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.

Think Positive in Ordway, November 2008, Cameron Maynard

Think Positive in Ordway, November 2008, Cameron Maynard

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.