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Author Topic: What defines a Fine Art printer?  (Read 20239 times)

BobShaw

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #40 on: March 02, 2015, 12:55:59 am »

I am coming into this late but what are we talking about here? A "printer" being a machine that prints, or a "printer" being a person who operates a machine that prints. To me neither produces fine art. You give them a file, tell them the paper and profile (it is a given that they understand this or you have the wrong printer), and they produce a predictable output.

The "fine art" bit comes from the fine art photographer who puts the emotion into the "art".
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Plateau Light

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #41 on: March 02, 2015, 01:03:31 am »

I am coming into this late but what are we talking about here? A "printer" being a machine that prints, or a "printer" being a person who operates a machine that prints. To me neither produces fine art. You give them a file, tell them the paper and profile (it is a given that they understand this or you have the wrong printer), and they produce a predictable output.

The "fine art" bit comes from the fine art photographer who puts the emotion into the "art".
You are clearly defining a mass market print shop.

enduser

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #42 on: March 02, 2015, 06:47:26 pm »

What helps sell one famous photographer's work is the tall, blond, Swedish female backpacker shop assistants.
 
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #43 on: March 02, 2015, 11:57:43 pm »

where can I get one?
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BobShaw

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2015, 03:05:43 am »

You are clearly defining a mass market print shop.
You are clearly not a fine art photographer.
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JRSmit

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #45 on: March 03, 2015, 06:26:25 am »

I am coming into this late but what are we talking about here? A "printer" being a machine that prints, or a "printer" being a person who operates a machine that prints. To me neither produces fine art. You give them a file, tell them the paper and profile (it is a given that they understand this or you have the wrong printer), and they produce a predictable output.

The "fine art" bit comes from the fine art photographer who puts the emotion into the "art".
Bob, your last statement " The "fine art" bit comes from the fine art photographer who puts the emotion into the "art". " is excactly where the role is of a Fine Art Printmaker (capable person using a printer (machine)) comes into play!
To make sure this "emotion" comes across in the print. In addition it adds this physical experience (total immersion ultimately) to the image (photog's art) inside the digital file. In other words a seamless extension to the art producing process of the photog (or graphics artist) from a digital masterpiece to a printed masterpiece. Bottom line: it is about the emotion being invoked.

That differentiates a fine art printing specialist, like i am, from printshops that just print.
Note that i am not disqualifying such printshops, nor that i am saying that all photo's or illustrations are art.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2015, 03:02:34 pm »

Hi,

In my view, a fine art printer:

- Has a lot of exprience
- Has deep knowledge of substrates and inks
- Has properly adjusted process and uses correct profiles
- Can advice the customer and has feel for customer's needs

I don't think it is necessary that the printer just works on fine art.

I have great respect for printers who share their experience. Many posters here do it, Ernst Dinkla, Geraldo Garcia and Wayne Fox come to my mind…

Best regards
Erik


Bob, your last statement " The "fine art" bit comes from the fine art photographer who puts the emotion into the "art". " is excactly where the role is of a Fine Art Printmaker (capable person using a printer (machine)) comes into play!
To make sure this "emotion" comes across in the print. In addition it adds this physical experience (total immersion ultimately) to the image (photog's art) inside the digital file. In other words a seamless extension to the art producing process of the photog (or graphics artist) from a digital masterpiece to a printed masterpiece. Bottom line: it is about the emotion being invoked.

That differentiates a fine art printing specialist, like i am, from printshops that just print.
Note that i am not disqualifying such printshops, nor that i am saying that all photo's or illustrations are art.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 03:04:20 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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BobShaw

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2015, 09:44:39 pm »

Bob, your last statement " The "fine art" bit comes from the fine art photographer who puts the emotion into the "art". " is excactly where the role is of a Fine Art Printmaker (capable person using a printer (machine)) comes into play!
The quality of the printer (human and machine) in the printing process, is not disputed. it is a science. As such it is predictable. The need to accurately convert a file given to them and print that file is however a process.
The making of that file was the art.
Some photographers give a printer person a less than perfect file and say to fix it. In that case the printer person is doing some of the art. That may be OK in a professional situation but the printer person is performing a different function to "printer person".

I photograph and print my own work.
The output of the fine art photography part is a file.
Any one could drag that file onto the RIP and select the custom made profile that I have for that SPECIFIC printer and paper and it would come out the same way. No art involved.


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Geraldo Garcia

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #48 on: March 04, 2015, 12:07:57 pm »

The quality of the printer (human and machine) in the printing process, is not disputed. it is a science. As such it is predictable. The need to accurately convert a file given to them and print that file is however a process.
The making of that file was the art.
Some photographers give a printer person a less than perfect file and say to fix it. In that case the printer person is doing some of the art. That may be OK in a professional situation but the printer person is performing a different function to "printer person".

I photograph and print my own work.
The output of the fine art photography part is a file.
Any one could drag that file onto the RIP and select the custom made profile that I have for that SPECIFIC printer and paper and it would come out the same way. No art involved.

And that is why you are failing to understand. What you describe is what I call a "commercial printer". He may be an outstanding professional and extremely competent, but he simply prints the files he receives.
Unfortunately, as you surely knows, a file viewed on screen will never be exactly translated to a printed image. The differences may be negligible or monstrous and the causes are many (monitor/paper profiles, image gamut, paper/printer gamut, surface texture and glossiness and many other).

What you do not realize, probably because you do your own printing and everything is clearly under your responsibility, is that most artists (photographers, digital artists, painters...) have no way to know the characteristics and limitations of the printed outcome beforehand and it goes way deeper than simply downloading a profile performing a softproof. The "commercial fine art printer" is someone (at least in my book) who not only understands the technicalities of the printing process, but is versed in art and is able to understand the expectations of the clients and can give them some advice on how to better translate their expectations into reality. It may sound simple, but actually is extremely difficult and time consuming. Some artists may be extremely open and flexible while others are adamant on unrealistic demands. The (so called) "commercial fine art printer" must be part printer, part artist, part teacher and part psychoanalyst.  :D
   
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BobShaw

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2015, 05:43:55 pm »

What you do not realize, probably because you do your own printing and everything is clearly under your responsibility, is that most artists (photographers, digital artists, painters...) have no way to know the characteristics and limitations of the printed outcome beforehand and it goes way deeper than simply downloading a profile performing a softproof. The "commercial fine art printer" is someone (at least in my book) who not only understands the technicalities of the printing process, but is versed in art and is able to understand the expectations of the clients and can give them some advice on how to better translate their expectations into reality. It may sound simple, but actually is extremely difficult and time consuming. Some artists may be extremely open and flexible while others are adamant on unrealistic demands. The (so called) "commercial fine art printer" must be part printer, part artist, part teacher and part psychoanalyst.  :D 
I think we agree. Note that I said a "custom made profile for that SPECIFIC printer (machine)", so you do know the characteristics. If they can't or won't do that you then you can't expect consistent results.
If the printer in your case is doing art then it is no longer completely the photographer's art. The photographer needs to decide if they are happy for someone else to change the photographer's art that they may have worked a long time on into something else. Personally I want the 16bit TIFF I give them printed exactly the way it is.
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Geraldo Garcia

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #50 on: March 06, 2015, 10:56:46 am »

The photographer needs to decide if they are happy for someone else to change the photographer's art that they may have worked a long time on into something else. Personally I want the 16bit TIFF I give them printed exactly the way it is.

Well, that is a bit subjective. If you print your own images you may actually claim to be in control and say that every change was intentional, but we know it will not be entirely true. The printing process frequently imposes changes that you cannot avoid, leaving you only with the option of accepting it or tossing the print. Changes will occur in the process. On the other hand, predicting and counteracting/minimizing this changes when possible is part of the printer's job... so, if the printer is actively working to make your printed image represent more closely your digital file, can you say he is interfering with the artists view?

Note that on a proper "commercial fine art printing environment" nothing should happen automatically the artist is supposed to be present and the printer will show him the problems, suggest the possible alternatives and will only take actions with the artist's consent. Some artist will say "print as it is", some will say "do whatever you think is needed" and some will suggest different approaches. The key factor is: the so called "commercial fine art printer" acts as an advisor and may perform the adjustments, but the final decisions should always come from the artist.

That is why I always say the proper "commercial fine art printing workflow" must have the artist present. Obviously that is unnecessary on reprints and somehow less important when the artist has a "style" the printer is familiarized with. But even so, many artists choose the "do whatever you want" approach, leaving the printer in control. I understand your restrictions to this approach (I would never do it myself), but we may not forget that many famous photographers (actualy, MOST) did that. Ansel Adams was more an exception than an example of the majority.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 10:59:00 am by Geraldo Garcia »
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JRSmit

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #51 on: March 06, 2015, 01:14:35 pm »

Geraldo,

Very true. Simple put it is impossible to print a 16 bit TIF (or any digital image) "the way it is".
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BobShaw

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #52 on: March 06, 2015, 06:23:45 pm »

Changes will occur in the process.
Happy to learn. Please educate me. What changes?
This possibly may define the fine art printer.

I am in a regional area. If I need to print larger than the 3880 does then I need to send the file somewhere. I can't follow it.
I am aware of labs that just say to send the raw file and that may be great work, but it's not my work, and more importably it's not repeatable.
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Stefan Ohlsson

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2015, 07:13:50 am »

Happy to learn. Please educate me. What changes?
This possibly may define the fine art printer.

I am in a regional area. If I need to print larger than the 3880 does then I need to send the file somewhere. I can't follow it.
I am aware of labs that just say to send the raw file and that may be great work, but it's not my work, and more importably it's not repeatable.

We can't control the artist's monitor. But our monitors are calibrated to our printers and viewing booths. So either the artist comes over and look on the proofs that we make before the final print is made, or we send the proofs to the artist who will check these before we print. Almost nothing is left unchanged from the file that we receive from the artist.

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Geraldo Garcia

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #54 on: March 07, 2015, 01:29:35 pm »

Happy to learn. Please educate me. What changes?
This possibly may define the fine art printer.

Well, Bob...

If you really believe you are able to print an image that is absolute match from what you see on the screen with no change whatsoever... well, if that is truly the case I can only think of two scenarios to explain it:

1) You are God and you are just having fun with us.
2) You need to pay a visit to an ophthalmologist AND learn more about the printing process.

No matter which option you choose to believe, I will not be able to educate you out of this. But if you want to educate yourself I may suggest starting with the "from camera to print and screen" videos from Michel and Jeff, the "The Digital Print" book from Jeff and only then move to some deeper and more technical texts about the constitution of the printed image from various processes and how our eye/brain sees things. That is a good starting point but won't help you if you have problems seeing.

This is not a joke (Ok, except the (1) that is clearly a joke... I hope!). I incidentally helped many photographers and artists to discover they had eyesight problems exactly because they were unable to see some things I was pointing them. Lack of perception of out of focus areas is the most obvious problem, but there are other problems regarding color vision and contrast. People don't notice this problems more often than we would believe, so I am not joking. I am also not joking about the inevitability of change during the printing process, as I said the differences may be negligible or monstrous from case to case but they will be there even on the most perfect match you manage to print. If you can't see it... well, then nothing I could say would help you.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 10:00:38 pm by Geraldo Garcia »
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enduser

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #55 on: March 07, 2015, 05:24:48 pm »

What is "Fine art", firstly, and then we can see who does it as defined.
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BobShaw

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #56 on: March 08, 2015, 07:20:37 am »

Hi Geraldo.
I haven't read the book or seen the movie but I have spent two weeks in live in courses with Les Walkling, a world expert on fine art printing who consults to Epson and Canson, and Tony Hewett who was the immediate past Australian Professional Photographer of the Year, and picked up a few points on the things you seem to loosely describe.

The techniques of selective application of colour, sharpness, hardness, brightness etc to create the psychological illusion of three dimensions and emotion in the print along with the selection of the appropriate paper to achieve this are therefore sort of familiar. If these are not done by the photographer then many changes otherwise done by the photographer would have been a waste of time.  I regard all changes to make the file as post production.

The output of all this on a correctly calibrated workflow is a file which is then printed in MiragePrint or similar using a custom profile made for that paper and printer. That is all I want from a print person. Some photographers will not want to do this and should just send the raw file to someone who can, who would then be performing the role of post production.

I have no idea what you are talking about by lack of perception of out of focus areas or "jocking" which must be a new photographic technique as you have used it several times.

But thanks and please keep doing what ever it is you are doing.  
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #57 on: March 08, 2015, 09:52:26 am »

... a world expert on fine art printing...

There you go!  ;)

Expert on fine art printing = fine art printer

jferrari

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #58 on: March 08, 2015, 01:13:16 pm »

Hi Geraldo.
I haven't read the book or seen the movie but I have spent two weeks in live in courses with Les Walkling, a world expert on fine art printing who consults to Epson and Canson...

That's funny because that's exactly what I've been doing all winter long is Less Walking! ;D :D :o
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JRSmit

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Re: What defines a Fine Art printer?
« Reply #59 on: March 08, 2015, 02:54:14 pm »

Bob tell me is your end result a tif file?
If so i can understand your view i think that a print is just a paper copy.
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