My Big Fat Fine Art Photo Print

The Assignment & Challenge

I needed to get a fine art photo of mine printed recently. Biggish. 4’x3′. It needed special treatment… and on awesome paper. This is the image:

Bonzai!Lake Tahoe, NevadaWhen worlds merge, everything is possible.

There’s a lot of luminance in it, quite a bit of rich color and a mighty gradation of tones. Tricky to get it right! A wonderful photographer friend of mine, Keoki Flagg, who owns and runs his own gallery, recommended Damian Taylor of Reprint Mint, over in San Leandro, California for the job.

Damian was super helpful and awesome! On the day the print was ready for its final steps, I drove over to work with him directly on last minute tweaks and see the final printing. And since I happened to have my Google Glass handy – I asked if I could make a video of the process. I do love behind-the-scenes action!

Damian most graciously agreed and here’s how it all unfolded:


The Right Materials

The Fujicolor Crystal Archive Preferred paper that Damian used is so incredibly gorgeous! It has silver halide crystals embedded in the emulsion, among some other marvelous qualities… and while you typically can’t expect a print to pop the way a photo does onscreen; this one came darn close!

When I first studied photography, I loved trying different papers and paper/chemical combinations. Even just working in black and white, it was astounding what a range of shades and color you could create. However, color printing is not nearly so simple. I fiddled about with it some on a good Canon printer here at home… and learned a lot. But in the end, decided that in this day and age it was best left to professionals.

Masterfulness & Spit

It was so much fun looking over Damian’s shoulder… and to have him tell me about each step of the process. He clearly loves what he does and is a master at it. I think it’s so much fun watching people do what they love most, hearing their stories and their craft’s history and lore. The afternoon gave me the feeling of being with a master craftsmen in Renaissance times… only in now times.

He even knew exactly what to do when I accidentally spit on the 2nd print I had made! It went back into the processor to be washed, rinsed and dried all over again. My signature didn’t look so good afterward… but the print was perfection, no sign of the tell-tale spittle mark I’d left. Hahaha!!

2 thoughts on “My Big Fat Fine Art Photo Print

  1. I enjoyed your video. I was a custom color printer in San Francisco back in the ’70s, Pro Color Lab. I did the murals. I’ve often wondered how it was done now in the digital age. Thank you for the inside look. I enjoy doing my own printing on my Epson at home. NO CHEMICALS. Type C paper was always better than the RC papers in my opinion.

    1. Wow! That was a time… printing murals in SF in the 70’s. I think you qualify for “badass” status. 😉

      From what Damian said, after the Lightjets are gone, everything will be inkjet. The day is coming.
      As for that paper… I just know it was the most gorgeous stuff I’ve ever seen. sigh.

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