Nov 132013
 

There are so many puns I could have used for the title of this blog post but I’ve been a good boy and refrained.

What you are about to read has been a long time coming. During my digital printing career, the best part of fourteen years now, there’s been one issue that’s bugged me throughout and just doesn’t want to go away.

In fact, it only seems to become more prevalent.

It occurred to me that the best thing to do in this situation would be to empower you, the art world, with the appropriate information and let you decide for yourselves.

So, here’s what’s been bugging me, along with what I know about it:

The word Giclée.

In the art world, Giclée has become a widely adopted term to describe inkjet printing of the highest quality — so much so that it’s even in my computer’s dictionary.

In galleries, websites and portfolios around the globe you’ll see it misspelled and mispronounced like no other as people try to get comfortable with this tricky word.

Even Photogravure and Daguerrotype (names for other processes) seem easier to say than Giclée.

Paul Kenny, O Hanami edition prints for Chris Beetles Fine Photographs

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — ‘O Hanami’ by Paul Kenny

A Little Bit of History…

The original intentions behind the use of giclée are totally innocent and honest.

Back in the Nineties, a famous established American printer called Jack Duganne was at the bleeding edge of digital inkjet printing technology.

In making his beautiful prints, Jack was among the very first people to offer inkjet printing commercially to the discerning fine art world.

But he needed a name for his process, a name that would sound elegant and really pop

“The French language sounds good”, thought Jack (who told me this himself many years ago), so he picked up an English-French dictionary and looked up the word for squirt or spurt — after all, that’s what happens when the printheads fire ink onto paper, right?

And, lo, Giclée was born and we’ve battled with its spelling and pronunciation ever since.

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — From North Northwest Beginnings by Julian Calverley

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — From ‘North Northwest Beginnings’ by Julian Calverley

What’s Wrong with Giclée…?

It sounds nice doesn’t it? And, in a way, it is.

Unfortunately, you only have to speak to a Frenchman (or, as happened recently, a Swiss friend) about your Giclée process to be sure of a drenching as a result of the coffee they’ve just spat all over you…

Why? Because, and there’s no easy way to say this, in French slang giclée means ejaculation.

In his first week working with me, Antoine (a wonderful French assistant) saw an email drop into his inbox entitled ‘Giclée Print Order’.

Through his tears of laughter, strong French accent and slightly broken English, he finally composed himself and managed to utter the now legendary words:

“Hey, Man, we’re going to be really tired after making these prints, no…?”

HP Designjet Z3200 Service Station

So, Which Name Should We Use..?

If you’ve ever worked with me or downloaded my Price List, you’ll know that I only ever use Giclée in brackets like this:

(sometimes known as Giclée)

Digital Inkjet Prints of the Highest Quality doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, so I like to call them what they are:

Archival Pigment Prints (APP)

Take note, however, that I only use this name because that’s what they are — archival and made with pigment inks.

Be sure of your choice of paper and ink before you adopt the name to describe your own printing methods.

Liam Murray Caravan

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — Liam Murray’s ‘Caravan’

Spread the Word…

Once you’ve digested the information above, decide for yourself.

If, like me, you feel that Giclée should no longer be used to describe high quality inkjet printing, then spread the word — PLEASE!

Tell everybody who needs to know and, hopefully, we can make a difference…

Oct 092013
 

It’s always a treat when I can be involved in a body of work over a long period of time, seeing its progression and printing the resulting exhibition.

I’ve worked with Damien Wootten for many years now — nine, in fact. During that time, he’s visited several North East locations repeatedly for the last eight years to form the series, Coastal Retreats.

Coastal Retreats, Caravan by Damien Wootten

Mainly working in and around Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Damien’s immersion in the area really shines through.

As he describes:

“At times everyone needs somewhere to retreat to, and I’m sure — like many — my destination seems to be the coast, and being a photographer it seems inevitable that I take my camera with me. I’m very familiar with the North East coast of England and parts of it are deserted, wild and beautiful — but it is the more ordinary, everyday and less attractive areas that interest me more photographically.”

Coastal Retreats, Family by Damien Wootten

Local Family, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland

Damien continues:

“I have never questioned too deeply why I have chosen these locations to work in and accepted it as an impulse and a need. Hopefully these images have something more to give than just to show the surface of things and offer something worthwhile and contemplative to say about our place within our landscape. These coastal areas seem to symbolise that – where the man-made reaches the edge of things. This is where the natural environment takes over, restraining human encroachment.”

Coastal Retreats, Man by Damien Wootten

I love the Northernness of ‘Coastal Retreats’, a feeling that I’m sure prevails as a result of Damien living in the area along with his seemingly unconditional persistence!

Anyone who lives in the wild and woolly North East will know exactly what it feels like to stand in many of the scenes Damien’s captured, not least a biting one such as this:

Coastal Retreats, Snow Sea by Damien Wootten

Printing this series has been a true pleasure — I hope all those who manage to see the show between 12th October and 2nd February at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland enjoy it as much as I have.

The photographs are all 40x40cm Archival Pigment Prints on 60x60cm Museo Silver Rag 300gsm using HP Vivera Pigment Ink.

Feb 082013
 

Next Tuesday 12th February sees the opening of Looking at the View at Tate Britain.

This thematic display looks at continuities in the way artists have framed our vision of the landscape over the last 300 years. Comprised entirely from the Tate Collection, over seventy works by more than fifty artists will be included, with familiar names such as J.M.W. Turner and Tracey Emin making an appearance.

Among such luminaries will be a long-standing client of mine, Fiona Crisp. Tate will be showing a print I made for Fiona, ‘Norwegian Series #3 2007’…

Fiona Crisp's Norwegian Series No.3 from 'Look at the View' on show at Tate Britain, London

Fiona Crisp, Norwegian Series #3 2007

As Fiona describes in an accompanying article for The Guardian:

Norwegian Series #3 2007 is from a cycle of four photographic works taken from a rural house high in the mountains of central Norway in the summer of 1999. The image holds no clue as to the time of day it was made but there is a quality to the light — or more accurately, to the differentiation of the interior and exterior light — that is hard to place. All the photographs in the series were taken at different points during the night when, in addition to a lack of darkness at this latitude, there are subtle shifts in colour cast that slightly nudge your perception off kilter.

‘Looking at the View’ also includes the work of Wolfgang Tillmans, Julian Opie, Tacita Dean, Carol Rhodes and Lisa Milroy.

The show runs until 2nd June with free entry.

Jan 312013
 

I wonder if you’ve seen the work of Kelvin Okafor?

His sensational, life-like pencil drawings are confounding art critics and gallerists the world over.

Connoisseurs have been scratching their heads and even mistakenly cataloguing his work as photographs; photorealism taken to the extreme.

As many of you know, I’ve worked with a multitude of artists over the years, crafting their artwork into beautiful editions.  Indeed, as pencil drawings are a speciality of mine, it would perhaps be the ultimate challenge to work with Kelvin on faithfully documenting such beautiful drawings…

Pencil drawing of Amy Winehouse by Kelvin Okafor

Pencil drawing of Amy Winehouse by Kelvin Okafor

Kelvin’s drawings also put me in mind of Chris LaPorte, who I wrote about here.

Jan 262013
 

Well, we’re now firmly in the saddle of 2013 — I hope it’s started well for you…

I’ve had a great start to the year crafting prints for, among others, Messrs Germain and Kenny.

Following on from the Platinum printing successes of last year, I have also been making Digital Negatives in preparation for Richard Freestone of 139 Printroom to work his magic.

Towards the end of last week, you may like to know that I revised and updated my Price List…

Jack Lowe Studio 2013 Price List

It contains new pages dedicated to specific areas of printing:

  • Photographers’ Portfolios
  • One-off Printing, Editions & Exhibitions
  • Awards, Competitions & Degree Shows

The latter includes specific information on the upcoming Association of Photographers Annual Awards and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.

Please feel free to download your Jack Lowe Studio 2013 Price List and familiarise yourself with the range of services I can offer you.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with imagery from three photographers’ portfolios I’m delighted to have printed over the years.

Originally, I was going to choose just one from each photographer but I couldn’t do it!  So, here’s two from each for your delectation:

— Julian Germain

Launderette Kiss by Julian Germain

Launderette Kiss by Julian Germain

Julian Germain, Generations, Cynthia Rowe 68

From ‘Generations’ by Julian Germain

— Jonathan Knowles

Reading the Riots by Wieden & Kennedy for The Guardian

‘Broken Britain’ by Jonathan Knowles for The Guardian

Underwater Beauty by Jonathan Knowles

Underwater Beauty by Jonathan Knowles

— Simon Winnall

Karlo by Simon Winnall

Karlo by Simon Winnall

Dance by Simon Winnall

Dance by Simon Winnall

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