Here's where the digital stuff stands:
I saw some matte prints yesterday and I am convinced that matte will not do it for me; the blacks are dull and the shadow detail that I work so hard to get is not really there. But to test this, I had all the Red River card stock to play with and did tests on several of their matte papers including a sort of hybrid called Polar White, and was not happy with any of them.
The Epson Premium Semi-gloss is giving me the best results, but and this is still a big "but" there is a significant amount -- at least I think there is -- of "reflective differential" which is otherwise known as "bronzing." Basically, if you look at the print straight on -- no problem.
If you look at the print at a more oblique angle, you will see, depending on the blacks in the print, a substantial amount of "bronzing." You will see the exact same effect in any high-quality duotone art book done on a similar paper.
Now -- Paul Roark -- who is the guy behind the MIS inks says:
Among these papers, the Premium Semigloss, in my opinion, gives the best image.
"I am especially enthused about the potential of 'barrier' type papers when they are sprayed with a protective coating like PremierArt or Lyson print guard/shield. This spray largely eliminates the differential reflections (including what some call 'bronzing') and makes the print surface so tough it can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Encapsulating carbon pigments may be an excellent way to make a more durable print that has been easily possible in the past. Air pollution, humidity, and oxidation are primary factors in fading and damaging photos. These air-borne problems can enter the paper through either the front or back."
So tomorrow - downtown I go to get some of these protective sprays. If they do the trick in terms of significantly reducing "bronzing" then I'm really close and will only need to do a bit of curve tweaking.