I was asked to make sixty invitations to a black tie dinner for a car event. It needed a striking image on the front and the invitation text on the verso. Once I had heard that some people from the V&A museum along with some other sophisticats had been invited I thought I had better go to town on making these invitations. I sent over some ideas, one of which was a combination of two photographs I had made a couple of years back.
I combined these into a black and white single image. I then worked further on the file tone and contrast before printing it and experimenting with some finishes.
I found that the varnishing method I sometimes use - whereby I coat the print twice and then place silicon paper on top of it before vacuum pressing it for a smooth finish - was resulting in too much glare.
Once I had worked through some ideas and noted some things (a long process mind) I put together a checklist for the project production. I then moved on to refining the file. Whilst doing this I noticed a B&W print I have here in the studio next to the hot vacuum press. "Think Positive". It is a selenium toned silver halide print on fibre paper. Growing up I was obsessed with selenium toning as it was a process Ansel Adams used frequently. I always thought it was how he got the platinum with a hint of blue and yellow feel to his prints (in hindsight these may have been actual platinum prints). When I got the chance I was selenium toning each and every print I could. I thought I should try and bring something of this feel to these invitation prints so I added in some blue tone to the shadows and some yellow to the highlights. It gave the file a distinct kick in terms of depth and quality.
I then worked out the print layout and placed crop marks on the file and sent it to print - Canson 210gsm photorag - a pleasing touch.
Then on to the tricky part. As you can see the studio is cavernous so I had no issue at all trying to align eight large pieces of paper with heat press tissue sandwiched between. I of course jest.
Once I had heat vacuum pressed the eight sheets (90C) to create 4 stiffer duplex sheets I left these under a cold press overnight.
Instead of varnish I sprayed the sheets with Hahnemuhle protective spray. A couple of layers. No glare whatsoever and it seemed as if no spray had gone at all. They retained their matte finish with a slight strengthening of tone and a scuff resistant surface. I sliced the pressed duplex sheets first with a knife lengthways and then with a guillotine breadthways. Each of the sixty invitations were then hand brushed with linen to remove dust. They were then packed away and delivered a few days back.