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Author Topic: Recommend top rank B&W master printers, and digital silver gelatin vs. inkjet...  (Read 4569 times)
Ligament
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« on: February 13, 2013, 09:40:00 PM »
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I have posted a similar question to this one regarding printing color images, and this one is specifically for B&W.

I do have some black and white images that I would like printed by a master printer. One who can apply needed photoshop tweaks and then print for me. I shoot medium format film and digital, focusing mostly on street, candids, and some landscape. I process in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Can you recommend a master black and white printer in the USA or Canada who is accepting outside work from amateur photographers such as myself?

I am willing to pay well for the talent.

I'm interested on your opinions regarding digital silver gelatin printing (ala Digital Silver Imaging / Laumont vs. ink jet B&W printing, with associated benefits and cons.

Many thanks.
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neile
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 11:02:56 PM »
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Many folks here will do this kind of inkjet work. I do (http://www.danecreekprinting.com/). Rob does (http://www.lightroom.com/). Mike does (http://www.westlandprintworks.com/). Bob David does, but I don't know his website. I'm betting a few other folks will reply with their websites as well.

There is no point doing a digital silver gelatin print. The only reason for going that route would be to do an alternative process like lith, carbon, cyanotype, etc. Others may disagree with me Smiley

Neil
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Neil Enns
Dane Creek Folio Covers. Limited edition Tuscan Sun and Citron covers are now in stock!
aaronchan
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 06:59:14 AM »
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How big do you want to print?
Jon Cone is the one who came into my mind right away with his K7 ink system
Their price is reasonable and the quality has no match with others.

aaron
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Peter Langham
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 11:40:23 AM »
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Tyler Boley of Custom Digital makes the most beautiful B&W inkjets I have seen.  In his workshop, he presented a huge collection made by a variety of printers and his stood out.  Tyler is seemingly without ego about this and he was presenting the best he could find from many sources. 
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Ligament
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 02:02:24 PM »
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Tyler Boley of Custom Digital makes the most beautiful B&W inkjets I have seen.  In his workshop, he presented a huge collection made by a variety of printers and his stood out.  Tyler is seemingly without ego about this and he was presenting the best he could find from many sources. 

This is a really great recommendation, since I live in Seattle as does Tyler, so this has potential. Thank you!
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 02:14:21 PM »
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I only know Tyler from forums but with that in mind he has always been one of the most knowledgeable contributors on digital b&w printing from all over the country.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

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MHMG
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 03:21:54 PM »
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This is a really great recommendation, since I live in Seattle as does Tyler, so this has potential. Thank you!

+1 for Tyler. Tyler recently donated two of his personal prints to Aardenburg Imaging & Archives. One was an exquisitely subtle color print made on Arches Cold Press (not the inkjet coated variety, so a very customized ink ramp was required) and one was a gorgeous B+W print (made with a custom-blended set of monochrome inks) .  Truly exceptional work.  Also, when a master printmaker can discuss the options directly with the client, it makes for a much more personal collaborative effort, so the fact that you are both in Seattle is a real plus as well.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 05:02:47 PM by MHMG » Logged
Jim Kasson
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2013, 03:29:04 PM »
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Mac Holbert/Nash Editions?  Or is that too obvious?

http://www.nasheditions.com/
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Schewe
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2013, 04:25:08 PM »
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Actually, Mac has left Nash and moved to Ashland, Oregon where he co-founded The Image Collective (with Robert Saladoff & David Mathews). I couldn't recommend Nash at the moment...

I'm pretty sure Mac still prints for select clients...but he doesn't have a web site for solicitation. You can try to contact him through the Image Collective web site.
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BobDavid
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 08:35:14 PM »
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I print for several well-known photographers across the country. I also specialize in restoring antique photos and photographing dogs. Go figure. I can be reached through my website www.topdogimaging.net. I'm always happy to listen to a particular artist's needs and concerns. I often begin a relationship by offering a free sample of my capabilities. Sometimes in business, it's worth putting yourself out there to win trust.
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Paul Roark
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 04:05:16 PM »
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For the the most lightfast inkjet prints, specify maximum carbon content, matte paper, and no third party color including blended gray inks. See http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/ for comparative fade testing.  While ultimate longevity is not the most important factor for most prints, where it is critical, do the research.  As a benchmark, see test ID#144 (click on AaI_20091208_SN003Lf) and note the average delta-e of 0.3 after 120 Mega Lux hours of exposure.  Not all 100% carbon pigment inks and prints do quite as well as this, but the real trouble may be from the colors in gray inks that can fade differentially, causing a print tone shift, sometimes to greenish.  It takes a lot of good R&D to match the fade rates of color pigments that are used to cool carbon, with HP Z3200 gray/PK pigments probably being on top of that list and what I use.  Also note that it generally takes more color to cool carbon on glossy paper than on the best matte papers.

Paul
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http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 09:51:11 PM by Paul Roark » Logged
MHMG
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 07:35:40 AM »
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For the the most lightfast inkjet prints, specify maximum carbon content, matte paper, and no third party color including blended gray inks. See http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/ for comparative fade

Since the OP has asked about digital silver gelatin prints, just a quick "heads up" that they are not always as lightfast as many have assumed. Although light-induced fading of chemically toned silver gelatin prints is widely considered to be a non issue, the fact that most of the silver halide B&W papers, both RC and fiber base also include optical brighteners nowadays means that a formal light fastness test was long overdue. So, last year I decided to put some of the new "digital silver gelatin" prints through some light fade testing.

The results aren't in the Aardenburg lightfastness database yet because I want to release the results of these samples along with a report about this digital silver gelatin project in an upcoming newsletter that I still have as yet to write (me bad).  That said, the results I'm seeing to date have really surprised me hence the "heads up" in this post.  These digital silver papers show rapid and significant burnout of the OBAs and subsequent hue shifting of the image despite "protection" within the swellable gelatin polymer binder.  The RC sample reached the AaI&A conservation display rating limits in just 7 megalux hours of light exposure. Ouch! The fiber base versions do better but the ratings are still going to fall in a moderately light fast range (i.e. less than 50megalux hours).   There may also be some additional discoloration occurring in the non chemically toned RC sample, but I still have to study that issue more closely.  B&W RC papers, btw, are generally not selenium or sepia toned because that extra step somewhat defeats their primary RC purpose of rapid processing convenience. I have samples in test of both RC and fiber base digital silver prints in three variants, ie., selenium 1:20 toned, sepia toned, and untoned. The Sepia toned Fiber based sample is the most lightfast, but still susceptible to light exposure on display due to the amount of embedded OBAs in the media.

Anyway, the point of my post today is just to reinforce Paul's comments that high quality pigmented inkjet inks, especially the high carbon content monochrome sets printed on appropriately matched media, will compete very well and in some cases easily exceed the long term display durability of "traditional silver gelatin" prints.

best,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 11:27:39 AM by MHMG » Logged
Ligament
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 11:48:35 AM »
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Wow, I so love the expertise of you folks on LuLa, what a wonderful resource.

I'm visiting Tyler Boley in Seattle this evening, in fact, thanks to your suggestions!

I've also sent off a test print to Elevator in Toronto to check out the Lambda B&W gelatin prints which I heard are excellent on one of the large format photography forums.

Mr. Cone's services look great, as well as the other suggestions.

Thanks again for all the wonderful suggestions, feel free to keep them coming... Smiley
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deanwork
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2013, 03:04:26 PM »
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I went over to one of my client's home last week and they had two 20x24 Ansel Adams prints hanging up in a moderately bright room. They were exquisite vintage prints matted and framed behind glass, signed by the photographer and were circa 1950s vintage. These prints were matted so you could clearly see the white paper base of the gelatin silver surface. In both of these prints the paper base had grayed significantly. It was so obvious that I suggested my friends take them down immediately. All white areas in the print were equally effected. These prints had always been in a temperature controlled, low humidity environment, with modest but daily exposure to daylight in someone's living room. They did not have uv glass but I was still pretty shocked at how far they had grayed out. I believe they were both purchased from Light Gallery in Ny in the mid 1970s. So yes, even 1950s prints processed with the most exact standards suffer from this oba burnout. This was the most direct evidence I've seen of that, although I've seen it even in my own work from the late 1970s.

john

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deanwork
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 07:36:47 PM »
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Well Aardenburg ID-144 is an Ebony tri-tone that Roark is marketing.  What is the point in testing that?

Tyler's prints going back to his quads of a decade ago and certainly his K7 work blows away ANY tri-tone bw print of any kind. One,  because he uses a more refined workflow, and especially because he is a master printer of the highest order for over 25 years and knows how to combine ink dilutions and profiling in a way that almost nobody has the patience to do. Anyone who has seen his own landscape work knows that.

Now for the life of me I can't figure out who in this world would invest in a dedicated black and white inkset that comprised only three values? WTF? I can do that easily and better here with my HP Z, the Canon 8300 with True Black and White, or even an Epson 9890 with Epson inks and Studio Print or QTR, all with excellent permanence if I wanted and still have the color inks to use as toners or print full color too out of the same machine.

And as far as that diluted Ebony inkset is concerned I would definitely fear that the stuff would break down and become separated from it's base and clog the hell out of my large format printers anyway. Not worth the risk in my opinion. I tried that ebony ink once in an Epson 9600 and it clogged the hell out of it. I was afraid I had ruined the  print head.

john
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jdoyle1713
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2013, 07:37:57 PM »
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Ligament

Go see Tyler ..he is local to you..as a supplier to All of these folks mentioned he will not let you down..I like Mark have several of Tyler's images in my own home I also have Mr John Deans in my Home and many others..my office is filled with prints from many others.. When I am asked this question I usually try my best to pair folks up with a local printmaker.. I will tell you there are a few other in Seattle to and knowing Tyler if he feels he can't do it and some else can better he will tell you who to see.. Good luck with you project.

Cheers
Jim Doyle
Shades of Paper
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MHMG
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2013, 09:45:47 PM »
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Well Aardenburg ID-144 is an Ebony tri-tone that Roark is marketing.  What is the point in testing that?
john

See also #141 in the Aardenburg database, another Eboni full carbon (but as you noted only 3 channel) sample. ID#144 was protected with Premier Print Shield, while ID141 is the same ink set on another paper(HN photo rag) submitted by another AaI&A member, it's now at 160mlux hours in test, and without additional spray overcoat. It is also showing average delta E less than 1. Likewise, take a look at ID# 105. This is Cone Piezotone Sepia tint (piezotone was 4 channel as I recall, now superseded by K6 and K7 formulations), also with delta E less than 1 at 180 MLux hours.

The point of testing all these samples on various papers was that all of them are truly full carbon pigment, no other colored pigments being used. As such, theory said that they should be exceptionally light fast, but theory needed to be proven. Hence, my willingness to test them even if some of them are a little out of the consumer inkjet mainstream market. The test results demonstrate that full carbon pigment ink durability has been proven quite well with these three samples. Now consider ID#146.  It is also Cone Sepia K6 (6 channel), but it reached AaI&A Conservation limits at only 6 megalux hours because the choice of media had high OBA content that caused rapid hue shift. Had nothing to do with the robustness of the inks or how many channels were used.  Moral of this story is that even a bullet proof "full carbon" ink set will be badly undermined if it's used on a poor choice for media. Hence, the importance of testing materials as a whole system, not just as inks alone or paper alone, etc.

OEM pigmented B&W driver modes are also proving to be quite robust, but definitely not as light fade resistance as full carbon pigmented inks. The problem of course is that not everyone wants a warm tone all the time, and this is where other colored pigments necessarily have to come into the picture (sorry the pun), either by laying down "pure" colored pigments in other printer channels or by blending directly into the monochrome "gray" inks, or both. For example, Cone "Selenium" and "Neutral" are color-blended gray inks, whereas the OEM printer manufacturers' B&W printing modes undoubtedly use some color pigments blended to make their photo gray ink channels but they also allow additional cyan, magenta, and yellow pigments to be laid down by other channels along with the photo grays when using their B&W modes to achieve various cool to warm tints chosen in the printer driver settings.

Bottom line: Pure carbon is the ultimate in stability as Paul indicated, but If you're printing with inkjet and you want dead neutral, near neutral, split tones, or other cooler hues for your B&W imagery you are going to be using a system that involves blended color pigments or dyes one way or another. You won't get to neutral/near neutral with pure carbon pigment, so you will be making some tradeoff for initial image aesthetics versus the ultimate level of ink fade resistance. For most people including myself that choice is perfectly acceptable, particularly when it's done with an informed understanding of the trade-offs.


cheers,
Mark
 

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 09:48:24 PM by MHMG » Logged
TylerB
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 01:59:00 AM »
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I'd like to add that part of what makes Mark's work invaluable, is that knowing a particular combination of materials with a given piece, now how it should be cared for, stored, and presented is much more informed from these tests. I think this is an under appreciated but important part of this work.
Tyler
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deanwork
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2013, 11:19:59 AM »
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Absolutely important,  testing on various third party media, and the fact that he is in most cases doing more than one test of the same situation sent in by different end users is what science is all about. Not to mention you can see for yourself where and how the changes occur overtime. NOBODY has attempted to do that before and it is critical I think.

Mark, why do you think that the HP Vivera gray inks are so damn durable and practically neutral at the same time ( I add a hair of toning to them for perfect neutral). I know they are using some kind of uv encapsulation.... Hp did all this amazing r & d and now they are just going to flake out on us and work with "designers".

When I look at my test results of Vivera that I sent in a couple of years ago, they are doing about as good as the Carbon Sepia set ( though not as dimensional as K7, which is the reason I use them too ). Also I must say that with my Canon and TBW I'm not using any added color composite inks to the mix at all and so far the Canon bw prints are holding up extremely well also and there is no metamerism failure under any light condition.

john



I'd like to add that part of what makes Mark's work invaluable, is that knowing a particular combination of materials with a given piece, now how it should be cared for, stored, and presented is much more informed from these tests. I think this is an under appreciated but important part of this work.
Tyler
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Ligament
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2013, 02:33:03 PM »
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I wanted to give the group an update on my visit with Tyler Boley, owner of www.custom-digital.com here in Seattle.

It was really an amazing educational experience. Tyler invited me into the studio and gave me a very thorough tour including all the various paper types he uses, and also does not use, and why. Went over various pigment set possibilities with me including the standard color pigments as well as Jon Cone's pigments.

What was even cooler, he showed me the print collection from the gathering of master printers described in detail here:
http://www.custom-digital.com/2011/05/printmakers-gathering-at-spe/
http://www.piezography.com/PiezoPress/blog/piezography-and-food/piezography-ink-workshop/

This was a unique and highly valuable educational experience, seeing prints from other master printers from around the country. Tyler's own prints stood at the top of the heap in comparison to the others, all of which were wonderful.

I've already submitted an image to Tyler for printing, and we will be reviewing the proof tonight! thanks everybody!
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