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Black and White Photography, New York: Monday, April 26, 2004

One thing I can say for sure - the word inkjet or archival carbon, or anything like that has bad connotations to the regular (non-photographic) person.  This after a conversation with a friend who blanched when I told her I was working on inkjet prints.  But she did know the word giclee (though she didn't know how to pronounce it and neither did I).

Carbon -- she associated with either carbon paper, or charcoal, something that would smudge.  And inkjet - she has her own inkjet and didn't understand why I would be working with something like that.

The explanation I used was what I call the "Pencil to Picasso" routine.  Take the poor little pencil.  Everyone has got one.  Hand it over to Picasso and you've got something valuable - okay - something about his name - but also his skill and vision.  Give it to me and you've got junk.  Same thing with the lowly inkjet, the chemical darkroom, or any other output device.

After I explained it all -- she said that she had actually ordered a giclee print a while ago and it came with a little explanation explaining the process and that I should do the same thing.

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One other possible solution that I haven't tried.  They make a water-based Giclee varnish:


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Also, I was wondering when this whole inkjet thing started again -- and it appears to have caught fever on April Fools Day, which may not be a good sign.


7:27:17 PM    

Everyone is quick to say that this is not a religious war.  But it sure enough feels like one.

Our President calls on the "higher father" for guidance.  Our enemy calls us godless infidels.  The New York Times reports that Islamic terrorists are now being recruited at an unprecedented pace in major European countries.  What seems to be going on is a search for certainty in a world turned upside-down.

"And you never ask questions
When God's on your side." - With God On Our Side, Bob Dylan

The opposing forces don't ask questions.  They have a pipeline to the almighty.  And Kerry is caught in the middle because he has had doubts, changed positions, and seems to have searched the world and his own soul for answers rather then having them handed down to him from above.  This is called flip-flopping and is the ultimate blasphemy that can hurled at a politician.

As the world becomes more uncertain - we want someone who shows leadership, and in this case leadership means a lack of self-reflection, a lack of doubt. 

Suppose that you were the builder of the new Queen Mary II ocean liner.  Suppose that just before the ship was to depart, you learned that there were serious design flaws that might endanger the ship.  Now suppose that you were a deeply religious owner, and you decided to trust in the greater power to see the ship safely on its voyage and the ship sank.  How culpable is the owner?

The answer is - pretty damned culpable.  Not because you are religious - but because you didn't examine your own doubts and act on them. (This is a very rough paraphrase from the book, The President of Good & Evil).

"About 94 percent of Americans believe in God" - Ibid.

What seems like arrogance - may actually be the opposite: humble obeisence to the almighty.  And you just can't argue, at least not rationally, with blind faith.

Well, everyone says: this is just a perversion of religious thought.  Christ was not in favor of killing.  The Moslems are mis-reading the Koran.

I am not enough of an expert to say what is being misinterperted, but I do see a direct correlation between the certainty that religion gives one - and the actions that follow. 

So - now the Kerry problem. 

First: I have no idea what Kerry's private religious beliefs are.  Right off the bat, if the country is so religious - which it appears to be, he is going to have to do more public praying.

Second:  If we are in the middle of a religious war, he is going to have to do more public praying.

Third: He needs to begin using religious phrases more in his speeches.  Has he even taken the opportunity to say, "God Bless America" in his speeches?  I haven't heard it yet.  He'd better get going with this stuff if he wants to win.

What about separation of church and state, you ask?

That is a fiction.  The congress begins each day with a prayer.  We trust in God is on our money.  The idea of a separation of church and state wasn't that the state shouldn't be religious, but that there shouldn't be a particular state sponsored religion. 

Fourth: Never, under any circumstances, say that you were wrong (as Kerry recently tried to do regarding some of his language about the Vietnam war atrocities) under any circumstances.  Being wrong, must mean that you do not have that direct pipeline to the almighty, and that in turn means that you cannot be the chosen leader of the so-called free world.

4:22:48 PM    

I might have had a bit of a breakthrough this morning.  It finally dawned on me that the search to recreate the look of a cold-toned archival print is beyond my ability.  It may be possible, but I can't seem to do it.  What dawned on me is that the object of this is not to recreate that look, but to make something beautiful in its own right.

So I experimented with another process called "black-only" where you just use the black cartridge and you get this fairly grainy -- Tri-X look.  Okay -- but not quite it.

Then I began, to go through every freaking transformation curve and I came across the Eboni-Carbon curve.  This gives, what is called a "warm-tone" look.   Warm tone -- there are deep blacks in the most dense areas, but the overall tint leans towards a golden brownish color but not sepia.

Really nice. 

I also decided (I have been going back and forth about this) after looking carefully at various archival tests that the Epson Semi-Gloss especially with the spray was very long lasting.  In the realm of a century, and longer if simply stored away in the dark (two centuries).

The prints will have to be sprayed to get rid of the "bronzing" effect -- although I'm not sure that the regular person would even notice it, but it will get rid of that effect, and will make the prints even more stable.  I know the world is going to hell in a handbasket -- and two hundred years from now -- maybe someone will dig through ruin and find one of these little gems... 

I have one final thing to experiment with, and that is printing on the Red River Card stock.  These will not be archival - since the paper is not archival -- but they should last longer than the average fine art card you buy.

Once this is all done -- I will go back to my original plan which is to begin to offer a bunch of new things on the site, and do a little bit of selling on the street.


12:31:39 PM    

Here is an excellent article on what to call this whole Inkjet business.

What is fascinating, is that the idea of carbon for drawing goes back to the caves of the Paleolithic Age.  And, that one of the theories is that the Shaman did this painting by mixing saliva and carbon from the ashes in his mouth and spitting the design on the wall.  This sounds very much like what my inkjet printer is doing, although the caveman couldn't spit at 1440 dpi.


9:03:47 AM    

The results from all the experiments are in.  The Ilford Smooth Pearl is my favorite.  Richest blacks and least overall problems with the pigmented inks.  But is it "archival."  Their site says 30 years plus.  But what is it with protective spray?  Nobody can say for sure, though the spray increases the life of similar paper from 25% to 50%, i.e. say 45 years.  At what point is something archival?  That -- is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows... whoops.

Perhaps I need a new term: anti-entropy paper.  Everything is falling apart.  The way of the universe is always towards disorder.  Atoms are spinning off the paper at various speeds.  In the long run, the paper / ink is more archival than I am.  Isn't that enough?

3:01:13 AM    

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