I am lucky enough to own a photograph by Sebastiao Salgado.

The image quality and his choice of paper/surface has always been the defining standard for me. Salgado reproduces his images on silver gelatin paper. This is perfect for monochrome delivery because of its ability to hold clarity and depth in the blacks and provide superb surface texture that gives a sensual tactility and quality in the reflected light.

Up until now, for my own images, I have worked with Fotospeed PF Lustre (270gsm) that has been serviceable, both for colour and monochrome, and acceptable as the surface for my RPS Distinction portfolio submissions to date.

As part of my work on Surfaces and Strategies I have explored the use of Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 paper but with variable results, particularly in relation to the colour of the paper (which diminishes the blacks to a sludge colour) and its absorbency that saps up the ink. I have also had difficulty getting a consistent profile for both soft proofing and printing.

My tutor suggested I look for a “rich and sumptuous” matt paper to display my images for my local Exhibition. After consultation with a number of fellow photographers and a print specialist I have experimented with Fotospeed Natural Soft Textured Bright White 315 made by Hahnemuhle. This paper has a fine riven textured surface but it does seem to reduce the clarity and intensity in the blacks due, I believe, to its highly absorbent nature.

I intend to use the prints I have made on this paper for my local Landings 2018: Developing Constructs Exhibition but afterwards will experiment with a Bright White Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta 325gsm paper – which is a gloss paper but does not have the “plastic” finish of early gloss versions.

So, the search goes on for the perfect surface for my images that will enhance the contrast in the lights and darks and convey their mood whilst providing an exceptional visual quality. I will consider, although it is an expensive option, using Ilford Digital Black and White Silver Gelatin Photographic paper.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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