Saturday, October 9, 2010

Photography and fibre paper

Yes, I still use film. Digital certainly has its place, I use my digital point and shoot to document many things but for my art photography, I still use film.

I also love fibre paper. Yes, fibre paper.

Some of the photos I have in my store are fibre prints, but with the digital age around us, I don't think people know what fibre prints even are. I like to shoot with film still and print in a darkroom, myself so my hands can control the outcome of the prints.

Fibre paper is 100% paper where RC (resin coated) paper or paper from a photo lab is coated in plastic. There is quite a difference between printing the two.

Fibre paper dries darker than you think when you develop it in the darkroom. You go through the general developer, water, fixer, wash, then more washes like usual but when drying the prints, you have to lay them image down on a screen shelf over night.

Once they are totally dried, they curl a bit and you must take them to the finishing room and use a hot press to flatten them.

Fibre paper comes in different finishes or temperatures: cold, neutral and warm. Cold paper tends to have a more bluish tint, a cold look to it, hence the name. Neutral paper is just that, neutral. Warm paper has a slight sepia tint to it for lack of a better explanation. Of course all of these papers can be manipulated by which developer and time you choose and if you in fact use a sepia finish or not. So much can be done by hand in the labs and darkroom.

Why use fibre paper? Well its gallery quality and it has a special handmade quality to it as it is never absolutely 100% flat yet lays in a frame well. They do not make this paper anymore, because of the whole digital age, it is less popular and used less. This makes it even more special to me. It is archival quality where prints from the average photo lab fade over time (length of time depends on lab or paper used).

Don't get me wrong, there are so many gorgeous prints out there that have different origins. I just wanted to give the 411 on the paper I use.

Just my rant for today :)

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