There is no shortage of hype or promises in the photography marketplace regarding improving your photography. At the same time, there is a perceived need to make photography simple and easy to share. This appeals to anyone who wants instant recognition and has created a vast supply of products and features that promise to make it easy to create and share photographs without the need to develop the craft of photography or spend any significant amount of time reflecting on the art. It is an arms race to the bottom.
Sitting all alone on the other end of this photographic technology spectrum is Piezography (pees-og-raphy), a dedicated black and white inkjet printmaking system developed by Jon Cone. Piezography utilizes a set of of monochromatic inks and proprietary media profiles that double the optical resolution of an Epson legacy inkjet printer, producing greater acuity and detail and substantially more gray levels than Epson Advanced Black and White (ABW) printing. Piezography makes exceptional prints from digital raw image files or scanned film. It is not, however, a turn key system and requires a solid understanding of the concept of linearization and the operational workflow to make beautiful black and white fine art photographs in the tradition of master printers. Fortunately, the R&D team at Cone Editions are experienced educators and they brought me up to speed during their Fine Art Black and White Printmaking Workshop held at their headquarters in Vermont. One of the first steps to creating amazing Selenium BW prints is to scan 129 step targets to create a linearized curve used in the printmaking process.
So, why bother? Doesn't the Epson ABW methodology create an adequate print? Yes, it does and Epson would like you to believe that it is the best that their printers can produce, but the demonstrated results from Piezography are not only visibly better than an ABW print, they are the best that can be made from an Epson printer. I am finally printing my BW photographs the way I want others to see them - with a lusciously smooth tone latitude, seductively smoother skin tones and increased shadow and highlight detail that encourages your gaze to linger longer than any other method of printmaking.
I will be exhibiting and making Piezography prints for other photographers in 2018. Let me know if you are interested in learning more or want to see what these prints look like first hand.
See ya around,