Renaissance Press Photogravure

Digital Negatives

For those who have struggled to match prints to a monitor, I have information that might be a surprise and a relief: It is impossible. Your monitor does not reliably detect slight variations in room light. Most calibrated viewing boxes do not remotely resemble gallery, museum, home or, indeed, any type of real world lighting. No two hand crafted prints are the same. Lay two prints you believe to be identical side by side in average room light and compare them. Switch the prints. The comparison has changed.

A photographer should be able to approximate what is seen on the monitor. It is impossible for a back-lit monitor to match a reflective paper print. The only thing that matters is the final print. I do not want to compare a print to my monitor or an inkjet proof and try to squeeze it into the parameters of a different medium. I prefer to be guided by the monitor and the experience of decades of study, research and print making. There is no best film, best inks, best conditions or best method of creating digital negatives or prints. Best practices are what work best for you.

I began using and teaching the inkjet film system I developed twelve years ago. It is akin to developing your own film rather than dropping it off at a lab. The system incorporates Quad Tone Rip (QTR), a dedicated set of black and white Piezography inks, a measuring device and an Epson Printer. I did not invent anything. I simply put together what I thought to be the best available. The process is not terribly complex but does requires full attention. It does not provide a starter curve to be built upon or automatic calculating software. It does require the artist’s understanding of the process.  

In early 2018 my resesarch assistant Svava Tergesen and I worked for five weeks testing a variety of calculators, equipment and methods of making film for contact printing in an attempt to simplify and enhance our work. We used densitometers, an i1 spectrophotometer, an old Kodak Model 1 densitometer ($40.00 on eBay), and a very simple gray scale visual comparator. The results were conclusive: There are many ways to get really great results.It will never be as simple as editing an image, pushing a button and generating film.

Renaissance Press workshops comprehensibly cover the technique of making beautiful inkjet negatives and positives. The information is presented clearly and concisely. Detailed handouts accompany all workshops.  Post workskhop consultation is readily available. Private workshops can be arranged throughout the year.


Contact Information

Paul Taylor
Ashuelot, NH 03441
tel. (603) 239-9990

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