HP Unveils Software for Making Large-Format Photo Negatives on Designjet Z3200

HP has developed a Large Format Photo Negative application that will allow users of HP Designjet Z3200 photo printers to produce photo negatives on transparent substrates. These large-format negatives can then be used as masters to produce fine-art prints with a wide range of classic, alternative photographic processes, including cyanotype, photogravure, platinotypes, dye-transfer, gum bichromate and carbro.

While writing on film from digital data is not new, the Large Format Photo Negative application developed by HP Color Scientist and photographer Angel Albarran, offers a simple, low-cost/high-quality option. HP is showcasing Large Format Photo Negatives and prints produced with the negatives for the first time at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2010 in Arles, France from July 3-13, and at ArtHamptons in Bridgehampton, NY from July 9-11.

Elliott Erwitt, a Magnum photographer known for his black-and-white candid shots, recently used Large Format Photo Negatives to create limited editions of some of his most famous photos. Although platinum printing has traditionally been limited to modest dimensions, with the large-format negatives he was able to produce 30 x 40-in. platinum prints of four of his images on cotton paper.

Any professional photographer with an HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer, the correct substrate and the free software package from HP will be able to produce these photo negatives. The software package will be released at the Photokina World of Imaging trade show Sept. 21-26 in September.

ARTtrust Online Helps Photographers and Artists Protect the Value of Their Prints

Whether you print fine-art photographs and art reproductions for yourself or as a service to other photographers or artists, you might want to check out ARTtrust Online. It’s a high-tech, print-authentication system designed to protect the value of photographic and art prints by assuring buyers that each print in an edition is unique and authentic and isn’t an unauthorized copy.

ARTtrust registration reduces risks for buyers of high-value art prints and better protects the rights of photographers and artists. Auction houses, galleries, museums, and collectors can use ARTtrust to trace the ownership of each print over time.

ARTtrust fills a real need in the market for fine-art photography and art prints because the same digital imaging and printing technology that makes it possible to create consistently color-accurate, long-lasting reproductions of fine art and photographs can just as easily be used to make counterfeit prints.

Use Coupons in LexJet’s Digital Printing Catalog for Pro Photographers and Artists

LexJet has released its 2010 Digital Printing Catalog for the Professional Photographer and the Fine-Art Printmaker. The 32-page publication lists just some of the hundreds of products LexJet sells for photographic and fine-art printing, including photo papers, fine-art papers, fiber-based papers, canvas and coatings, stretcher bars, banner materials, specialty films, and adhesive-backed materials for photo murals, promotional signs, and other creative applications.

The catalog also shows some of the creative ways LexJet customers are using the materials and includes an article explaining why Eric Wordal of Masterpiece Portraits decided to take a fresh look at in-house printing and how he’s reaping the benefits.

On p. 25 of the catalog, you’ll find coupons that can save you hundreds of dollars on orders that you place by calling at LexJet account representative at 800-453-9538.

For example, if you buy a 24-in. (or bigger) roll of Sunset Select Matte Canvas or Instant-Dry Satin Canvas, you can get a free Sunset Stretcher Kit, with everything you need to convert one of your canvas prints into a sturdy, professional-quality 16 x 20 in. gallery wrap.  Other coupons offer discounts on Sunset Photo Metallic paper, I-Banner display stands, and any two boxes or rolls of LexJet-branded media.

If you haven’t yet received your copy the 2010 Digital Printing Catalog for the Professional Photographer and the Fine Art Printmaker by mail (or if you’ve misplaced it), you always download the catalog from LexJet’s website.

Robert Rodriguez Jr. Offers In-Studio Class on Fine Photo Printing

There are a number of ways to learn how to create top-quality prints of your best photographs.

If you would like a full-day of instruction from a working professional, check out the Fine Art Digital Printing workshop that will be offered on Feb. 27 and March 13 by landscape photographer Robert Rodriguez, Jr. He is conducting the workshops in his state-of-the-art Beyond the Lens studio in Beacon, NY, which is in the heart of the scenic Hudson River Valley region.

Each participant will have the opportunity to develop and print their own images using a Mac computer, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom software, fine-art papers, and Epson and Canon professional printers.  

Robert has been featured on this blog before, because his large canvas prints and photo murals are helping patrons of local businesses see the natural wonders of the area in a whole new way. He also sells large framed prints of his images at art fairs and to corporate collectors.

He regards printing as the ultimate expression of a photographer’s vision. Rodriguez defines photography as the language of light, color, shape, texture, and emotion, and he strives to help students at all of his workshops learn how to speak that language effectively.

“Any camera today can make perfect pictures,” says Rodriguez, “But only by seeing photographically can you convey an emotion, express your style, and create images that rise above the mere snapshot. If you are serious about your photographic potential, then our workshops are designed to provide the ideas, concepts, and personal attention that make any camera a tool of true creativity.”
During the all-day sessions, Rodriguez will explain how to:

  • create a color-managed working environment;
  • set up a workflow with Camera RAW, Photoshop, and Lightroom;
  •  make image correction and advanced adjustments in Photoshop;
  • use color profiles;
  • soft proof before you print;
  • choose the right paper for your image;
  • process the file for printing; and
  • mount and mat exhibition-quality prints.

To learn more about Robert Rodriguez, visit his website www.robertrodriguezjr.com and read his Beyond the Lens blog, which talks about some of the stories behind his images and his philosophy about photography and printing.

Robert Rodriguez Jr. uses the Canon iPF 8100 to print most of his work.

John Caponigro’s New DVD Explains Fine Art Digital Printing

By Eileen Fritsch

At PhotoPlus Expo last October, I sat in on an Epson-sponsored session in which John Paul Caponigro attempted to explain everything you need to know about inkjet printing in an intense, two-hour session. He covered an awful lot of valuable information, including the importance of printing your work and why digital printing is more than simply a replacement for historical processes.

So, I am pleased to learn that Caponigro has released a DVD entitled Fine Art Digital Printing in which he expands upon the topics he discussed in his session at PhotoPlus.

He emphasizes that in order to achieve the best possible print, you must understand all of the components involved in making a good fine art print, including the substrate, ink, printer, driver/RIP, profile, ink limit, print speed, viewing light, environment, and presentation. He discusses all these topics on the DVD, as well as the importance of scale, resolution, color management and proofing, output sharpening, and protective coatings.

Plus, he discusses potential problems that can affect the final look of your print, including bronzing, metamerism, gloss differential, and outgassing. Other topics covered include how to solve common challenges, and how to choose a printer.

I haven’t yet viewed this  DVD, but I was impressed with the thoroughness of Caponigro’s down-to-earth presentation at PhotoPlus Expo in which he previewed some of the DVD contents.   

Caponigro’s advice isn’t meant for photographers who want to learn how to efficiently print higher vollumes of photos for their wedding or portrait customers. Rather, it is focused primarily on printing finely detailed, long-lasting, exhibition-quality prints that lovers of fine photography will value.   

One thing I enjoyed about Caponigro’s style is that he presented the information in a way that can help you get the best possible prints from your current equipment, while also giving you a better appreciation of  what specific advantages new print technologies might offer as the equipment, inksets, and software continue to evolve.

The DVD can be ordered for $69.95 from Acme Educational, a site that promises “Industrial Strength Knowledge for the Creative Mind.”

John Paul Caponigro also offers small-group, hands-on digital-printing workshops in his studio in Maine as well as a collection of low-cost, dowloadable articles about specific aspects of printing including the aesthetics of printing, evaluating substrates, navigating the Epson Driver in Photoshop CS3, and a preflight checklist that can help you avoid common mistakes.

Qoro Fine Art Services Offers a Unique Guarantee

When the founder of Qoro Fine Art Services in New Castle, Delaware named his new business, he combined the letter “Q” for quality with the Spanish word for gold. But according to one satisfied client, the name Qoro could also be an acronym for “Quality of Reproduction-Outstanding!”  And while Qoro does have the equipment and skill  to make great reproductions of original oil paintings and other art, the firm offers much more than gold-quality printmaking.

Having been in the business for more than 10 years, they have interacted with galleries, museum curators, art publishers, and art schools and gained insights that can help artists with every facet of their careers. They freely share some of these insights online and through consultations with each artist they work with.

Advised Pigment Ink Developers:  One distinctive chapter of Qoro’s history is that staff members provided insights to some of the chemists and researchers who were developing some of the pigment ink technology that has enabled inkjet printing to gain widespread acceptance in fine-art publishing.

Qoro’s founder Bill Jensen was a frame-shop owner, whose friends included chemists who were working with inkjet printer manufacturers on pigment inksets that would provide both the wide color gamuts and long print life that art publishers, galleries, and collectors would expect.

So Jensen started Qoro as a printing business in the late 1990s and began exploring how inkjet printing could be used to reproduce paintings and fulfill orders for art sold online.

Although Jensen has since retired, Davis and Griffith have both been with Qoro since 2000. They recall talking at length with ink chemists and color scientists about how inkjet-printing technology could be improved to meet the expectations of potential producers and buyers of art prints. During these consulting sessions, Davis and Griffith gained extensive firsthand knowledge about some of the chemistry and color science behind print permanence and image quality.

Today, Griffith and Davis are so confident in the quality of the inks, substrates, and protective coatings that they use in printmaking, that they offer Qoro customers a full replacement guarantee. Because they know that most artists don’t really want to delve into the complexities of ink and coating chemistry and print-permanence testing, Griffith and Davis decided to make Qoro’s guarantee as simple and as straightforward as possible.

As stated on their website: “If you damage a Qoro Replica™ we will replace it at no charge. Simply return the damaged product to Qoro and we will send you a new one.”  The word “damage” in their replacement guarantee doesn’t just apply to fading or water damage. It includes damage of any kind.

According to Griffith, the purpose of this guarantee is to make buyers comfortable enough to hang their art anywhere they want with the confidence that it will always remain as beautiful as it was the day they purchased it. Because most artists and art buyers traditionally handle artwork with great care, Qoro has only had to replace a few prints. For example, they replaced one Qoro Replica that had been displayed outdoors for five years on the deck of yacht, where it was routinely exposed to bright sunlight and salty, humid air.  And, they have replaced a few prints that were damaged during stretching or accidentally gashed by an artist preparing for a show.

Qoro’s production manager Frank Davis is an artist himself. Clients are impressed to see how accurately his reproductions match his original paintings, such as this one entitled “Cursed Cauliflower.”

Personalized Marketing Advice: Davis and Griffith have worked with enough artists to understand that no two artists are alike, and each has different goals, aspirations, and levels of knowledge and experience. Qoro gladly provides personalized, high-quality of printmaking services to all artists—whether they are just starting out after graduation, pursuing an art career after retiring from another job, or are already selling originals for thousands of dollars each.

“I care about every piece of art that comes through our doors,” says Davis, who is an artist himself.

Qoro has made prints for hundreds of artists, including masters such as N.C. Wyeth. They also help institutions such as the Delaware Art Museum and Delaware Historical Society supplement their revenues by offering reproductions of selected works of painters such as Edward Hopper and illustrator Howard Pyle.  Qoro has also reproduced paintings so that each heir of an estate can have a high-quality replica of a treasured family heirloom art.

High-Quality Equipment and Materials: For image capture, Davis uses a PhaseOne large-format camera. It has enough resolution to give printed reproductions the illusion of a three-dimensional surface. For printing, he currently uses a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF 8100 printer with Onyx software.

Many of the canvases and art papers Qoro uses come from LexJet. “LexJet has been a godsend for us,” says Davis. “As a company they have the same idea that we have—that the customer comes first. When I call my salesperson Dustin Flowers, he treats me as if I’m the biggest account out there.

Along with the Sunset Select Matte Canvas, Davis uses either Sunset Gloss or Matte coatings, depending on which look a client prefers.

What to Look for When Hiring a Printmaker: Thanks to the advances in pigment-ink technology that Davis and Griffith saw being developed, almost anyone can afford to buy a wide-format inkjet printer and promote themselves as being capable of being in the “fine-art reproduction business.”

Davis  says artists should spend more time investigating how the services and capabilities of one printmaker differ from others.  According to Davis, artists should pay attention to these three things:

  1. the quality of the equipment used in the image capture;
  2. what services are included in the price and which services cost extra; and
  3. any clauses in the contract that may grant the printmaker permission to use your art in ways you didn’t intend.

Davis advises artists to “Learn as much as you can before you commit and always protect your work by reading the fine print in a contract.”

To learn more about Qoro, you can follow them on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or read Frank Davis’ blog (“Frank Discussions”). You can also visit their online gallery, through which they sell prints and originals from clients, artists and museums directly to interested customers. (www.qoro.com and www.qoroart.com)

Through Qoro’s online art shop (www.qoroart.com), customers can purchase reproductions of works by individual artists or art included the archives of the Delaware Art Museum and Delaware Historical Society. This painting,“The Pirate” by N.C. Wyeth, is available in three different sizes of limited-edition canvas prints or as an open edition of 24 x 12-in. prints on art paper.