This week we have been getting ready for the exhibition. Most of the prints have arrived and we couldn’t wait to unwrap them and have a good look at them. I’m actually very pleased with the way mine have turned out. They are very large – the size of two A0 landscapes joined together and the clarity on them is very good. I think that Ditto 4 Design has done an excellent job with the printing.
When I arrived, the rest of the class were sitting together in the college reception area waiting, for I don’t know what. They had heard that the tutors were in a meeting
We started today by manoeuvring the prints from the college reception through to a large room where we could lay them all out. Once unwrapped and laid out and lots of mutual flattery and encouragement had been exchanged we began to measure out where the batons were to go. Laura and I did the marking and measuring, working on one print together across a large table while another couple made small etch marks in the back of the prints that would enable the glue to adhere better. Others helped to organise the prints and move them around, using white gloves, so that we could keep working on the table.
While this was going on, someone from the woodwork department was making some split wooden batons from MDF – a rectangle of wood, fitting just shy of the width of the image, that is cut along the length at an angle. One side is adhered to the print, the other side is secured to the wall forming a long ‘hook’ that the print can be dropped into. Another baton is secured at the bottom of the photograph to ensure that it hangs straight.
We again etched the side of the baton that goes against the print to help the adhesion then we used a wood glue to carefully secure the batons to the prints. We had to work quickly and carefully as we only had a few minutes to slide the baton into the perfect position before it dried. We then had to leave it, weighted down, a full 24 hours to fix permanently.
We finished most of the prints, only mine were left unfinished. The longer batons that I need will not be available until next week.
It was a good day and I think we all worked well together, which after all the back and forth that had previously happened on Facebook made a very nice change. Our tutor seemed to be really pleased with the way our final prints looked as a collection so that was encouraging too. I’m feeling quite excited about the exhibition now and look forward to seeing all the photographs hanging on the wall.
This week we went, as a group to order our prints for the exhibition. Beforehand there was a lot of back and forth on group chat about how to resize our photographs to the correct size. But in the end using Photoshop to crop and resize the image I think we all made it! Amy was working in the morning and was unable to come with us so I had asked her to contact the printer herself and arrange to get her own prints there before hand, which she did.
The photographs I have finally decided to have printed are these.
I had some trouble overlaying the painting on the photograph but one of the other lecturers at college took the time to show me how to use Photoshop and mask layers to create the effect I wanted.
At Ditto 4 Design we took it in turns to download our final photographs and have the designer there check that they were in the right format and see if there were any issues or changes that needed to be made before we paid for our prints and double checked delivery arrangements. It all went surprisingly smoothly and was actually quite fun!
There had been some discussion on group chat about the need for postcards/business cards at the exhibition, mostly from one person who didn’t want them. In class we had previously agreed that we would all have some postcards printed so while we were at Ditto 4 Design we ordered those too.
These are my postcards:
Natalie has ordered our names in vinyl lettering so we squared up money with her and ticked that job off the list of things to do.
We had another chat about getting some floor stickers for the reception area floor at the exhibition. I thought we had agreed it in class but on group chat a few people were dissenting so Anete and I wanted us to come to an agreement once and for all. It turns out that only Anete and I thought it was a good idea, everyone else wasn’t really bothered and when someone suggested that they would be ok with it if someone else paid for it I thought it was time to draw a line under the idea. We took a quick vote and made the decision not to go ahead with any floor stickers.
As I missed last week’s class, being on the way to Hannah and Mike’s wedding in Oxfordshire, I also took the opportunity to catch up on what I had missed. Not a lot apparently! There are a few dates that everyone had agreed to come into college and prepare the prints for hanging, which Anete passed on to me, but that is all.
It has actually been quite a tough week. One person has not been coming to class, not been part of the decision making and is countering every choice we have made with the argument “Well I haven’t agreed to that!” In the end one or two people weighed into the conversation with some quite strong words and it seems that they have finally come around. During what has actually been a very busy week I have found all the tension quite draining.
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.
GF Smith is a Hull company that makes high quality paper. Part of their business, GF Smith Photographic is targeted directly towards professional photographers for whom they supply a range of albums, fames and mounts and competes with companies like Loxley Colour and Graphi Studio.
Their thought is that the wedding market is declining although some photographers at the top end are still earning a good living. They advise that we always print our work out and recommend their albums as a good way to store and preserve photos that otherwise may remain hidden on hard drives or, as technology upgrades, eventually be lost altogether.
They also recommended their range of cardboard mounts, some that can be embossed or foiled, for use at events.
Their albums can be produced using their PPS Software that is downloaded from their website. I believe it allows basic adjustments like cropping and adding shadows and includes a number of page layouts and album sizes.
All albums can be printed on matt, gloss, fine art or metallic paper. Both the matt and the gloss paper are lovely but the fine art paper, made from very soft fibres shows a lot more detail and a wider range of tones that was particularly obvious in black and white photos. The metallic paper is almost like super glossy paper, it is very shiny and looked great for some coloured photographs.
We had a long chat about colour profiles and how to calibrate our computer monitor. In order to judge the colour of the prints GF Smith have offered to print a 20 x 16 photograph and then reprint it if it is not the colour we expected. Now my problem is going to be which photograph to send them!