I’m the kind of artist who prefers quality over quantity and I’ve always been that way when selecting materials. It was always my plans to develop a premium print line for my photography but it was having the platform with which to launch the line which I was lacking. Now with the use of a custom dedicated server for lukezeme.com we are able to host any such gallery or shop with ease. The new server is lightning fast as well as the upgrade to my actual website there will be room for the line to evolve.
I have been researching my choice of premium papers for a while now and I am very close to narrowing it down to 3 choices for you. There are so many beautiful papers here and all of them are considered premium papers in qualities such as materials used (mostly cotton papers, also known as rag papers), surface quality, sharpness, weight, as well as the colour reproduction and sharpness.
Paper, some info and history for you:
You can pretty much make paper out of anything organic that has cellulose in it as the cellulose acts like a glue in paper manufacture. I have experience in paper conservation and as a practical experiment we made some papers for fun and it was a great learning experience. Peoples and cultures throughout history have made papers in many different ways and some of them include papyrus, rice and silk papers. It was the Chinese who actually developed paper back in the 2nd century BC and it spread to Europe via the silk road in the 10th century. The most common used papers today though are wood pulp and rag papers. Rag papers are actually made from cotton but received their name as they were made from beaten down rags at one stage in history. Rag paper is superior to wood pulp paper in durability but it is a lengthier production process and hence only used in premium papers today. Your office types of papers will most certainly be made from wood.
Here is a List of the 11 papers I trialled from Australian Printers using Global Papers:
-Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl
-Hahnemuhle Photo Rag
-Canson Photo Rag
-Canson Arches Aquarelle
-Canson BFK Rives
-Michaels Premium Gloss
-Michaels Premium Satin
-Ilford Gold Silk
-Centurion Metallic Pearl
-Museo Silver Rag
The results are outstanding and have tangible qualities that have to be seen and touched to truly appreciate them. Some of them have a very fibrous and heavy feel to them like those premium watercolour papers that hold their shape when you lift them up from one corner. Whilst others are slim, yet sturdy, and smooth to touch. I am slowly narrowing down my choices based on what I think can best represent my artwork and I essentially want to select one premium paper in each category, those being Satin, Matte and a thick watercolour paper. For me Satin is enough of a gloss in photographic paper for my tastes and anything with more gloss than that just distracts from viewing the image which is the prime purpose in my artwork.
Why did I print 11 of the same image ???
So that I can compare all the properties under a controlled test. HDR images have slightly more demanding requirements of a paper as they push the limits of tone and colour ranges and I want to make sure that I am getting papers that can stand up to my standards 😉
At this stage the front runners for me are:
Premium Smooth satin type paper: Iflord Gold Silk, Canson Baryta, Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl and Museo Silver Rag. It is hard to separate these four as they are all equally excellent !
Premium Thick Fibrous Watercolour type Paper: Canson Arches Aquarelle
Premium Thick Rag Matte Paper: Canson Photo Rag, Hahnemühle Photo Rag and Canson BFK Rives.
I hope to have these available for your selection as soon as possible and plan on offering about 5 sizes ranging from 8×12 to 40×60 inches. 60 inch prints will be nice addition to my already massive line up which can be seen here in my print shop
Thanks, Luke Zeme