The Point of Digital Printing

Cleland Kinlock Huger HouseCleland Kinlock Huger House
8 Legare Street, SC
built 1858

I have the Epson Stylus Photo 2200 printer. It cost quite a bit when I first got it, about $600. Even the ink is expensive, with 7 ink cartridges priced at $140. Two of these ink cartridges are for Black & White only, one of which gets switched out for finer control of tones. This printer sat for a few years before I was able to actually try it out. There are better systems out there now, some specializing in BW printing only, but for now this is what I have to work with.

Since purchasing it I have upgraded computers twice. My main computer is now an iMac 27″ late 2013, 3.5 GHz I7, with 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 and a NVIDA GeForce GTX 780 4096 MB video card running OS 10.10.1 (commonly called Yosemite).

I built a garden shed digital darkroom on my property a few years ago as well. I had a vision of setting myself up to make a little bit of money with photography when I retire (like that is even going to happen). I have just about everything I need actually, if I don’t update or upgrade anything that will start a chain reaction with all the other components in my workflow. You know, camera shooting raw, software that won’t run on current OS, etc.

OK, enough background material on what I am working with here for now, lets get to the purpose of this post. I am trying to use this printer to make proofs of my images before sending them off to be printed and mailed to customers from this very web site. My problem seems to be kind of a common one… print color consistency. The old methods I used in the past to make prints in house no longer work with the systems I now have. I get a green tinted print, try to correct and then get a magenta tinted print. Mind you, I am not changing tint or color in any of the print settings. So what is going on?

 South Carolina mansion

South Carolina Mansion
Charleston, SC

I could tell you about all the different web sites and books that I have consulted about this issue but I haven’t found a solution yet, so I stepped out of my thinking box. I changed my question of print inconsistency to why do I want print consistency. I understand that if I was going to mass produce images for sale that consistency would be a requirement. But what do I consider myself? A print and dispersion house or an artist. Well I would like to think of myself as an artist. So lets see how other artists handled this issue.

Well it seems that most artists produce only one of a kind pieces of art work. They don’t replicate it over and over to sell to the masses. Other entities do that. So if I am an artist, maybe I don’t need to seek replication abilities in my work flow. Maybe I work with each piece to the ends I foresaw when I made it and make various versions, each equally valid, and potentially each desirable by a customer. I remember seeing a work by Andy Warhol, actually I think it might have been a theme for him.

Marilyn-by-Andy-WarholWhy take an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe and place four different versions of it on a single canvas? He did this several times with various people and objects. Obviously here, the four images were meant to be kept together as one piece of art.

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Why do the same thing with Campbell Soup cans? Still exploring the concept of versions I think.dollarSignOr with dollar symbols? Each one of these symbols have slight differences in them, not just the color.
Andywarhol_CampbellsSoup-2Did he start off trying to make duplicates of a single piece of art, failed and then gave up?
andy_warhol_campbells_soupEach person who bought one of these pieces has a different version, a unique version, an original version. Isn’t that the real purpose of being an artist? To make an original art piece that says something to the artist and the observer. Never mind that there is 2000 copies of the art piece floating around at $100 a pop and it is called a copy.

Why I think even Ansel Adams and Edward Weston produced original images, slightly different from one another, but no one ever complained about that.


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