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Re: [BKARTS] (no subject)

Hello All -

Sorry I did not get into this earlier.
I make photographic and artist portfolio/books being
both a letterpress printer, photographic artist, darkroom printer
for about 30 years.

I have jettisoned everything in favor of inkjet printing.
Letterpress is still the best type printing, but I had to give it up
because I could no longer stand long enough to be effective.
This was due to motorcycle accident and not anything to do with
media and technology.

But photographic prints are something on the order of a thousand times
better using digital Photoshop and pigment inks in an inkjet printer.

The reason I have not gotten into this discussion is because
the processes involved are hugely more complicated
than letterpress and darkroom. Also, hugely more potential.

First you need a scanner, something like a Nikon 8000.
>From flatbed up, usable and affordable  scanners range from $400 to $2000.
Then you need to spend a year or two learning how to get a good scan.
Starting with a good scan, somewhere between 15 megs and 120 megs,
with a full gamut, dust scratch and noise free, is essential to arriving at
the end print.
Wedding photography often uses flash, and this makes the scanning easier
for someone without a lot of experience.
Otherwise you can get commercial scans. Bad ones are $5, ranging up to
good ones around $50.00 per image.
You need a computer with lots of horse power, preferably
a gig of memory, over 1000 mhz and 100 gigs of disk.
I use PCs, with a P4  processor, running Window 2000 or XP.
No doubt there are comparable Macintosh machines, but they
will cost double for the same horse power.

Then you need Photoshop 5, 6 or 7. 7 has a few tools that are
nice for beginners with poor scans, such as the healing brush
which saves days of time cleaning dirty images. Otherwise
there is no vast changes over 5.

They say your need about 2 years to become proficient at Photoshop.
I have been at it for over ten and only in the last two have I achieved
some mastery.

Finally, printers and paper.
The critical issue is archival.
Lasers are NOT. So, if you are selling laser prints as archival art
you are either mistaken or a con artist.
No doubt, in time they may rival pigment inkjet,
but it is not now and not soon.
see: http://www.wilhelm-research.com/ for research on
archival issues involving printers, inks, papers and types of prints.

With inkjets the  issues is pigment ink.
Everything else fades.
Some of the inkjet pigment inks rival what the modern painter
puts on canvas in terms of longevity and brilliance.
Dye based and laser inks do not come close.

I use Media Street's Generation enhanced.
It is archivally superior to Epson's pigments with less metamerism.
see http://www.mediastreet.com/

The only affordable inkjet that uses archival pigment inks is Epson.
Others are made, but they are either poor quality, use only dye, or are huge
expensive commercial machines.

The smallest acceptable, archival quality inkjet printer is Epson 1200, 2000
Then you need to learn about using pigment, and how to overcome
Epson's rather powerful resistance to using the better 3rd party inks.
Otherwise, pay the money and use Epson's pigment ink set.

Finally papers.
I uses mostly Hawk Mountain papers from: http://www.hawkmtnartpapers.com/
They make great, archival rag papers, coated for Inkjet. They are also
and so understand the problems.
Also http://www.inkjetart.com/index.html is a good general source for
printers, inks, paper and lots of information on using them.

Finally, you need to spend a long time learning about color and image
>From the scanner to the monitor, the computers software, the profile,
the inkset, the paper and the printer - no two setups are alike
and each constituent has a side range of variables.
It takes a very long time to calibrate a particular setup
to standardize your scanning, monitor and software.
Then you have fine tune that setup in relation to each
paper and ink combination.
You end up with a color profile that is tuned to your set up
and each paper/insket combination.

Once you have printed photographic prints and text
you are left with your final agony of binding
which should be familiar ground here.

I generally use loose sheet, since the photographic art market
wants prints detachable.
I make a binding, most often linen, often just front, spine and back;
sometimes a box and sometimes with flaps, with a recessed window to show
a cover print. Sometimes I print on the linen itself.
Then I make hardwood slipcases with a window.
For wedding work, which is one off, this is an amazing amount of work.
You would be better off finding something commercially made at

I do think that the popular conception of inkjet art
is a digital camera and a laser print a Kinkos.

For serious quality work it requires, in fact, a huge investment
in money, equipment and years of experience learning the skills.

For someone to simply master this for one or two projects is ludicrous at

Your best chance under those requirements is to make very sure that the
photography is a clean as possible, using flash to eliminate all issues
regarding scanning, Photoshop manipulation and printing.
If you start with perfectly average images in gamut, contrast, and balance
you can get very satisfactory results with cheap scans and commercial
If you want archival you either have to learn to do it yourself
or got to some experienced print like Diana at Hawk Mountain.

Well, I do not think this helps in the above conditions, except to
allow folks to not waste time thinking that this is quick a dirty technology
for fast results.

best of luck

michael andrews

----- Original Message -----
From: "Audrey Hill" <AudHill57@xxxxxxx>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2003 3:45 AM
Subject: (no subject)

> Hi,  I read your posting on the Bookarts List and I was wondering... you
> don't mention the epson at all.  I was under the impression that the Epson
> printers were really considered state of the art.  I plan to buy an Epson
> archival inkjet printer and you make me wonder if I'm making the best
choice now.  I
> don't think that you can reink the Epson.  Do you have recommendations for
> printers that you personally would use in the range of the epson 2000 that
> consider to be as good, using archival ink that can be reinked?
> Audrey

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