I spent about 30 years, off and on in the darkroom. I was a professional C-Printer for a year or so; I sold prints to well-known collectors, and not well-known. When digital printing came around, I was very hesitant about it. I continued to do darkroom work, otherwise known as gelatin for b&w, but at the same time played around with all sorts of inkjet / iris contraptions.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion, that given the progress being made with archival print paper, along with it being made of rag, and I did a test with some friends, and put two framed images side by side on the wall. One was a digital print. The other a darkroom print. Nobody, and these were three pros – could tell the difference. At least they said without touching the paper, or using a loupe on it. So the benefits were outweighing the cons, and I switched over the printing on Epson. I think the first paper I really liked was – the name just slipped my mind – but it was all rag, and had a finish that looked to me like an air dried fiber print. And that was that.
My Own Printing
I did all my own printing on large Epson printers that barely fit in my small NYC studio. The problem with the early batch (and maybe this continues but I don’t hear much about it – the problem, anyway was clogging. No matter how wonderful the machine began; and how you thought, this is fantastic, they’ve fixed the clogging issue; eventually they would clog. And you’d have to run ink through them, or really just open the thing up and do all these windex tricks to clean it out. The whole inkjet system still seems clunky to me. Pigmented ink (from carbon base) spit (the word Iris is sort of close to spit in French but closer to ejaculate) anyway – I still say it’s a dumb mechanism. After the 4800 clogged once again, I went searching for a printer that would do a good job, and give me a little break from all the maintenance. Digital Silver does a very good job, but I was looking for someone that was large enough to give the job a very fast turnaround. And Fine Art America had other advantages.
Prints and International Shipping
All prints are produced at Fine Art America. These are archival pigment based prints with Ultrachrome Epson print and will be shipped directly to you – worldwide. Fine Art America (FAA) has factories all over the world. As this writing, they have 14 international production facilities.
So the benefit, for example, is suppose you live in England and want to order a few prints. They have my high resolution file. They have a production facility in England, and so the turnaround is fast, and you skip the international shipping costs and VAT.
Obviously I wouldn’t use them if the quality wasn’t top notch. They use the same printers I used for years to do my fine art photographs.
But especially for international orders, you’ll get a much faster turnaround time (usually two days to ship) and very inexpensive shipping charges.
And of course you have a 30 day no questions asked return policy. They also do matting framing and offer a wide variety of media to print on.