Last night I read through quite a bit of Steven Livick's testing observation. Harald Johnson has archived all of it here:http://web.archive.org/web/20050305075607/.../inkjet/pg1.htm
He is a wordy guy, not much of a writer and could be taken as an eccentric. I don't take him that way at all though. I feel a definite camaraderie with the guy. He's tired of the hype that is extremely prevalent in this industry. I can see why he was taking hits from whomever was messing with him. He made cut and dried statements regarding the products he was working with. I feel that his methodology was a bit extreme in some sense but I also feel that the extreme conditions he works from is a necessary component to all the other "testing" that is going on out there. It's important to try to set up a situation where the elements are attacking these prints at an unrealistic rate. Much of his testing took place in direct sunlight. He is fully aware of that fact and acknowledges it. you have to cover the wide end in any test situation. The famous Wilhelm has, at times, been criticized for setting up wimpy conditions.
It's a bit difficult to get through Livick's writing, you have to concentrate, it's a bit like proofreading a child's writing, something I have much experience with. I'm not making fun of the guy here, ultimately, he's an artist, not a writer. Nothing wrong with that.
Anyhow, based on what i've been going through and after reading Livick's stuff, I'd have to agree with you, Brian. Coating prints seems to be lurking in my crystall ball. Damn, Im trying to shake this off.
I've tried pretty much all the new fiber gloss papers and if you don't spray them you still get both bronzing and gloss differential (it's better but it's still there). Not mention the fact that some these surfaces are extremely delicate (innova has to be handled VERY carefully, Silver Rag seems to be fairly tough) None of the surfaces I have experience with are up to par, IMO, especially when making larger prints.
These discussions about the newer gloss fine art papers always seem to spark off a lengthy thread. I think that's a testament to the fact that folks want something like this to print on. With all these companies producing papers that have pronounced surface textures, one's got to wonder why the decisions were made to incorporate these textures (Silver Rag, Hanne Fine Art Pearl...Innova, less so). I can only deduce that it's because there is some manufacturing issue, a tech issue, that makes it extremely difficult to produce with any kind of consistent quality standard. Innova seems to be struggling with their quality point. I have experience with quite few different batches of this paper and the quality variations are striking in terms texture and blemishes. I am not surprised that they released the Semi Matte version of this paper because they at this point they are aware of the problems with the straight gloss. It's like when you paint a wall with high gloss paint...if you want it to look good you have better spend more time prepping the surface underneath. The base on the Innova paper (they took a fav paper from their matte line and coated it) is what is causing the surface to have the look that it does...that's what I suspect anyway. It doesn't look like a coating issue.
I'm having a great deal of difficulty imagining myself spending time in a spray booth with a mask and sprayer. I'm also having a hard time imagining myself keeping a section of my studio set up with a roller and pan for coating my prints. Damn, should have kept my darkroom set up, right? Maybe this will lead to sparkling career in decoupage?
Too late for the darkroom because my kids love the bathroom I built in it's place. Can't get em out of there because they can steal the neighbors wireless internet signal from there and chat on the laptop while they sit on the can. humph, teenagers..whatever happened to reading sports illustrated while losing a few pounds??
I was planning to rebuild the d-room basement under my studio but then all these fiber gloss papers started to appear. Im thinking that we might have to wait a little longer and HOPING, that these companies realize that they need to keep working on this.
Apologies for the lengthy ramble.