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Ambassadors Programme


Clive Booth


A Passion for Print

By Clive Booth, Wednesday November 13, 2013

© Clive Booth

Given my background in graphic design and in particular design for print, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I am so passionate about print in photography. It’s said that more pictures were taken in the last 12 months than in the entire history of photography and in a world that seems more and more disposable there is still plenty of room for the permanence of print.

Print is special, beautiful, tactile and above all - valuable. You only have to look to Christie's or Sotherby's and the auctioning of photographers' work. No-one would pay tens of thousands of pounds for a digital file but they do for a print! With print we have complete control over all aspects of our pictures and after all the effort we take, the years of hard-earned experience, the huge investments in equipment and time, it is the medium of print that is still the ultimate creative expression for the serious amateur and professional photographer.

A print gives us complete control of how we want others to see our work and in a way that is simply impossible to control on-line, given that all monitors are different. The technological advances in digital printing are mind boggling with incredible detail, deep rich blacks, wide colour gamuts and archivable inks and coatings that now mean our work can live on for hundreds of years. In my opinion it is this ancient medium of ink on paper that is still the most reliable way to archive our work. It will outlive CD, DVD, Blue-ray, LTO and most especially hard drives, Even if a digital medium could contain our work for the next several hundred years then how could we control the output and how it would be viewed at the other end?

This week I have been in Vienna, Austria, preaching the gospel according to LFP (large format printing). My particular sermon is on the ‘colour managed workflow’ which includes Canon's new 12-colour imagePROGRAF series and to illustrate its capabilities I exhibited several A1 prints made on my own iPF6450. The digital darkroom is often seen as some kind of dark art but, like any technology, once you understand the basics you can start to really enjoy both its challenges and its rewards.

This will be the first blog post of many, sharing my experiences of digital printing, and in future blogs I’ll discuss exporting files from Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Canon's own 16-bit plugin. Also ‘the colour managed workflow’ including monitor calibration, printer calibration, ICC profiles, daylight balanced viewing systems and of course papers.

I often liken the feeling of excitement of seeing the print emerge from the printer as that of receiving a present at Christmas. It was the great landscape photographer Ansel Adams who, for me, explains the importance of the print so eloquently: “The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance.”