It’s time to print your photo art

The concept of fine art photography is anything but new.

It’s time to print your photo art

For decades, many photographers have been taking photos with artistic intent, carefully processing and printing them, and then displaying their works in art galleries alongside revered paintings and sculptures.

In fact, according to Wikipedia, one of history’s most notable figures who first introduced fine art photography into museum collections was Alfred Stieglitz, whose 1907 photograph - The Steerage - was one of the first works of artistic modernism.

What sets fine art photography apart from normal photography or even photo journalism is exactly what sets a painting apart from a photograph – the composition and elements, and the medium.  The photographer is the artist and the photo serves a greater purpose than to support a story or fill a gap on a printed page.

Just like a painter would carefully select a subject, consider the story or emotion he/she intends to portray, and then composes the work of art, so would a fine art photographer do the same. However, the only difference is that the camera is the photographer’s paint and brush, and the paper used to print on is the canvas.

Until recently, fine art photography was only the domain of photographers who had the resources, expertise and patience to take an inspired photograph, manipulate the various elements in the processing lab or in a high-end expensive photo-editing suite, and then print their work on a canvas or piece of fine art paper before framing and mounting it for personal use or resale.

The difference today is that almost anyone has the ability to turn their photographs into “fine art” because technology has made it accessible and relatively affordable to do so.

Get the right toolbox

The first step is to make sure you have decent photo editing software (much of which is freely available on the Internet). Once you’ve edited your image to your satisfaction, you can print it using a decent photo printer that is capable of handling fine art media - like the Epson Stylus Pro R3000 - or you can make use of the services of a professional printing company.

Please keep in mind that there’s so much more choice in photo paper nowadays than just matte or glossy paper when printing photos.

A number of new innovations in printers and printing media mean that you can print eye-catching images on different surfaces such as canvas, fine art or textured painting paper.

Epson in particular has made major strides in the fine art printing market – making it affordable for amateurs and semi-professionals to invest in a good fine art-capable photo printer, and for professional printing companies to offer affordable fine art printing services.

Mad about the medium

Fine art photographers really are spoilt for choice when it comes to the types of paper that they can print on.  And just as in conventional fine art, the medium on which your art is placed plays a big role in the success of the final product.

South African photographers and artists, such as Ginny Fletcher, Mike Castello, Merwelene van der Merwe and students from the Johannesburg School of Photography, have recognised this, and have specified Epson paper products to show off their art to the best possible advantage.  

Jump in

I’m sure many people have flipped through their photo collection at some point and thought to themselves: “That would make a very nice painting.”

Whether you’re a consummate professional or someone who wants to start playing around with printing your photos on fine art media, it’s a great time to dive into what can be a very rewarding and, yes, potentially lucrative hobby.  It may even become a profession.

SIDEBAR

Perfect papers

It’s no longer about having to choose one paper or the other – Epson offers a printing medium to highlight the art of your photographs.

Watercolour paper              

Watercolour paper is a 190gsm radiant white paper for high quality aquarelle impression with matte finish on a paper base.  This is deal for photographs converted to watercolour or brushstroke using a photo editing applications.

Somerset Velvet paper

Somerset has always been the first paper choice for serious artists and printmakers. Since the 1700s and the days of handmade paper, Somerset has enjoyed a reputation for quality that has continued to grow through the years.

Now Epson brings you this old world paper, with an ink jet coating, to meet the quality requirements of the most demanding printmaker. Somerset Velvet for Epson is 100% cotton, acid-free paper that delivers long-lasting prints.

Velvet Fine Art paper

Artists and photographers require a variety of media surfaces for their professional work. Epson’s first cotton paper for the desktop printer market, Velvet Fine Art Paper has a base that is 100% cotton rag, buffered and acid free.

This paper is coated with an enhanced matte coating, giving an exceptional colour gamut and high densitometry. The velvet surface is a favourite of photographers and artists alike, offering a unique museum-quality feel. 

UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper

Artists and professional photographers require true archival print media in a variety of weights and surface textures for their digital fine art and photography.

UltraSmooth Fine Art paper is an acid free, 100% cotton hot press paper that is coated on both sides for extra versatility. This cylinder mould-made product features an ultra smooth finish on two sides that is optimised for Epson’s UltraChrome ink. Offered in a variety of sizes and formats, this fine art paper is not only acid, lignin, and chlorine free, it is also pH buffered with calcium carbonate for a true archival sheet.

PremierArt Water Resistant Canvas

Whether the application is photographic portraiture or fine art reproduction, PremierArt Water Resistant Canvas for Epson will satisfy even the most demanding professional by providing both high image quality as well as a vehicle for enhanced artistic creativity.

Made from a durable blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton, this heavyweight, quality canvas utilises a tight weave that is ideal for photographic and fine art reproductions.

It offers a high resolution coating that is liable enough to withstand stretching without sagging, and displays a subtle texture for a true artistic look and feel. Combined with incredible colour reproduction, PremierArt Water Resistant Canvas for Epson provides a high gloss finish, instant dry versatility, and water resistance to allow for all applications that require the highest image quality and an archival display life.

About Epson

Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader that is dedicated to exceeding the vision of customers worldwide through its compact, energy-saving, high-precisiontechnologies, with a product line-up ranging from printers and 3LCD projectors for business and the home, to electronic and crystal devices.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation,the Epson Group comprises over 70,000 employees in 106 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates.

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About Epson Europe

Epson Europe B.V., based in Amsterdam, is the Group’s regional headquarters for Europe,

Middle-East, Russia, and Africa. With a workforce of 2,400 employees, Epson Europe’s sales for fiscal year 2009 were 1,875million Euros.

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About Epson sub-Saharan Africa

Epson’s operations in sub-Saharan Africa were established in 1997 with headquarters based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, Epson has established a panel of distributors and resellers throughout sub-Saharan Africa who are dedicated to serving Epson’s end-consumers with the highest quality products and levels of support. Epson now manages sales and support in 21 sub-Saharan African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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