THE FINE ART PRINT
Our 'state-of-the-art' printing technology enables us to create our own prints, in-house, but to standards previously only produced by fine art print shops. The array of inks and papers available to us today allows us to create prints of unprecedented longevity - much greater than traditional photographic print techniques.
You'll hear the term Giclée printing used interchangeably with ink-jet printing. Its a term coined by someone, possibly French, to describe the method of laying down ink on paper to create a photograph. I believe the literal translation is 'to spurt', which of course is what ink-jet printers to - spurt, or squirt out ink. Whatever you call it, the quality that's available now if far superior to anything we've been able to produce in the past.
At the core of this new technology is the ink set we use in our large format professional printers. They call it UltraChrome HDR and it is an 11 colour ink (including a photo black and a matte black) set that is made with pigments rather than dyes. The advantage of pigment ink is that it's very stable and less prone to fading than the typical dye-based inks found in consumer quality ink-jet printers. A whole new technology of printer equipment needed to develop to take advantage of these inks. Not only are the colours richer and brighter than ever before, but the new set includes varying shades of black to create incredibly rich detail in Black & White photography.
Ink is no good without some sort of medium to print on. Paper has been around for thousands of years, but the selection available for Fine Art Printing, especially of photography, has never been better. Here at Mike Guilbault Photography we offer three different qualities of media. Consider them our Good, Better and Best.
Our Signature Paper
The standard paper that most people are familiar with when producing photographs usually has a glossy or semi-gloss finish. We prefer a paper that's described as "Lustre". The reason we call this our Signature brand is that the quality is outstanding, resulting in a print that we still consider 'Signature Worthy' and will outlast a traditional photograph many times over. We also offer a 'Matte' finish paper in the same Signature quality with even greater longevity.
Our Fine Art Heirloom Paper
This "Cold Press" paper has a beautiful textured matte finish that is 100% cotton fibre, pH buffered, no OBA's and is acid free for incredible longevity. Up until now, matte papers didn't have the vibrance that more traditional types of glossy papers had to reproduce the subtle changes of colour in photographs. The ability for this paper to get a deep, rich black, also know as DMax, is unprecedented. And the natural tone of the paper is pleasing for many styles of photography, including landscapes, colour portraiture and beautifully toned Black & Whites. Fine Art Photographer, Vincent Versace, sums why I like this paper so much in this video.
The Master's Gallery Canvas
Currently, our Canvas of choice is made by a company called Breathing Color out of the USA. There are few products around that match the tonality and longevity of this beautiful canvas. It stretches beautifully and can be finished with either a Satin or Matte "Museum Grade" finish to extend it's already long lifespan. This award winning canvas is a 19 mil, 450gsm matte poly-cotton canvas. It's also archival certified and OBA-free. This canvas has been archival certified to last over 100 years.
Of course there are other papers and substrates available and as we experiment with them we'll add them to our répertoire. One that we're quite excited about is the Epson's Hot Press Natural, which has the same characteristics as the Cold Press, but with a very smooth, rather than textured, finish, as well as the new Exhibition Matte Canvas Natural and a range of papers and canvas by Hahnemühle, a 425 year old paper company from Germany.
A NOTE ABOUT OBA'S
OBA's are Optical Brightening Additives that are added to papers and canvas to make them, well, brighter! The problem with OBA's is that over time, especially when exposed to harmful UV light (sunlight, for example), can deteriorate and change colour, usually yellow, over time. Our Fine Art 'Heirloom' paper and Master Gallery Canvas are both OBA free to ensure colour fidelity and image longevity. This is one reason we recommend them so highly.
Ink and paper alone can't create a print. As mentioned above, we invested a substantial amount into new printing technology to create the quality of prints we are producing. The printers are the Epson Stylus Pro 4900 large format printer and the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 wide format printer. These printers, along with the ink set already discussed and the Epson Signature Worthy papers make a complete Fine Art printing system. It's their most advanced printing system to date. The 4900 allows us to produce prints up to 17" wide and virtually any length and the 9900 up to 44" wide. I recently printed a panorama that was eight feet long! The printer also allows us to print on other media, such as Fine Art Canvas.
These recent investments are leading edge and provide unmatched quality and print longevity, previously out of reach to the modern photographer.
All of our prints are available three ways. The print itself, the print with mat, or matted and framed. The prints we have on display at our gallery are priced with the frame they are in. However, we do have a fairly large selection of other frames available to suite your tastes and decor. You can find more information about our framing service here.