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Others may disagree but my view is that the selection of paper for mono prints is more critical (in the sense that it affects the appearance of the printed photograph to a greater extent) than for colour prints.
What papers do group members favour for their printing?
Virtually all of my mono prints are printed on A3+ paper, using an Epson R3000 printer and Epson inks, with a view to mounting behind card mounts for display in 40x50cm frames. Almost always I use dark charcoal mounts for mono prints and cheap black 40x50 frames (£9.95 from B&Q)
Currently I favour Fotospeed's Platinum Baryta paper for mono, although I have had good results in the past with Ilford Gold Fibre Silk.
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To be honest it's been so long since I've printed an image for my own purposes, let alone specifically B&W, that I'd be starting from the "Ilford? Oh yeah, Ilford ... I remember them - they make paper don't they?!" stance Times when I have printed though, I have used Ilford paper, but can't remember the specific type.
However, I'm interested that you choose dark charcoal mounts for your mono prints ... why that colour? Is it purely an aesthetic choice, or does it enhance B&W prints more than just plain white or plain black?
I guess it is just a personal preference, Tanya, in much the same way as I almost always use ivory (pale cream) for colour prints. In fact, judges are supposed to ignore the mounts when scoring an image but I am never 100% sure that they all do.
Hhmm ... good point - although I'm sure if a brilliant colour (or mono) image was presented with a shocking pink mount, then they'd hardly ignore it!
It's interesting that on here, viewing mono images on a monitor, a lot of people (me included) choose to put a border of either white or black. I might try doing a dark charcoal border and see whether it works for web viewing or not. Don't know - as you say, at the end of the day it no doubt comes to personal choice.
I know that Ilford's Gold Fibre Silk is very popular but its a bit warm for me. Personally I prefer my papers to have a a more neutral cast so that I can adjust the warmth to taste using the the Advanced Black & White mode in my Epson R2880 printer dialogue. I bought Fotopspeed, Permajet and Ilfords tester packs and used the Black and White and Colour images test images from Keith Cooper's excellent Northlight Images website to try out many of them and these are the one's I've picked so far:
- Permajet's Oyster 271 which is a nice, white lighter weight lustre paper good for both colour and mono general printing. Fotospeed's Platinum Lustre seems to be quite similar.
- Permajet's Fibre Base Royal 325 which is a heavier weight semi-lustre paper which gives really rich mono prints, good for exhibitions
- Epson's Heayweight Matte - creates lovely matte Mono and colour prints
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