Yesterday Anete and I went over to G F Smith to talk to them about printing and framing some photographs for a second exhibition that we would like to do. Whether we do it or not depends entirely on the cost and so we thought a brief chat with one of the members of staff that came to talk to us at college last year might be a good idea.
We were welcomed into the office and immediately offered a tour of the photographic part of the factory. Linked servers allow the photographs and photographic album/book pages that are received into the Sales office to be sent across to the factory. These are then fed into ‘Thelma’ and ‘Louise’, the two photographic printers. We also watched as the technician changed a roll of photographic paper inside the ‘dark room’ area of the machine before he checked on the levels in the chemical baths. He showed us also where the machines dry the paper so that the finished print comes up ready to be moved on to the next stage.
A team of people put the books together with one person guillotining the photographic pages precisely and then individually creasing every page. Another uses an air gun to clean the pages of any dust and places them with boards between. The boards are slightly tacky and when heated in an oven the glue firmly adheres to the pages. The books are allowed to cool down naturally and are pressed overnight before being passed to the packing area where the cover is added and they are placed in a presentation box before being sent to the customer.
It was a really interesting experience and the care and pride that goes into making these books is incredible. We were shown two books that had been pulled and reprinted because they had the tiniest flaw on them. These flaws were so small and hard to see but the team were adamant that the books would be perfect when they were delivered to the customer. I found it very reassuring that they would take as much care over my prints and books as I would.
They are going to quote us for some prints and frames and we have offered to display some of their promotional material in exchange for a discount.