Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Chris Rainier - A Journey In Ink
Chris Rainier completes a seven-year project culminating in a unique photo book
A Different Look
One of the goals of the book was to raise the bar in terms of the reproduction of photographs. The desire was to create photographs on the page that looked like they could hang on a gallery wall.
“We used some metallic ink within the separations, but we used it in a sparing way,” describes Verbois. “We wanted to get the sense of a photographic paper rather than a lithographic process. It was important to have a solid density in the blacks comparable to fiber-based photographic paper, so we experimented with adding metallic ink to the separations.”
“The problem with that is the metallic inks are opaque and the traditional lithographic inks, including the blacks, are transparent,” he continues. “When you print over an opaque ink, which is lighter in density like silver or gold, it actually lightens up the density rather than giving you more. The trick was to use it selectively, only in the midtones and highlight area. It's kind of tricky doing that, and some of the images require slightly different curves to determine exactly where that happens. We spent a lot of time working on that.”
“We had an eye out on different papers,” adds Farhad. “The criteria for the paper was that it had to be cover stock that would give us the foundation for the inks. We didn't need the inks to bleed through.” They eventually chose the Utopia One X Xtra Bright paper from Appleton Coated, who became a sponsor. The book was printed using a 200-line screen via a Heidelberg six-color press.
“We wanted to go to a higher-line screen,” says Farhad, “but the dot gain changes as you go up. Because we were using so much ink to start with, we didn't have the time to measure and adjust for the increased dot gain. We found that the 200-line screen gave us the look and feel of continuous tones without blocking up the shadows.”
For Rainier, the final results were more than satisfying. “We were constantly focused on how it was going to look on the paper,” he says. “It was very exciting to compare my favorite silver gelatin print to the one in the book and find that the book was better.”
Where's The Money?
Personal investments in time rather than monetary ones primarily drove the book. When it came time to print the book, Rainier's reputation and relationships within the photographic industry helped produce the funding needed.
“We didn't go to a sponsor until right before we were actually ready to go to press,” says Verbois. Companies like Adobe, Epson, Lowepro, Canon, Kodak and Appleton Coated assisted them. “It's an expensive process and the help from our sponsors made it possible. I don't think you could produce a book like this with the expectation that you could make a business out of it. It's really about pushing the process to the edge and going as far as you can go.”
“The book was created by and for people who love photography books,” explains Rainier, who says that it's being marketed for that audience. Available to order from www.ancientmarks.com as well as many independent bookstores and museum stores, Ancient Marks is intended to thrill book lovers and provide insight into the similarities of cultures, even those labeled “primitive.”
The completion of the work and its reception is gratifying for Rainier, but it's more than just an expensive calling card; it's part of his journey as a photographer.
“Photography can be your life, and it can be used as a social tool,” he says. “That's my life mission—to put on film not only cultures that are disappearing, but also cultures that are experiencing a renaissance. For me, this book is all about cultures that are stepping back into themselves, that are returning to the very thing that makes them unique, that makes them human.”
To see more of Chris Rainier's photography, visit www.chrisrainier.com.
Page 3 of 3