The Fine Art Print

Like many bloggers, I’ve been absent from my own blog. I had to find out who I wanted to be. I can only say that I took a wrong turn into gear on my last post, which has been removed. Happily I’ve been out making photographs. Nice to be back where I belong: Art, Composition, and the Fine Art Print. I know this is a small club, but I don’t really care. We all have to do what we have to do. :^}

While the tools and gear that dominate the Internet are important, they are just a means to an end for Fine Art. When I play music, no one cares what brand of trumpet I have. They just want to know if I can make music, and whether they’ll enjoy it or not. They want to feel something – joy, excitement, humor, sadness, whatever. It has to succeed on an emotional level, and for some, on an intellectual level as well.

In the pursuit of Art in Photography, success happens (or not) in the Fine Art Print. It is the final presentation or the performance of the piece.

Each step in the process of creating the Fine Art Print is essential. I have a whole system developed around those steps. At the end of the day though, if the Print doesn’t excite, it’s not a success.

There are all kinds of photography, and while most would certainly want their work in print of some kind, most photographs won’t end up matted and framed, or as Art in the tradition sense. It may still be Art of course. When I worked in the printing business, hardly anything was matted or framed. Most all images were destined for a magazine, book, or some kind of advertising. They would never be a Fine Art Print, which is Ok.

The Creation of a Fine Art Print

Having worked with photoshop for many years, it’s easy to think that once final editing is complete, everything else is a piece of cake. As I found out some years ago, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some of the many issues that I consider when the printing starts.

1. Paper/Canvas selection (Textures, Whiteness, Coatings and Permanence ratings)
2. Printer accuracy/Profiles – will the printer produce an accurate representation.
3. Matting – Cutting mats and assembly
4. Archival issues with all materials (Mats, Foamboard, Tapes, Corners, Dust Cover)
5. Framing (every print doesn’t necessarily work with every frame)
6. Glazing/Glass issues (Coatings, Acrylic, shipping issues)

If you’re thinking that this is a whole other ball game, you would be correct. These are actually two separate disciplines that must be mastered – Printing and Framing.

These days I do all of these myself, and the road was not easy. They both have their pitfalls, and frustrations.

In Conclusion

1. I have a feeling this is why most photography doesn’t become Fine Art. It has a very high level of difficulty, and the learning curve is huge.

2. This is why a Fine Art print normally can’t be sold inexpensively. Devoting this much time to the print means that high volume is not possible. (Unless the Artist can afford to hire lots of staff to help)

There are lots of average prints. There are far fewer Fine Art Prints.