A couple of months ago a friend of mine went to the Houston Camera Exchange to get me a box of 13″ X 19″ cotton rag paper and my usual brand wasn’t in stock. Talk about serendipity-the paper they had was Photo Rag Matte 308 by Hahnemühle USA–and I loved it. It’s about the sharpest rag matte I’ve ever worked with and it beautifully rendered my images, so of course I wanted more of it. I very rarely print on anything but matte–if you use current Zeiss lenses and your film images were shot with Leicas, Hasselblads (there’s Zeiss again!) and Commercial Ektars and Schneider glass for large format, you really don’t need gloss==and I appreciate not necessarily mimicking the look and feel of traditional wet darkroom fiber base paper. This next trip to the store I was “stuck’ with German Etching since the Photo Rag Matte was sold out. What am I gonna do with this textured stuff?!? The image below of Gary Clark Jr. printed on the German Etching as if it was shot just to be on the paper, it was absolutely gorgeous. So was the featured image in this post of Richard Danielson of Vintage Trouble backstage at the Woodlands, the one of Nalle Colt from that same shoot, my Stevie Ray Vaughan Headdress shot, and on and on.
And so I was also sold on the Hahnemühle USA German Etching, obviously. Next I decided to go ahead and try some of the glossy and pearl finish papers, the Baryta Gloss and Pearl and the Photo Rag Pearl 320. Lymon Hall, who owns the Houston Camera Exchange, and Veronica Cotter from Hahnemühle USA provided me with samples so why not, right? I used it for a few Black and White images of Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Ely with David Grissom, and SRV 3/25/1983 for State Fare, one of Lee Ellis’ great Houston restaurants. Guess what-I loved it! Very much like heavy weight glossy fiber based wet darkroom paper, but even better, and something I’ve never seen on digital fine art or older style paper: no dry down phenomenon. That’s pretty amazing, and it saves time, ink and paper for sure. I also decided I really like the Gloss and Pearl for color images. When I do shoot for color I want it to really knock people’s socks off. Clean and very sharp but not too subtle-sorta like a good Les Paul! These are great papers for that, and so is the Photo Rag Matte 308. All of these papers I’ve mentioned handle beautifully with my Epson Photo R2400 and that isn’t always true of other companies’ papers I’ve used. A few examples of images these two papers work particularly well with:
Of course most of these images will be in my print exhibit at Antone’s opening 2/17/2017 from 6-9pm. The one of Gary Clark Jr on the German Etching is going to be part of a package with my Epiphone Blak and Blu GCJr model and hard case donated by Mike Fuller, owner of Fuller’s Vintage Guitars we’re auctioning for the SIMS Foundation. See my previous blogpost and my website http://www.theheightsgallery.com for more on all that or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once I started using these papers by Hahnemühle USA I decided to contact them and I’m very happy to say they returned my enthusiasm and they’re now a sponsor of my shows, “Absolute Music” starting with that big one at Antone’s 2/17/17. I’m very, very happy and grateful for Carol Boss’ help with that. I have also printed all of the installation for State Fare on their papers. What a great find! Truly the best series of substrates I’ve ever printed on. Thank you, Hahnemühle– more to come soon.