Let’s talk about prints

I often miss the almost Zen-like atmosphere of the darkroom—the sound of running water, the dim amber glow of the safelight, the ticking of the enlarger timer, the feel of wet photo paper in my hand, even the burning sensation of acetic acid in my nostrils. Most of all, I miss hunching over a tray and marveling at the slow motion appearance of an image, the birth of a photograph.

One of my college photography teachers used to say I snuck up on my prints, meaning I took tiny steps in making my photos. It was true. I’d often end up with a dozen or more prints of the same image, with only slight variations in exposure or contrast. I snuck up on digital photography, too. Skeptical about the technology and unsure if I could produce the same quality of print from a digital original, I first bought a negative scanner and started post-producing everything in Photoshop. Later, I downloaded high-resolution digital photos from the internet and re-edited them in Photoshop. I realized I could match, and in many cases surpass, the quality of image I could produce in a darkroom.

I applied the same scrutiny to my digital printing, seeking out processes and substrates that would mirror black and white silver gelatin prints and offer the highest-quality archival results in both black and white and color images. Since the beginning of my digital career, I’ve outsourced my printing, primarily because it’s not feasible to maintain expensive printing equipment, especially in a technological environment in which hardware advances so quickly. Moving abroad has reinforced that decision.

Nonetheless, I offer two types of open edition prints.

Traditional Prints

Traditional prints involve precut photo paper and a chemical process. I’ve partnered with one of America’s best professional photo labs—a company I’ve used for gallery prints for nearly 12 years—to offer archival traditional prints directly from this website. When ordering traditional prints, you can choose between lustre, deep matte, and metallic finishes, in most cases.

Lustre paper (Kodak Endura Professional) has a smooth surface and a semi-gloss finish. It produces accurate skin tones, vibrant colors, and when used for black and white images simulates the look of silver gelatin paper. If you’re unsure about what type of paper to select, you can’t go wrong by choosing the lustre option.

Deep matte paper (Fuji Crystal Archive Professional) renders beautiful skin tones, produces a soft look in black and white images, and has a smooth surface and non-reflective finish. Deep matte is an excellent choice for color images with medium to low contrast and black and white photos with wide tonal ranges. I particularly like the look of black and white landscape and architectural photos printed on deep matte paper.

Metallic paper (Kodak Endura Professional) produces shiny silver and white tones in black and white images, and an almost reflective appearance to light tones in color photos. I don’t offer metallic paper for all images and it’s a choice you should select carefully, based on the overall look of the photo.

I trust Kodak and Fuji products. All of these papers meet archival standards and produce prints you can display for 100 years or more, when matted with acid-free materials, or place in dark storage for 200 years or more without loss of quality.

When looking at images in the print galleries, you can click the shopping cart or “Buy Photo” icons to launch the ordering module, which will display sizes and papers offered. If you click on the type of paper, a dialogue box will open to display information about the product.

I also offer metal prints. This modern printing method prints the photo directly on a sheet of aluminum. Metal prints come with a ¾-inch deep hanging system that gives the print the appearance of floating from off the wall.

When ordering lustre, deep matte, and metallic prints, you also have the option to mount the print on 3mm styrene or order a standout display. Styrene is an archival plastic material that adds a rigid backing to prints you plan to frame. Styrene mounting protects the print from bending or creasing and provides a permanently attached backing board for matting. Standout prints provide an all-in-one solution that does not require matting or framing. After printing the image, the lab mounts the print to a piece of ¾-inch deep foam and attaches a black plastic border. These lightweight and reasonably priced displays arrive ready to hang.

Black and white photo of a palm tree covered with parasitic plants.
Standout print

In the print galleries, you’ll notice two options with each image, borderless and with a white border. Borderless prints offer edge-to-edge coverage. If you order a 12×18-inch print, the image will take up the entire space. Borders reduce the actual image size by a few inches. For instance, a 12×18-inch print might have a 9×15-inch image printed in the center of the paper. Prints with borders are easier to mat and offer a classic look for standout prints.

Color photo of a green plant with a colorful butterfly on one of its leaves.

Prints ship directly from the U.S. lab, which charges a flat rate $7.25 fee (trackable, 5-10 day service) to ship an unlimited number of prints. You can also choose three- or two-day shipping for an additional fee. Shipping costs for metal prints range from $15-30 each. International shipping rates vary, depending on the destination.

In most cases, all sales are final when you order traditional prints from this website. If your print arrives damaged, please contact me immediately to arrange for a replacement.

Shop for traditional prints.

Giclée Prints

Currently, I offer giclée prints through Fine Art America, which has 14 fulfillment centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Giclée is a French word that means to spurt or spray and refers to an inkjet printing process. But Fine Art America doesn’t use office variety inkjet machines. They use large industrial models that produce museum-quality prints, using archival inks and substrates. These machines print on large rolls of paper several feet/meters wide. Rather than trying to fit a photo onto a standard-sized paper, such as an 11×14-inch, Fine Art America always prints images full frame and adds a 1-inch white border. The border makes it easier for a professional framer to mat and frame the image, but makes it a little more difficult to shop for a premade frame in a standard size.

Fine Art America claims their prints last up to 75 years, with proper care. It’s a standard claim, and one I have no reason to doubt. However, keep in mind that the giclée process has only existed since the 1990s, so we don’t have 75-year-old prints to prove the claim.

In my Fine Art America store, you can choose prints on standard paper, metal, acrylic, and wood. You also have the option of museum- and gallery-wrapped canvas prints, which are printed full frame. That means you won’t lose any of the image in the wrapping process. You can choose black or white borders, or a mirrored look, which copies the edge of the image and repeats it on the canvas border. All canvas prints include hanging wires or brackets and arrive ready to hang on your wall.

Color photo of red and gold marquee at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas advertising Donny and Marie Osmond show.
Canvas print

Fine Art America also offers custom matting and framing options. The website interface allows you to choose from a wide variety of framing and matting materials and shows you how the final product will look. This is a great option if you don’t have a preferred framer in your area.

Shipping charges vary and range from $6.25 for a single 8×5-inch print, to $26.95 for a 40×26-inch metal print, or $56.95 for a 40×26-inch canvas print shipped to U.S. destinations. I’ve noticed slightly higher shipping costs for Limited Time Promotion prints and multiple-print orders.

I’m not directly involved with orders placed through Fine Art America. If you experience a shipping or printing problem, you must contact Fine Art America directly. They offer a 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee, which you can read about here: https://8-michael-evans.pixels.com/moneybackguaranteeartistwebsites.html

Shop for giclée prints.

Limited Edition Prints

When I lived in San Francisco, I only offered limited edition prints. Since moving abroad, offering limited edition prints has presented a few logistical problems. Currently, I still use photo labs in the United States. That means the lab must ship prints to me in Colombia, where I sign and number them, before shipping them to the buyer. Prints usually arrive 6-8 weeks after you make a purchase. The process will become faster when I find comparable Colombian labs to print my work. Subscribe to this blog to receive announcements about limited edition print offers.

Contact Me

Contact me if you have questions about prints, or have specific print needs not found on this website.

Further Reading

Care, Handling, and Storage of Photographs: http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/photo.html

Giclee Printing Process – What Artists Need to Know: http://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2016/07/07/giclee-printing-process-what-artists-need-to-know/

Kodak Endura Professional Paper: http://imaging.kodakalaris.com/product/kodak-professional-endura-premier-paper

Fujicolor Crystal Archive Deep Matte Paper: http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/photofinishing/paper_lab_products/color_papers_printing_materials/deep_matte/


Let’s talk about prints
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Let’s talk about prints
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