The holiday season this time provided me with some time to concentrate on personal photographs that have been on my mind, but only as ideas. This year I have not had any article projects pending or new products to investigate, so once in a very long time I am doing my own thing. And that has been digging out old film images and making new scans. The goal is to approach the image in ways that correct for weaknesses and frustrations in what the photo was as a film image. Primarily it is much more than just physically scanning the film, but rethinking the image, applying a different sensitivity to what it is, and hopefully producing something both different and the same, but better than the picture I first saw in the viewfinder, and then as an image on film. The final step in this process is to make a test print to see if my on-screen editing actually results in a print that matches my expectations.
Although some of my readers reveal what papers they use in the course of what they are doing when they ask for an answer to a question, inkjet printing paper never seems to be more than a whatever concern. Usually the long lasting cotton fiber papers which respond well to pigment inks are rarely referenced, and one Epson paper, PremierArt Matte Scrapbook Photo Paper doesn’t seem to be known. Yet in a reasonable 205gsm weight for letter size, it is probably the best consumer paper available and at a reasonable cost. I thought it had disappeared but just recently I ordered and received a couple of packages of 8.5x11 inch from the Epson store (it is also available in 12x12 inch size). This Epson Scrapbook paper really is a hot press natural (no brighteners), smooth, firm finished matte paper that is also of the kind used by fine arts photographers in larger sizes. So it is an ideal test paper if images are being made for the best possible reproduction. If you use an Epson photo inkjet paper, the Premium Presentation Paper setting and its printer profile works very effectively with the Epson PremierArt Scrapbook paper.
So why not spend a few bucks and try it and if you like the prints, what do you get that is the same for larger than letter-size prints?
If you decide you like this paper, and I believe you should, what can you get like it in larger sizes? The company is Premier Imaging Products. The Premier product name is Smooth Hot Press Fine Art Paper, and it comes in four different weights, 205, 270, 325 and 500gsm. The 270gsm would be just right for 13x19 inch prints, but unlike the Epson Scrapbook and Hot Press 205gsm, it does not have both side printing surfaces. It is described by Premier as, “the best paper for prints that require Museum Grade quality, especially when Image Permanence is the critical factor.” Its features are, “100% cotton, acid and lignin free, alkaline buffered, OBA free, hot press surface, moulde made, high D-max, and exceptional print quality.”
Where can one find this Premier Imaging Smooth Hot Press Fine Art paper? One source I have used is www.inkjetart.com, and another that is well known is Adorama, www.inkjetart.com. But first try the Scrapbook version that is available from the Epson store, http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/ProductMediaSpec.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&infoType=Overview&oid=-12346&category=Paper%20&%20Media/ its just a dollar a sheet for the best paper they have for consumers.