Important Information About Fine Prints

March 30, 2017

1) These are highly mature, ultra-high quality inkjet prints on the finest matte paper I've ever seen, except for the dye-sub on metal option (see #9 below). I can also, by special arrangement, make prints on equally fine, glossy inkjet papers. I no longer use RC papers except for special circumstances where lamination is required, rather I only use the best, and very costly, state of the art European papers from a major papermaking company which is over four centuries old. These matte prints are more brilliant than has been possible until recently, with blacker blacks and brighter white both. This allowed me to finally enjoy the various benefits of matte surface papers without sacrificing overall brilliance under typical illumination.

2) My Framing Options document explains at length what we can do about getting your print framed to your satisfaction. I recommend taking the time to read it and understand it.

3) The matting and framing mockups shown here in the Purchase pane are necessarily not exactly to scale! The more panoramic images are shown with overly large mat borders, for example. Please take careful note of the dimensions supplied in the descriptions. I can supply you with a drawing for your framer with my suggested matting dimensions, should you purchase an unmounted print.

4) Note that the simulations shown here are necessarily unable to show the effects of having glazing over the photograph, which causes varying degrees of interference with seeing the image. Both placement of the print and glazing choice (anti-reflection coatings or none) matter, but now is the time to thnk about this and plan the choice of optimal glazing, for best result when the piece is on your wall.

5) I make these prints myself, to order (except for the flush mounted prints, as noted below) and making them is still quite time consuming, so I am unable to guarantee a quick delivery. I will do my best to get your print made and shipped in a reasonable period, but I will require your patience.  Should you have an urgent deadline, please let me know and I’ll do my best to take that into account. It is likely to take several weeks.

6) A presentation intended to avoid the use of an overmat entirely, by using wider, white print borders is available as an option for most sizes. Contact me for details. A consensus seems to be growing that the surest way to guarantee flawless flatness over time in a print presentation, especially where the ambient relative humidity tends to vary greatly at different times of the year, in addition to cold mounting on an aluminum composite sheet, is to avoid the overmat entirely, and to use extra-generous white print borders to create a similar visual effect, often with a wider frame molding. It's a different look but one which I have been favorably impressed by nevertheless, so I would say at this point that it's worth considering, especially for larger pieces in tougher climates. Otherwise, my preferred presentation is with an 8-ply white museum board overmat, like what my print mockups show in the Zoom, Description and Purchase tabs for each large JPEG page on my site.

7) Orders from outside the 50 states of the U.S. may only be made by special arrangement, and will be limited to unmounted prints, rolled, when costly overseas shipments of flat art would otherwise be required.

8) My preferred medium is now a very fine, smooth, 100% cotton, matte paper, using the finest pigment inkset yet made. This Epson UltraChrome HDX 10-color inkset allows for more brilliant results on matte paper and tremendously improved display longevity, by virtue of having improved the matte black ink and cut the fading of the yellow pigment by almost a factor of three. One of the two leading image permanence experts in the world told me that these prints may outlast a van Gogh on display by as much as ten times, given the fragility of Vincent’s red pigments. I'm not assuming it will be that good, but the resistance to fading will almost certainly be on the order of 100 times greater than that of a typical 4-color poster, which you may have seen turn bluish and pale over perhaps a decade or two indoors from loss of yellow and magenta pigments in the ink. It’s very likely that my current prints will look quite beautiful on indoor display for a few centuries under average light levels, but as light levels on indoor display vary a great deal, a projected lifespan must take them into account to be approximately correct. The B&W prints should do substantially better still, because they contain no yellow ink at all and only a very little bit of magenta and cyan to achieve the ideal tint with great precision — the vast majority of the pigment being carbon which doesn't fade at all.

These prints, whether color or B&W, are still quite physically fragile, must always be handled with great care and must be framed with glazing and the framing job done well, but in such cases, if not repeatedly exposed to full sun coming through a window, all of my prints of these types should endure for many generations to come and rival oil paintings in this regard. Thus color photographs can now enjoy a sound basis for being highly valued as works of art, without the historical shortcomings of the medium, aside from the mere facts of being both fragile and capable of being printed more than once. They can even be more durable overall than B&W silver-gelatin photographic prints, in particular because of their improved immunity to high and low relative humidities, to which traditional prints are quite sensitive. Of course that comparison depends on the conditions at the location or locations where the piece will be displayed, but many parts of the U.S., for example, get too wet or too dry for gelatin emulsions to survive undamaged, such as much of the east in winter, or the Mississippi Valley eastward in summer, Hawaii or Florida for most of the year, and so on. Naturaly if a building is reliably climate-controlled, a print will do fine anywhere, but this is not something I want to have to take for granted.

The printing paper is the most beautiful paper surface for printing on that I've ever seen, with a very subtle but very lovely texture which doesn't interfere with the image at all but which does betray its fine cotton pedigree. The color of the white itself is simply superb and a major breakthrough in the development of papers for photographic printmaking, with precisely the ideal, very subtle bit of warmth and very high brightness — with no optical brighteners whatsoever. My signature is done in pencil in the print margin and is arguably the primary way in which a fine print can be deemed to be an "original." Each print is given two numbers on each of the two certificates which I make for it (one certificate for the flush mounted prints). One goes on the back of the mount and the other on the back of the finished, framed print, should the framing cover up the first. Each certificate tells which number the print is in this medium (e.g. pigment inkjet) and which number the print is in this approximate size in this medium. Here are two sample certificates for this medium.

As for the concept of edition limits: I find most uses of the term "limited edition" in photography to be generally absurd and typically disingenuous. No print made by the photographer can be anything but limited in number, and most exist (and will always exist) in far fewer numbers than most edition limits would imply. At the same time, fixed edition sizes, chosen when an image is first offered, do serve quite well to shoot both the artist and the public in the foot when a particular image turns out to be among the most popular. It's a more useful approach to issue a number for each print in a given edition, which I define by medium, such as pigment inkjet. I also add a number which tells how many prints have been made in the size of the print in question. For example a print might be the 6th pigment inkjet print of a given image, but the first one in its particular size. In fact, I don't have the time to make very many prints each year, so my prints are all quite "limited" with respect to their numbers, more so than I would want. You will be hard-pressed to find any photographer who puts more effort into the making of one print than I do, and after nearly a half century of studying this, my skill's not bad either.

9) The flush-mounted option is necessarily a completely different medium from the rest of the prints being offered, as these prints are displayed without glazing. Until further notice all such prints will be ones which are made to order by a commercial printmaker using the ChromaLuxe, dye-sublimation on aluminum process. The standard presentation is a recessed aluminum backframe and no additional float frame around the print and the surface is a mirror-like, ultra-high gloss, in complete contrast to the default fine-art matte paper prints which I make myself. The corners are slightly rounded for safety and durability. Although the tested light fading rate of these prints is only about 25X better than an ordinary poster, the physical toughness of the ultra-glossy print surface makes it a wonderful solution for situations where avoiding the need for glass and even framing itself are desirable. These prints are very light in weight and fairly easily hung. The surface is very tough and can be touched without concern, save for making fingerprints which will need to be wiped off. I will supply you with one of my individually-crafted certificates for the back of the print, which gives a good deal of information about that particular print, but unlike my other prints, it's impossible for me to sign the print itself, and I will never actually see the print, as it will go directly from the commercial printmaker to you. Certificates for this medium will, however, carry my signature instead of my initials as my other certificates do.

 10) All of my prints contain my logo, usually in the lower right corner, but sometimes elsewhere near the bottom of the image as necessitated by image content. In every case I have carefully adjusted the color and tone so as to complement the image well. In some cases, newer images on the site are shown without the logo, only because I've not yet done the considerable job of adding it. I was inspired many years ago to add this unique touch by the chop found in the work of Japanese painters as well as by the conventional practice of European painters who sign in the image itself.