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Author Topic: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?  (Read 39180 times)

William Walker

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Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« on: December 16, 2014, 09:23:58 pm »

I seem to have developed the notion, not deliberately, that printing photography on canvas is not quite "fine art photographic printing". Is this a fair conclusion?

Perhaps it is my photographic and printing "upbringing" - most of which has taken place here on Luminous Landscape. In the "Camera to Print" videos I don't recall Michael Reichman or Jeff Schewe mentioning canvas. In his book, "The Digital Print", Jeff passes the printing on canvas section over to someone else. I trawled through most of the articles here on LL - I could not find any product reviews, tutorials or essays on canvas.

I spent a week on a printing course with Mac Holbert and John Paul Caponigro and we only printed on paper, and, in their "Digital Workflow" DVD, printing on canvas is mentioned only once without going into too much detail at all.

What is the top price paid for a photograph printed on canvas? Are photographs printed on canvas collected by investors or acquired by museums and galleries?

I look forward to hearing your views, and would appreciate any links or references to either bolster my impression or refute it!

William
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tim wolcott

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 01:00:44 am »

I guess you can look at it any way you want.  But its far more archival than the god awful toxic fading process that Lightjet and Fuji chrystal archive paper is.  If you question that than what about water color paper.  Its not traditional. 

I make no bones about it.  I relate fine art more to longevity, and print quality.  I think its just an expression more than a fad.  It been going on in the inkjet community since 1995 on Canvas.  Do I think its as good as Paper.  The answer is no.  Is it better than Fuji papers that fade quickly and pour chemicals into waterways.  Yes. Remember I was there at the very beginning.  I believe its all good if there is longevity for the buyer and frankly its just an expression of what the artist wants.  I think any process is good if there is some serious longevity to the final photographic print.  Tim
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slackercruster

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2014, 01:25:16 pm »

 I relate fine art more to longevity, and print quality.....yep!
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RSL

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 06:42:06 pm »

What's longevity? Paintings are one of a kind. Photographs are endlessly reproducible -- in the sense that there's no "original" final image. Printing a photograph on canvas is an attempt to pretend the photograph is a painting. It's the kind of kitsch that evokes laughter in anybody who understands the difference.
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Garry Sarre

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 07:16:21 pm »

Some great comments. As a long time user of both canvas and paper, including going back to producing cibachromes in my garage in 1976, I think I can come up with an argument or two.

Don't know what they call them in the rest of the world but in Australia, we have these things called 'canvas wraps'. The canvas is wrapped around stretcher bars, the photo is often stretched at the edges so it 'colour co-ordinates with the image. These, 'God-awful', 'look at me, I'm a work of art because I'm a stretched canvas' have sallied the reputation of canvas. A bit like 'we'll chuck all your images on a CD' has stuffed up the portrait and wedding industry.

But I am beginning to rant.

There's canvas, and there's plastic school book covering, and most look like the latter. Cheap, artificial treatments that make canvas look tacky.

So is canvas inferior, or somehow 'less' fine art than paper?

We have our most beautiful images on canvas in our viewing room. I print them on a unique canvas where the coating is infused into the cotton. I get the stuff from Canada. It has texture. It does not reflect. I spray coat with a UV matte coating and it is framed in a quality gold leaf, as gold looks good with my rich sepias. The image appears to 'float' as there is nothing to spoil the illusion that you are actually looking at the subject, and not a photo. It definitely is as 'fine art' as any paper print I have produced. Probably more-so.

This is moi after a spray job:)

« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 07:19:25 pm by Garry Sarre »
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2014, 08:08:29 pm »

Printing a photograph on canvas is an attempt to pretend the photograph is a painting.

That's an opinion, not a fact.

One that I don't happen to agree with.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 08:42:51 pm by Peter McLennan »
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RSL

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2014, 10:06:35 pm »

One that I don't happen to agree with.

Be my guest.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2014, 11:19:14 pm »

If I remember correctly, Rhein II is face-mounted to acrylic. Nobody knows the longevity of that process.

William Walker

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2014, 02:40:30 am »

Some great comments. As a long time user of both canvas and paper, including going back to producing cibachromes in my garage in 1976, I think I can come up with an argument or two.

Don't know what they call them in the rest of the world but in Australia, we have these things called 'canvas wraps'. The canvas is wrapped around stretcher bars, the photo is often stretched at the edges so it 'colour co-ordinates with the image. These, 'God-awful', 'look at me, I'm a work of art because I'm a stretched canvas' have sallied the reputation of canvas. A bit like 'we'll chuck all your images on a CD' has stuffed up the portrait and wedding industry.

We have our most beautiful images on canvas in our viewing room. I print them on a unique canvas where the coating is infused into the cotton. I get the stuff from Canada. It has texture. It does not reflect. I spray coat with a UV matte coating and it is framed in a quality gold leaf, as gold looks good with my rich sepias. The image appears to 'float' as there is nothing to spoil the illusion that you are actually looking at the subject, and not a photo. It definitely is as 'fine art' as any paper print I have produced. Probably more-so.


Hi Garry

Those prints look really good!

I was wondering though...in line with your "canvas wrap" comments (and it was those types of canvas prints I had in mind when starting this thread) - could you not produce equally good (or better) prints with one of the beautiful papers available and so avoid any confusion in the public's mind regarding "canvas wraps"?

Regards
William
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tim wolcott

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2014, 08:52:37 pm »

Nobody knows the longevity of Face mounting.  Really come on.  The paper has a longevity by itself.  The paper due to its chemicals and processing of the print is really only 2-12 years.  So adding some glue which will be re-active to the dyes in the paper can only shorten it.  Then you add some plexi to the process which most people are not using real plexi but some cheap ridiculous crap plastic like (Lik) does.  I've used light jet.  Had the second one in North America.  It failed most of the tests.  Its not that the paper if you process it the way it was intended to be processed it does have a decent longevity.  But due to Osha and EPA it had to be altered thru processing it thru a processor.  Which I agree with due to the toxic nature of the chemical and pollution.  So since we have a process that last nearly several hundred years that can produce prints better than any other process, why in the hell would produce a process that is clearly inferior to represent your work.  It lacks the dynamic range, color rendition, longevity, option for paper and framing options.

I will take flack for saying this, but since I helped design the pigment printing process  (both before inkjet and the very first inkjet pigment prints) to get rid of all of these inferior limitations.  I will say its because the people using it really do not represent the best interest of the photographic industry of selling and creating excellence in their work.  Its really used by so-called photographers WHO DO NOT TO LEARN HOW TO PRINT CORRECTLY.  Like LIk, Mitchum, Lough, Fatali, Mangleson and many others.  FOR CHRIST SAKE GET SOME ETHICS!
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chez

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2014, 10:25:38 am »

What's longevity? Paintings are one of a kind. Photographs are endlessly reproducible -- in the sense that there's no "original" final image. Printing a photograph on canvas is an attempt to pretend the photograph is a painting. It's the kind of kitsch that evokes laughter in anybody who understands the difference.

Funny thing is that I sell more of my images printed on canvas than I do printed on glossy or other forms of paper. It might evoke laughter from the likes of you...but it evokes a different reaction from my paying customers. Now do I satisfy critics like you or critics like my customer. Give me a nano second to think about that.
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RSL

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2014, 12:02:57 pm »

And I'll bet the saturation is raised beyond all believability as well. That enhances sales too. As H.L. Mencken pointed out: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." I have a friend who used to sell out of an annual art fair. One year I pointed out that he'd boosted the saturation out of sight on his pictures. H said, "Yeah, and my sales have doubled too."
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chez

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2014, 12:12:56 pm »

And I'll bet the saturation is raised beyond all believability as well. That enhances sales too. As H.L. Mencken pointed out: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." I have a friend who used to sell out of an annual art fair. One year I pointed out that he'd boosted the saturation out of sight on his pictures. H said, "Yeah, and my sales have doubled too."

So you are putting yourself on the "fine art" pedestal...basically everyone else who buys photos to be displayed in their living rooms, at times spending thousands of dollars are not intelligent and only YOU have this "what makes a print fine art" intelligence.

Seems very narrow minded to me.
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amolitor

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2014, 12:58:27 pm »

I think perhaps that Russ is simply saying that most photographs are sold as decor, not as Art with a capital A.

Decor and Art are made differently for different markets with different motivations for buying.

(I see you lurking around Slobodan! We both know what you're going to say!)
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2014, 02:31:44 pm »

... (I see you lurking around Slobodan! We both know what you're going to say!)

Funny... I was going to say: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  :)

amolitor

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2014, 03:06:09 pm »

Err. I knew that!

The same to you! My wife is cooking up boeuf bourgignon right now for tomorrow. I hope your holiday is as good as mine is shaping up to be.
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RSL

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2014, 03:56:14 pm »

So you are putting yourself on the "fine art" pedestal...basically everyone else who buys photos to be displayed in their living rooms, at times spending thousands of dollars are not intelligent and only YOU have this "what makes a print fine art" intelligence.

Seems very narrow minded to me.

Andrew understands what I'm saying. I also ought to add: I've known people who bought monstrosities like super color-saturated pictures of Venice canals with gondolas drifting down them, hung them in their living rooms, and, six months or so later, couldn't stand it any longer and tossed them into the trash. Andrew might have added that for decoration to be bearable over long periods it needs to be at least somewhat subdued. Of course if you hang an over-saturated monstrosity printed on canvas in your garage you only have to look at it when you get your car out or bring it in, and the novelty probably lasts a lot longer.

And merry Christmas and a happy new year to everybody on LuLa. My wife's out there cooking too. Yum.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2014, 05:07:20 pm »

Just a note about some basic tenets of logic: NOT printing on canvas does NOT make your photograph a piece of Art, with a capital A.

Btw, I print of canvas. Isn't it a proof enough that it is Art?  ;)

Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2014, 06:26:11 pm »

Well, I sell prints on canvas and on paper, some images just seem to work better on canvas than paper and visa versa Ė and as of now, I havenít been able to work out a away to gauge which will give me the best results until Iíve actually printed the image on each. A mediocre image on canvas can look amazing and an amazing image on paper can look mediocre etc.

I find that canvas prints sell about 6 to 1 over paper prints and as the buying public is king in my eyes, I print and sell mainly on canvas as a result.

Canvas adds contrast and takes away an absolutley negligible amount of detail at normal viewing distances, but it does not boost colour saturation as Russ states, so sorry Russ but on this occasion I must say that you are wrong, as the contrasty nature of canvas actually darkens the colour. Darkening a colour is not and has never been the same as colour saturation, as saturation introduces more colour by adding other colours from the rest of the spectrum into your original colour, whilst trying (usually unsuccessfully) to maintain the original luminosity levels of that colour and is why saturating colours tends to block up and lose detail, whereas darkening colours just adds a soupcon of black but retains detail Ė therefore a darker colour is not a more saturated colour, it is simply a slightly darker variation of the same colour.

So, is an image more Ďartyí on canvas than it is on paper? No. Do the buying pubic prefer images mounted on wrapped canvas that donít need a frame and are easy to hang? Yes. Do other photographers and pixel peepers like to see your work on canvas wraps? Not really. Do other photographers and pixel peepers ever buy your work? Very rarely.

So whatís a guy to do? Print for sales and revenue to Joe public, or print to show off how good his work is to other non buying pixel peepers and photographers?

Oh yes and Merry Christmas everybody - I already know what one of my presents is going to be, it's the latest Motorhead album Aftershock - brilliant...! I will be having that playing in the car and turned up to 11 on my way to photograph Neist Point at sunset tomorrow, yes I know, how ever I have managed to wangle a 4 hour pass to go out photographing on my own on Christmas day, as well as postpone the Christmas dinner feast until early evening, I will never know, but I have.. ;)

Dave
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 12:15:39 pm by Dave (Isle of Skye) »
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fdisilvestro

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Re: Photographic Printing on Canvas:Is it "Fine Art" Printing?
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2014, 07:17:41 pm »

Darkening a colour is not and has never been the same as colour saturation

Agree 100% ...

saturation introduces more colour by adding other colours from the rest of the spectrum into your original colour, whilst trying (usually unsuccessfully) to maintain the original luminosity levels of that colour

... but completely disagree with the above. Think of the HSL color model, and saturation has nothing to do with adding other colors of the spectrum (which will alter the hue) nor changing luminosity.

So whatís a guy to do? Print for sales and revenue to Joe public, or print to show off how good his work is to other non buying pixel peepers and photographers?

Print for sales and revenue,

Oh yes and Merry Christmas everybody -

Thanks and the same for everybody
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