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Author Topic: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?  (Read 7189 times)

Yvan Bedard

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B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« on: April 16, 2018, 04:44:52 pm »

Hi,

I sell fine art landscape photos in art galleries, mostly winter rural scenes from Canada, and they sell very well at good price. They are almost B&W but not quite, and printed on high quality canvas.

I just started a new series of B&W photos using high contrasts. People love them on my display. I did a few test prints on fine art archival smooth paper (Breathing Color Pura Smooth) and on metallic photo paper (Breathing Color Vibrance Metallic). The metallic paper gives nicer result (more punch, stronger black and contrast) but the fine art paper has more "nobility", probably closer to collectors' impression of quality.

I use Epson 7900 and mostly sell 24x36 prints.

I have three questions:
a) is Metallic paper "noble enough" to sell in top-tiers fine art galleries?
b) a very good photographer told me that he never prints B&W on canvas because it simply is "unthinkable"...   :)    What do you think of such a comment? Is it too purist? The big advantage of canvas prints is they don't require a glass in their frame.
c) if you have seen fine art paper with varnish (ex. Breathing Color Pura Smooth + Timeless varnish), do you like its look? Is it still "noble"? It is very well protected with such varnish and doesn't necessarily requires a glass in the frame.

Thanks,

Yvan

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Yvan
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David Sutton

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 10:04:18 pm »

I try to work out what the image asks for, not the pedant. At least if I get it wrong there is no one else to blame.
I've been working on a high contrast series in B&W and tried Moab Slickrock metallic. I never thought I'd go metallic but the images look just wonderful. The catch is that any nearby light source creates reflections on the paper making the image invisible. So I can't use it.
My current solution is to use Epson Legacy Baryta (which I've profiled for the Canon printer) and bring the dominant greys close to silver (rgb values 192, 192, 192.
David
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Yvan Bedard

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2018, 09:45:33 am »

Thank you David for your feedback.

You're right, the metallic paper gives wonderful B&W images when strong contrast is important. In my essais, I had one framed behind a non-reflective glass (Artglass WW) and although the relfection is less of a problem, it is still there enough to avoid putting such a photo on a wall where there are windows or strong interior lighting. So, as you say, I can't use it unless I know my client will use it in appropriate rooms. 

The problem is similar to framing with traditional glass which has a lot of reflections, whatever the paper behind the glass. Idem for aluminium and plexiglass. This is why I sell 90% of my photos printed on canvas. However, it is the first time I work on a series of B&W with strong contrast and I'm looking for the best print media for wall art.

Thank you for your suggestions of Epson Legacy Baryta. I've use a lot of Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper in the past and liked it, but not recently.

Regards,

Yvan



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Yvan
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2018, 10:56:43 pm »

I'm just a relative newbie-to-inkjet-printing amateur making smaller prints, sometimes but not consistently able to reproduce what I did in a wet darkroom many years ago, but FWIW:
* for B&W, my favorite paper so far may be Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta, as long as you can deal with its delicacy.
* I've tried B&W prints on Inkpress metallic glossy and metallic satin papers, and I see some promise, but I'm unconvinced that these metallic papers are (subjectively) 'better'.
* Maybe in large part because I'm printing and displaying for my own satisfaction instead of sales, increasingly I choose framing without any glass. If I have to reprint in five or ten years, that's a small price to pay for the improved appearance in the meantime. On the other hand, I'm not sure how long / how well Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta will survive on display without protective glass. I have not yet put one out where it will get dusted or anything--we shall see.
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vrkaya

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 01:34:43 pm »

Hi Yvan,

I realize this post is from last spring but I wanted to add that I also use Breathing Color Vibrance Metallic and gallery customers really like it. I sell a lot of infrared B&W, with subtle split-toning, and - as you know - since the paper is off-white I just make sure I don't lose my highlight details while proofing but you are right that the metallic really makes the image look good. The only other thing I have found with the BC metallic is it's a bit sensitive until completely dry so I do take precautions to avoid any scratches or flaws while it does dry.

So, I think it is perfectly fine for fine art.

Ron
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SharpMind

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2020, 11:55:34 am »

To be honest, I have seen a lot of beautiful pictures in minimalism style, which were made in Word Art, and they are wonderful. Moreover, it can be found on the internet sketches and even prepared pictures in different Internet shops, which are deal with the selling of the pictures. Most of all I liked drawings from www.print-services.com in this style. If you want you can check, it goes without saying, that different people have different tastes, but namely these pictures will be liked by everyone. Moreover, they are on canvas. I wait your answer.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2020, 05:43:32 am by SharpMind »
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smthopr

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2020, 02:38:25 pm »

Hi,

I sell fine art landscape photos in art galleries, mostly winter rural scenes from Canada, and they sell very well at good price. They are almost B&W but not quite, and printed on high quality canvas.

I just started a new series of B&W photos using high contrasts. People love them on my display. I did a few test prints on fine art archival smooth paper (Breathing Color Pura Smooth) and on metallic photo paper (Breathing Color Vibrance Metallic). The metallic paper gives nicer result (more punch, stronger black and contrast) but the fine art paper has more "nobility", probably closer to collectors' impression of quality.

I use Epson 7900 and mostly sell 24x36 prints.

I have three questions:
a) is Metallic paper "noble enough" to sell in top-tiers fine art galleries?
b) a very good photographer told me that he never prints B&W on canvas because it simply is "unthinkable"...   :)    What do you think of such a comment? Is it too purist? The big advantage of canvas prints is they don't require a glass in their frame.
c) if you have seen fine art paper with varnish (ex. Breathing Color Pura Smooth + Timeless varnish), do you like its look? Is it still "noble"? It is very well protected with such varnish and doesn't necessarily requires a glass in the frame.

Thanks,

Yvan

My impression of canvass prints is that they look "tacky", but I'm not buying art prints from galleries either :)

Yes, I don't really like my prints behind glass, but if it's a print one wants to keep in good condition, I don't see much choice.
Prints behind glass though can look really awesome when displayed under spot lighting to illuminate the print, but not the rest of the room, which would reflect off the glass.
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Alan Klein

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2020, 04:52:12 pm »

My impression of canvass prints is that they look "tacky", but I'm not buying art prints from galleries either :)

Yes, I don't really like my prints behind glass, but if it's a print one wants to keep in good condition, I don't see much choice.
Prints behind glass though can look really awesome when displayed under spot lighting to illuminate the print, but not the rest of the room, which would reflect off the glass.
Last month when I visited Los Angeles, I went to the Getty Museum.  I was really surprised that their photo gallery exhibit used regular glass to cover the prints on the wall causing terrible reflections.  You think they would use museum glass or something else. 

Brookie

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2020, 10:44:36 pm »

Last month when I visited Los Angeles, I went to the Getty Museum.  I was really surprised that their photo gallery exhibit used regular glass to cover the prints on the wall causing terrible reflections.  You think they would use museum glass or something else.

It is likely that the Getty was using a UV filtering glass or plexi. What many framers refer to as “museum glass” that is non- or reduced glare often degrades the contrast, color, and sharpness of a print and so is not actually used by museums. At least that has been what I have seen. I’m not trying to make generalizations and there could certainly be exceptions, or I could be flat out wrong. That aside, in my personal experience, the clarity of a UV filtering glass provides the best viewing overall - be careful about light placement and tolerate that part of the glare which you can’t control. For large prints where weight is a concern use UV plexi (much more expensive than glass and scratches easily). My two cents, YMMV, of course.
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Brookie

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2020, 10:59:23 pm »

Yvan,
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this kind of thing, I’d go with a paper surface more similar to an air dried wet darkroom print - i.e., not a glossy paper, not a noticeably textured paper, and not a metallic paper. I would also frame with window matts of archival mattboard. But that’s just me, you should do whatever looks good and best fits the style of your image in your own artistic opinion.

That said, years ago I saw an exhibition of Irving Penn photographs that were platinum printed on sheets of aluminum. They were stunning!
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vikcious

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2020, 05:20:47 am »

* for B&W, my favorite paper so far may be Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta, as long as you can deal with its delicacy.

Since I also love this paper, I should say "loved"... Hahnemühle has just pulled the plug on the Photo Silk Baryta  :'( :'( :'(
Hahnemuehle photo silk baryta is gone!
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vikcious

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2020, 05:30:59 am »

b) a very good photographer told me that he never prints B&W on canvas because it simply is "unthinkable"...   :)    What do you think of such a comment? Is it too purist? The big advantage of canvas prints is they don't require a glass in their frame.

Hi Yvan,

The only logical aspect that could support this allegation would be that the canvas particular DMax is not one to be proud of, hence the overall print contrast is reduced and the "punchiness" factor quite fades away and picture preprint preparation is highly required. Else canvas it's got an emotion of its own and its texture and the lack of reflections thereof make it look tempting.
For the overall feeling, I would still choose a matte Baryta type paper over a canvas but the struggle with the poor DMax will still be there...
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nirpat89

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2020, 06:47:23 am »

Yvan,
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this kind of thing, I’d go with a paper surface more similar to an air dried wet darkroom print - i.e., not a glossy paper, not a noticeably textured paper, and not a metallic paper. I would also frame with window matts of archival mattboard. But that’s just me, you should do whatever looks good and best fits the style of your image in your own artistic opinion.

That said, years ago I saw an exhibition of Irving Penn photographs that were platinum printed on sheets of aluminum. They were stunning!

You mean printed on paper that were mounted on aluminum, not printing directly on the metal.
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Paul_Roark

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2020, 11:18:18 am »

FWIW, here's my reaction to these printing materials.  (I print and sell only black and white, but I think that is only a minor distinction here.)  The bottom line is that I will not be using metallic paper or canvas again.

First, as to metallic paper, I really like the look of it.  However, I found that a protective spray destroys the look that I like.  I sell prints that are not glazed.  This requires a good acrylic coating.  So, I was simply not able to sell, or comfortable with selling, totally un-protected prints.  For one's own use, this issue would not be a major concern.  Just reprint the piece if it gets damaged.

I once did an entire show of "carbon on canvas."  (I use high content carbon pigment inks for my B&W prints.)  One problem I had was that I mounted the canvas on foam-core instead of stretching it.  I did this for several reasons, one being that the inkjet coating seems to be prone to cracking with canvas wraps.  However, probably because of the lower ability of canvas (or the high knobs of such) to adhere well to the backing material, I had much more of an issue with bubbles showing up in the finished product. 

From an aesthetic point of view, it occurred to me that trying to make my photos look more like a painting was rather incongruous.  While I'm in a gallery dominated by painters, I certainly do not need to apologize for my paper medium.

I also am having a negative reaction to canvas wraps, in general, because now Costco is selling too many of them.  Canvas wraps are starting to scream "Costco!"  Not the image I want for my work.

I also take pride in being able to capture and display fine detail.  The texture of the canvas tended to interfere or compete with this fine photo detail.  Now this can be an advantage on a very large print that is beyond the image's resolution capabilities, but I found it a negative.

On the plus side, while most canvas products have a mediocre dmax, I found that some are very competitive with paper.

Overall, my mantra remains that (parroting Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid"), "It's the image, ..." that counts.  i find buyers incredibly un-interested in the materials and technical issues we photographers/printers obsess over. 

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
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Brookie

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 11:47:23 pm »

You mean printed on paper that were mounted on aluminum, not printing directly on the metal.

Niranjan,
You are correct. I was mistaken. I remembered them being on aluminum so following up on your comment I did a search and found this for those interested

https://www.nga.gov/press/exh/0208/backgrounder-platinum-printing.html

The paper was mounted onto the aluminum to ensure there was no shrinkage as Penn was using multiple coating and development in his process. Interesting, quick read. They really are stunning prints!
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nirpat89

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2020, 12:35:29 am »

Niranjan,
You are correct. I was mistaken. I remembered them being on aluminum so following up on your comment I did a search and found this for those interested

https://www.nga.gov/press/exh/0208/backgrounder-platinum-printing.html

The paper was mounted onto the aluminum to ensure there was no shrinkage as Penn was using multiple coating and development in his process. Interesting, quick read. They really are stunning prints!

That's a nice article. 

Your broader point is valid though.  The artist should decide whatever represents the artistic vision and not necessarily follow the convention (if the convention fits the vision, that's fine too.)  If Penn had not done that, we would not have been treated to those beautiful metal-mounted platinum prints of his.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 01:40:51 am by nirpat89 »
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Krug

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2020, 10:16:35 am »

A few years ago I had quite a confrontation with a rather loud and strident lady in a gallery in which I was showing which went on for some time and involved two return visits by her to inform me - rather forcefully - that one of my images printed on canvas was absolutely clearly 'a painting' not the photograph that I claimed it to be. A reversal of what one might expect and really rather funny.
However I realized that until that point I had only treated printing on canvas as just another substrate to carry an image and this started me actually thinking about printing photographic images on canvas and I decided that I did not like it - not because of this silly woman but because, for me, it is an inappropriate and unnatural carrier which normally does nothing to improve an image which should boldly be a photographic one. 
Just my opinion and I do not expect anyone else to hold it - just saying.
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dgberg

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2020, 08:54:01 pm »

FWIW, here's my reaction to these printing materials.  (I print and sell only black and white, but I think that is only a minor distinction here.)  The bottom line is that I will not be using metallic paper or canvas again.

First, as to metallic paper, I really like the look of it.  However, I found that a protective spray destroys the look that I like.  I sell prints that are not glazed.  This requires a good acrylic coating.  So, I was simply not able to sell, or comfortable with selling, totally un-protected prints.  For one's own use, this issue would not be a major concern.  Just reprint the piece if it gets damaged.

I once did an entire show of "carbon on canvas."  (I use high content carbon pigment inks for my B&W prints.)  One problem I had was that I mounted the canvas on foam-core instead of stretching it.  I did this for several reasons, one being that the inkjet coating seems to be prone to cracking with canvas wraps.  However, probably because of the lower ability of canvas (or the high knobs of such) to adhere well to the backing material, I had much more of an issue with bubbles showing up in the finished product. 

From an aesthetic point of view, it occurred to me that trying to make my photos look more like a painting was rather incongruous.  While I'm in a gallery dominated by painters, I certainly do not need to apologize for my paper medium.

I also am having a negative reaction to canvas wraps, in general, because now Costco is selling too many of them.  Canvas wraps are starting to scream "Costco!"  Not the image I want for my work.

I also take pride in being able to capture and display fine detail.  The texture of the canvas tended to interfere or compete with this fine photo detail.  Now this can be an advantage on a very large print that is beyond the image's resolution capabilities, but I found it a negative.

On the plus side, while most canvas products have a mediocre dmax, I found that some are very competitive with paper.

Overall, my mantra remains that (parroting Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid"), "It's the image, ..." that counts.  i find buyers incredibly un-interested in the materials and technical issues we photographers/printers obsess over. 

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

If you go back to trying canvas never use foam core. Use gatorboard and attach the canvas with Miracle Muck.
So easy and boy do they sell. You can put any type of frame around and way more classy than a gallery wrap although they are still popular.
My second best customer photographs dogs and cats.He takes the pictures and the clients usually buy several pieces either canvas or metal almost exclusively.
The pictured 68"X 35" framed canvas goes in a newly built vet clinic. Frame is from the Larson-Juhl Antica line.
Man is it sharp and crisp. All those out there refusing to do canvas are just missing out. This was at wholesale discount a $800 job.
No gallery work here but canvas is still the best seller by far. Black & White and Color. Chromaluxe metals are in hot pursuit.

2 B&W images canvas on gator board framed, nicer than any paper IMO.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2020, 10:52:02 am by dgberg »
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Thibert_2020

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2020, 09:05:35 pm »

Salut

I would look from a different point the view.  I would begin by looking at the picture.  Just went in your web-site.  Then, I will ask myself the emotions that the picture translate....Wikipedia got a good definition with a wheel as the image.  Third, you might elect to print all the different types of medias from your printer.  It's a business position.
There are papers who reflect different characteristics of the capture.  Canson papers got good videos and cross tables in their web site.  Finally, WHAT does your customers prefer ?
Do not give them 5 paper choice......Give them the best that your margin could buy.

Michel Thibert
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chez

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Re: B&W large prints: metallic paper, canvas or fine art paper?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2020, 09:54:48 am »

Salut

I would look from a different point the view.  I would begin by looking at the picture.  Just went in your web-site.  Then, I will ask myself the emotions that the picture translate....Wikipedia got a good definition with a wheel as the image.  Third, you might elect to print all the different types of medias from your printer.  It's a business position.
There are papers who reflect different characteristics of the capture.  Canson papers got good videos and cross tables in their web site.  Finally, WHAT does your customers prefer ?
Do not give them 5 paper choice......Give them the best that your margin could buy.

Michel Thibert

This is good advice. Some images might shine on glossy papers, others might be best suited for textured matte papers or even canvas papers.

I print on various papers and sell into the high end remodelling market. I choose the paper type that fits the mood of the picture. No customer complaints.
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