Sunset Print Awards have been limited over the last few years, as many shows have been virtual, but for Hammon it’s about telling the story from capture to print.

“The print is the completion of the vision of the image. We feel that’s important and why l love submitting prints,” he says. “We’re glad LexJet could do the award in 2021, even though it was virtual. I wish it were print.”

Last April, Hammon submitted a sobering black and white portrait for the 2021 PPI (Professional Photographers of Idaho) Convention. One of the essential elements of photography is “Impact,” and Hammon’s capture packs plenty of punch.

“I was teaching a workshop at the Winona School of Photography in Indiana a few years ago, and I was looking for an older gentleman or a biker persona,” he says. “I saw this guy, a Vietnam vet, wearing a POW hat. He didn’t go into a lot of stuff. He was reticent about his history, and we just talked briefly.”

After listening to his quiet reflection, Hammon knew he needed something special for the portrait. “He alluded to some sad times in his life, and that’s why I changed the lighting, to show a different kind of lighting. It’s not pretty lighting; it’s very dramatic lighting. And then I came up with the title for it: The Dreams That Haunt Me.”

His capture of a haunting moment did not go unnoticed. Hammon scored many accolades, including 100 at PP of Idaho, Best of Master Portrait – PP of Idaho, Top 10 Portraits in PPA Western District, and PP merit image. “During the judging in Idaho, three of the judges couldn’t do the rebuttals or talk because after they saw the image, heard the title, and heard other people talking about it, they were emotional and couldn’t even talk to give a rebuttal,” he says. “It’s a very emotional piece for people.”

Sunset Print Award Winner Dennis Hammon

Hammon knew right away what to do for the presentation, and although recent submissions have been virtual, he knows printing “The Dreams That Haunt Me” on Sunset Fibre Elite would have only intensified his score. “I knew it had to be black and white as soon as I saw it,” he says. “If I had printed that image on Fibre Elite, it would have sailed out of the system, I promise you.”

The Sunset Print Awards are a favorite in the Hammon household. “It’s always an honor to win that award. It’s my favorite of all. I’ve won Photographer of the Year several years in a row and – don’t take this the wrong way – but I’d rather get the LexJet than that,” he says. “It’s important to me because I know it’s a high-scoring image, but I’m also supporting a brand, which is supporting us. And I think that’s important.”

You can learn more about Dennis Hammon and his award-winning photography HERE.

Buffalo Printer Brings Veterans’ Photos to Life for PTSD Awareness

Expression through photography has no limits. Imagination and ideas flow freely. While some claim print photography is no longer as popular as it once was, Mark Russell, of Buffalo Canvas proves otherwise. His shop in Buffalo, New York, printed the photos for an exhibition at the Central Library focused on spreading awareness of the struggles some veterans face with PTSD. The Odyssey Project created by photojournalist, Brendan Bannon, features photographs from 42 veterans.

Buffalo Canvas The Odyssey ProjectThe outdoor exhibit had its share of challenges, including withstanding temperatures that would vary between 40 to 65 degrees. Russell needed a product with the right adhesive that was easily removable and met fire safety standards with a Class A fire rating. He turned to LexJet for answers. “We don’t have all the information, so the relationship with LexJet is important,” Russell explained. “LexJet has a solution almost every time.” LexJet recommended General Formulations 226HTR WallMark™ to fit the bill.

GF 226HTR has a unique and innovative pressure-sensitive adhesive that is specially formulated to be both high-tack and removable (HTR). The combination of vinyl and adhesive is designed to stick aggressively to most surfaces but is specially formulated to remove cleanly for up to a year.

  • Unique HTR adhesive is both high-tack and removable and allows for ease of installation
  • Print and cut edge-to-edge with stunning image quality and superior hold
  • Safe for all spaces with its E84 Class A fire rating

Buffalo Canvas The Odyssey ProjectThe exhibit was installed on a large exterior granite wall of the library. Weather conditions put the product to the test.

“It was tough with the weather, one day, it was 65 and the next, snowing. We’ve been using different General Formulations products on other projects, so we felt confident.”

For the installation, having the right adhesive was a must. Choosing media that is Class A fire-rated is also an important factor for a public exhibition.

“LexJet’s recommendation of the GF 226 HTR performed really well, giving us flexibility with the installation and being easily removable. It printed beautifully, and the installation went smoothly. The library loved it and has extended the exhibit through May.”

Perfect timing with Memorial Day coming up on May 30. Sharing the experience through the art of photography and capturing the stories of veterans offers the opportunity to pay honor to the men and women who have proudly served our country. The exhibition ran through May 31 at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library at 1 Lafayette Square in Buffalo, New York. A traveling exhibit continues around the country.

LexJet Customer Printing for Ukraine

Vlad Denko, a LexJet customer from Ukraine, currently living in Corning, New York, recently turned his print shop into a tool for Ukraine as it battles the Russian invasion. By printing and selling pro-Ukrainian stickers, Denko is donating all the money to support the Ukrainian troops fighting to defend their homeland.

At LexJet, we’re always looking for ways to support our customers. So, we caught up with Vlad to learn more about what he’s doing to make a difference from so far away and better understand how we can help.


LexJet – How are your friends and family back home?

Vlad – So far, none of my immediate family or friends that I personally know were hurt. But at the same time, I cannot state that everyone is safe down there. Some of them are sitting in the suburbs of Kyiv and making Molotov cocktails. Most of my and my wife’s family are in western Ukraine, which is a more or less safe area, but at the same time, we realize it’s only 10 minutes away from a missile flight.

Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine

LexJet – How are you holding up? Are you able to communicate with those back home?

Vlad – We’re more or less okay. I believe the fact that we are busy with fundraising and making stickers keeps our minds occupied, otherwise we would probably go crazy just thinking about all of this. Whenever I have a free minute, I just turn on the Ukrainian live stream news, put on the headphones, and listen to what’s happening there. Fortunately, the internet is working well there, and we can communicate with our relatives. I usually call my dad twice a day at least.


Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine

LexJet – Why did you start this campaign?

Vlad – Well, first of all, like every single Ukrainian that lives outside of Ukraine, I wanted to do at least something for my homeland. My first thought was to take all the available money we have and send it over. Shortly after the war started, I started getting dozens of messages from my clients and friends who live here in America, letting me know that they think about us and our family and offering help. So, I started researching how we can financially help Ukraine, looking at different charities, funds, and campaigns. I figured out that the foundation called “Come Back Alive” is one of the most established and effective. It has been running since 2014 and has an excellent reporting history. The QR link to the website is constantly posted on every Ukrainian national television at the time. The only problem is that if you’re donating from other countries, you have to go to the bank and make an international SWIFT transaction which costs from $40 to $75 and takes about an hour to do. So, I realized that most people wouldn’t be able to do that stuff, so I started thinking about how we can collect funds from people who want to help and transfer them to Ukraine. Since we are printmakers, we have an established website that we use for print orders, and it took me literally 5 minutes to set it up with a separate gallery. After that, I called a friend of mine, Vitaliy, who lives and works as a designer in Ukraine, and asked him if he could make me a handful of designs. His answer was, “Once I get out of the bomb shelter and if my home is not destroyed, I’ll be happy to help.” So, he did some of the signs, and I did the others, and in a couple of hours, we had the page up and running. I started sending the link to those who were previously over to help, and then it took off from there.



Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine

LexJet – What has been the response so far?

Vlad – It’s exceeded all my expectations by far. In the first five days of the campaign, we raised $10,000. When the local TV station heard about it, they called me and asked if they could do a story. Since it aired, my phone has been ringing non-stop. People were asking if they could come over and buy some stickers and support Ukrainian soldiers. At one point, we had vehicles lined up on our street. People have been sending mail letters with checks. A number of local businesses reached out to us, asking if they could buy stickers in bulk and donate in return.


Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine

 

LexJet – Where can people go to buy your stickers?

Vlad – You can buy these stickers on my website here.


Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine Spinning
LexJet – What does the money support?

Vlad – All proceeds, not just profits, go to “Come Back Alive.” This fund specifically supports Ukrainian soldiers by providing them with everything but weapons. Helmets, boots, body armor, first aid kits, night vision devices, etc. Everything that can keep a soldier alive so he can return to his family.

Also, people can go to this link and see all the financial information about the fundraiser. We want to be transparent and financially responsible for every dollar we receive.


Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine

LexJet – Besides buying your stickers, how else can people help the people of Ukraine?

Vlad – The most important thing is that people are talking about it and letting others know that they are aware, and they are concerned and that they support Ukraine. Both offline, by having a sticker on their car, using it as a conversation starter, and most importantly, online! We all know how social media algorithms work and that politics, both local and national, follow the trends and get constant reports about what people are buzzing around. So, every time somebody mentions on Facebook that they support Ukraine and it’s not acceptable what Russia is doing, it’s accumulating somewhere and putting extra pressure on those who make important decisions in our country.

LexJet – What does this show of support mean to you?

Vlad – Probably, to say that it means the world to me would be to say nothing. I’m flattered but, at the same time, not surprised with the amount of support that I’m getting from fellow Americans. This nation has a long history of helping those who are in need. It is good to know that people worldwide feel responsible and have the urge to help others.


Vlad Denko Printing for Ukraine

LexJet – What printer did you use?

Vlad – For this specific project, I’m using my true workhorse, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 (the current model is Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2100). Who would have known five years ago when I was buying it from LexJet that it would be printing stickers to save Ukrainian soldiers!


LexJet Extreme Aqua Vinyl™ w/PSA

LexJet – What material did you use?

Vlad – I am printing them on LexJet Extreme Aqua Vinyl™ w/PSA. LexJet provides the color profiles which create an excellent color match. After I print a 24×36 sheet, I let it dry for a few minutes, laminate it, and then cut the individual stickers out with a straight edge and Rotatrim Cutter. I’m thankful to LexJet, Canon, and everyone who is buying the stickers for their support.

Four-Part Series: Consistent Color on the HP Latex 700 and 800 Series

In the closing segment to our four-part series, Timothy Mitchell finishes his overview of the technology improvements made in the HP Latex 700 and 800 printers. He dug into the new printheads, the new inks, and white ink in the W versions in the previous editions.

In the video above, Mitchell delves into the quality at 4- and 6-pass, the importance of the homogenous print zone, and other improvements like the rotary cutter and upgraded take-up reel system.

Speed and Consistency

With the reconfigured printheads, reduced picolitre size, and modular ink, this family of HP printers can produce stunning images at 4-pass. “This is 4-pass, which is about 334 sq ft/hr. The color pop, speed, everything looks gorgeous on this canvas,” says Mitchell. “I can do it on banner or canvas all day long at 250-334 sq ft/hr., and the colors look fantastic. This is absolutely a testament to how good the technology is.”

Homogenous Print Zone

The significance of the homogenous print zone is a stable print temperature for consistent and accurate color, no matter the external temperature. Whether you’re printing during January in New England or August in Florida, the homogenous print zone will help you achieve consistent graphics from print to print. “It uses just a little bit of temperature in the print zone so that whenever you’re printing, everything that goes through that print zone is exactly the same temperature, which is very important for color consistency,” says Mitchell.

Miscellaneous Upgrades

  • One-year subscription to both ONYX and Flexi
  • New rotary cutter – fast, accurate, and it won’t dull
  • Improved take-up reel
  • Rebuilt platen, edge guards, and ink collectors

Throughout the video, Mitchell talks about a few more of his favorite products on latex technology, including HP Removable Adhesive Fabric and HP Prime Gloss Air GP, and why they work so well on these printers.

Over these four sessions, Mitchell has provided information on what’s new and improved in the HP Latex 700 W and 800 W printers; now, you can take a closer look at them in The LexJet Experience. If you have questions, contact a LexJet printer specialist at 800-453-9538.

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Working with LexJet is a “Win-Win” for Arrow Photo

In 1943, renowned American photographer Wynn Bullock started Arrow Photo, a small commercial photo lab in Santa Maria, Calif. As the business grew, so did the product offering. In the 1950s, then-owner Hank Datter added film processing. In 1979, Margrit Holmes joined the Arrow Photo family. About 11 years ago, Holmes purchased the company where she has dedicated much of her life.

When she bought Arrow Photo, Holmes made the difficult decision to split off the camera store to focus on offering the best output for her clients. “I realized that the only way I can be successful in these challenging times is by offering customer service, connecting with my clients, producing high-end products, and most of all, giving quality,” she says. “The only way you can give quality is to use quality products.”

Holmes works with both aqueous and dye-sublimation printers. She uses LexJet Sunset Reserve Gloss on her two EPSON P6000 printers for her canvas prints. Recently, she added a SureColor F6370 and Geo Knight Maxi Press Air to improve her ChromaLuxe process.

Holmes’ decision to bring in the heat press ChromaLuxe prints to her clients was easy. The unique look of the aluminum panels creates durable and eye-popping images. “We offer the high gloss and the matte because not everybody likes the high gloss,” she says. “The colors are punchier with the gloss, but we have a lot of customers who prefer the matte, and we have no re-dos.”

The desire to provide high-quality products and customer service to her clients is one of Holmes’ main reasons almost exclusively with LexJet. She enjoys the wide variety of products, fast delivery, and friendly service from LexJet. “In the beginning, I was only ordering canvas, and then I realized how many products you carry, now I order from LexJet,” she says. “It’s because of the service and the fast delivery time. Often, we have the product the next day or two days later.”

With her diverse clientele – anything from customers ordering family photos to large canvas or ChromaLuxe prints for hotels and hospitals – Holmes knows the importance of getting what she needs when she needs it. “For us to fulfill everybody’s needs and do it successfully, we must use quality products and have the material available when I need it,” she says. “And we have LexJet to back us up and support us.”

Knowing she can get products she loves and trusts on time is not the only reason Holmes has partnered with LexJet. Perhaps, more importantly, is knowing that when she needs help, she can call and get her personal sales manager, Terry Brown, on the phone. “I know Terry will be there for me if I need him. It’s about having that human connection, and that’s important”, she says. “I always appreciate companies that recognize that customer service is important, and there are so many companies getting away from that.”

With her long and storied history with a long and storied company, Margrit Holmes knows what it takes to make customers happy, and she values the partnership she has with Terry Brown and LexJet. “Perhaps if it weren’t for LexJet, we wouldn’t be so successful, so really it is a win-win,” she says.

We’d love to see how we can positively impact your business, too. Reach out to a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or browse our wide variety of products at The LexJet Experience, a virtual world with everything LexJet has to offer.

Sunset Image Awards Spotlight: Dwight Okumoto

When it comes to weddings, it’s no secret that a bride wants everything to go perfect on the big day. One of the most important guests at the wedding is the photographer. For Honolulu-based Dwight Okumoto, it’s always been about capturing those special moments.

Once the Sunset Image Awards opened for submissions, Okumoto knew he had a few great entries for the “Wedding” category. After the judging was finished, two of his images had captured the attention of the panel. “Elegance” took first place and “Spirited” placed third.

“Elegance” by Dwight Okumoto – 1st Place – Wedding

“I took those during the COVID shutdown. The wedding was downsized from 300 attendees to 10,” says Okumoto. “I assured her that we would make it work. We were able to spend more time on the photography and try different locations.”

With few people milling about town, Okumoto and the beautiful bride were able to set up some shoots at local government buildings. “We tried to make the most of the time and tried different locations on the same day,” he says. “What was great for us was the lighting, because it was so flat.”

“Spirited” is his personal favorite of the images he submitted. “It really showed off her gown and that was my intent,” says Okumoto. “I wanted to photograph the back of it and show all the lacing. I thought it was very feminine.”

But after 40 years in the industry, he also knows that when it comes to competitions, the judges usually like to see the details in the face. “I know judges like closeup headshots and portraits seem to score better than when you try to show the entire dress,” he says.

Looking back over the years he’s spent capturing important family moments for others, it’s a member of Okumoto’s own family who led him to pick up a camera for the first time. “It was an older cousin. I was 8 years old, and he was 11,” he says. “He was always interested in photography, and we had Instamatic cameras, way back then. That’s how I got interested in photography.”

Once he went pro, Okumoto started working with Don Emmerich, a pioneer in commercial photography. “Don was a technical advisor with PPA during the 90s and into the 2000s,” he says. “He was doing commercial photography with film and did beta testing with digital cameras for Eastman Kodak. He also got me interested in dry lab and wide-format printers.”

Whether he’s picking up an Instamatic camera for the first time or capturing a bride’s special day, Dwight Okumoto certainly knows the importance of finding the right setting, lighting, and staging to create award-winning photos.

If you are interested in submitting your creative wedding shots for a chance to win $300, you can enter the current Sunset Image Awards HERE. Not a wedding photographer? That’s OK, enter in Fine Art/Composite, Portrait, or Wildlife/Landscape.

To see highlights of Photography Essentials, check out our series of LexJet Reviews to get ideas on new equipment or media, contact a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538, or visit LexJet.com.