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Thread: Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

  1. #1

    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    No, this isn't a thread about "WWAD" (What would Ansel do). I'm well aware that St. Ansel embraced new technologies, sought maximum control over prints, etc. etc. So let's not make this a would-he-or-wouldn't-he discussion; it's safe to say he'd at least experiment.

    Instead, my query is about piezography, the quadtone ink-and-software kit for b&w printing on Epson printers (www.piezography.com). Quoting from George DeWolfe?s review in the new issue of View Camera, "I've been a black-and-white printer for over 35 years. I studied with Ansel Adams and Minor White, and I know what a beautiful print is. . . . Piezography has changed the way I work, and it has changed the way I see. It has allowed me to expand my vision into subtle tonalities I didn?t know existed. . . . If Ansel were alive, he'd be into [Piezography] big time. Big time."

    Strong words. More praises from DeWolfe: "Piezography . . . has, overnight, changed the history of photography. It is the answer to traditional photography's toxic chemical heritage and is environmentally safe and sustainable. The print is as aesthetically beautiful as silver, and as archival. . . . Piezography with the [Epson] 7000 pushes us beyond what we have known as the best in black-and-white photography." (Read the full review on p. 58-59 of the July/August issue of View Camera.)

    "Changed the history of photography overnight"! Is Piezo really that good? I?m curious to hear whether any frequenters of this forum are using/have tried Piezography (perchance even with the Epson 7000?) and/or have at least studied large Piezographic prints up close, in person (i.e., not on the company's website). Thoughts, comments?

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  2. #2
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    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    Some months back I obtained a small piezography sample print from Jon Cone. The effect is quite intriguing, and I can imagine that at some point in the reasonably near future the process will be refined to a point where I may want to investigate further.

    IMO it's a different medium which shows promise of being beautiful in its own way, and as such is worth paying attention to. But it's no *substitute* for a good silver-gelatin contact print - not even close. It's just a completely different effect.

  3. #3

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    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    First of all, note that I know nothing about piezography.

    However...the properly-processed silver print, platinum/palladium prints etc h ave a good track record for longevity, while so far as I know piezography has no track record, just claims.

    Photography has been full of claims of archival stability that have proven to be untrue; E-3, E-4 and C-22 come to mind offhand. Much color photography of an entire generation has faded away. Epson recently continued that tradition when t heir "archival" print material quickly turned green.

    Something to consider.

  4. #4

    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    Fwiw, I see that George DeWolfe's apparently-similar article for Camera Arts (sister magazine to ViewCamera) is downloadable as a PDF file from Piezo's website, http://www.piezography.com/exhibition-printing.html

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  5. #5

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    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    The only fair comparison is side by side prints of the same subject and have photographers compare them without knowing which is which and see what is chosen. Claims are not proof. Pat

  6. #6

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    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    Just finished looking at the prints, they both are stark contrast without subtle tones of any kind, at least on my monitor, which is what I am saying, the only fair comparison is side by side. The companys website photo's would never convince me to try it. Pat

  7. #7

    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    I dunno. I've been printing for 35 years too, and the inkjet B&W that I've seen so far, and produced myself, impresses me about as much as a badly done bromoil smudge.Having said that, I haven't tried quadtone inks, because they just don't seem to be readily available on this side of the pond.I'm willing to be convinced that they are capable of good results, in the same way that bi-tone halftone printing is miles better than a standard B&W halftone reproduction - and yet..... it's still not quite a silver print is it?

  8. #8

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    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    Recently I too a Piezography print made on the Epson 7000 to Tomas Lopez at the University of MIami. Tom I believe is the Chair of the Fine Art department although it may be Art History Department.

    Tom looked at the print almost had a heart attack. He stated that it was incredible. He had never seen such a tonal range aside from platinum.

    The process has promise, but as with any medium I have seen unbelieveably awful silver prints and as such I am sure there are awful platinum and Piezography prints.

    I have seen George DeWolff's prints in person. They are truly lovely. But so are John Sexton's silver prints.

    Another medium, with it's own set of issues, both positive and negative.

    Mike

  9. #9

    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    Hi, it's me, Micah, the initial poster again. With all due respect to the above posters who want to speculate about Piezograph prints without having seen them, allow me to note that I specifically asked to hear from frequenters of this forum who have studied Piezograph prints *in person* ("not on the company's website," I said, computer screens being completely worthless for conveying print quality). Frankly, the only in-person experience posted here so far (the "heart attack" one) sounds like a pretty good endorsement. Anyone else with "in person" experience?

    The archivality issue raised by John Hicks is a consideration, but I don't know if it would be a deciding factor for a lot of photographers, especially if Wilhelm Research or the like say that Piezos are likely to last as long as toned b&w silver prints. Then too, I suppose it's a different thread but the importance of archivality to collectors/buyers in an era where pressing the "Send to Printer" button produces an identical print could make an interesting discussion topic. For example, I'm guessing that Piezo prints are at least as archival as color LightJet prints or Ciba/Ilfochromes, even though the latter substrates were employed in most of the photographs that have set price records (six-figures) in the contemporary photography market (Gursky, Sherman, Tillmans, etc.).

    Perhaps what I'm getting at (albeit very indirectly!) is the difference between buyers' priorities and sellers (photographers') wishes. Once the archivality is likely to exceed the buyer's lifespan, is the buyer more concerned about the appearance of *the image* or whether the photograph is likely to start fading in 150 years instead of 200 years? Hmmmm.

    I struggle with these creator vs. buyer issues all the time, because I know that what's important to me as a photographer isn't necessarily important to my audience. It was tremendously liberating for me, for example, when I asked Howard Bond last spring why he retired his 11x14 camera and he said, "Because neither I nor anyone I showed them to could tell the difference between my 11x14 contact prints and my 11x14 enlargements from 8x10 negatives." (Granted, I still shoot some 11x14, but with a different perspective than before.) I know some will respond to this viewer-centric perspective with "Audience, shmaudience, I shoot only to please myself," but there are at least as many others here who are photographing for various viewers and audiences, whether they be buyers, collectors, gallery hoppers, book buyers, or magazine subscribers. It was to the latter group (i.e., those with an audience or constituency outside their own heads), especially those who work in black-and-white, to whom I suppose I was addressing this thread.

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  10. #10

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    Piezography: Ansel Adams and the inkjet print

    I have been printing PiezographyBW on an Epson 1160 for about a year. I do not do have a darkroom and have never done my own B&W printing. I just do not have the space or time. Having a lab print a real quality B&W print for me has always been a problem. I did a workshop 2 years ago with George DeWolfe and he had several Piezo prints to show everyone. They were beautiful. That is when I decided to try it. I must say that the Piezo prints are very beautiful. I have compared Lab prints with my Piezo prints of the same subject and the Piezo prints are much better in my opinion. I do know that someone that is good in the darkroom can make a print as good or better than a Piezo. For me the technology is wonderfull. It does not take up much space. It is faster and for me very rewarding. As far as print life goes only time will tell. I have also been printing color on the Epson 2000P. I do believe that this technolgy will go beyond any darkroom printing. When done properly prints are as good as any color printing method there is. Done properly there is no GREEN print and the prints are beautiful. I do believe that print life will be longer than any other method out there. Inkjet printing will be a new and intersting way to try printing. It will never replace traditional printing. It is kind of like buying a new kind of camera and learning how to use it. It's fun! Scott Squires www.scottsquires.com
    Scott Squires

    www.scottsquires.com

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