Saturday, October 15, 2011

The all new ART paper by Ilford

I woke up this morning and the first thing that went through my head was I gotta do a blog post on the new Ilford Art 300 paper.

Not that I am in anyway qualified to do a real live review on any product, but it's something I bought, used, and have opinions about. Maybe someone out there is on the fence about buying it since it's description is, well, confusing to say the least. They throw out words like matt and eggshell in the same sentence. huh? exactly.

Lets start with the extreme buoyancy of this product. This stuff floats. Like if you wash in a vertical washer it sticks up a good inch out of the water. Its not really a problem, I just wasn't expecting it. I mean it is a problem, in that you need to find a way for it to stay under, but it's not that difficult to solve. I just laid some plexiglass pieces over the tops to hold them down.

I printed 3 of my images on this paper. I scanned them to give you a bit of a visual but again its not really fair because its a scan... and scans are crappy, but then also the paper has this texture which makes it look quite grainy in the scan, when in fact it is not at all a grainy image. You can see that I included the whole of the image, all the way to the edge of the paper, and it is indeed textured.

These are they...

I love the way these printed up. This paper does a really beautiful job with the blacks and contrast. I mean really beautiful. The tones are perfect. In the description it says, it has a cool base colour and warm image tone.  I wasn't sure what that meant. The example photo on the box looks really warm. Kind of a rich brown, I don't find that to be the case in real life.  I can see that its not a cool black, but its not brown either. its a warm black and thats really the only way to put it. But definitely black.  

The thing that throws me off about this paper is the texture. If you look at the print straight on the texture is really noticeable.  And sometimes usually I don't really like all that texture. It seems to give it this furry look. Really hard to put in words.  But then if you take the print and tilt it, and look at it from an angle, even a slight angle, it transforms into shimmery wonderfulness. Honestly, any furriness it had disappears completely and you are left looking at a gorgeous print, almost as if the light picks up the little slivers of silver. It's really something to see! That particular quality about it excites me. But the texture not so much.

it is also very heavy/thick, which is nice.

So is it worth the $1.42 per sheet, plus shipping and/or tax?

I say yes. 

I won't print all, or even most of my images on this paper, but I think certain images will look really beautiful on it. 

And if you're a darkroom printer I think its definitely worth a shot. I mean, you just HAVE to see the gorgeous silvery shimmer. It's like nothing I've ever seen, not that I've seen much of anything really.

For reference, the paper I usually print with is Adox premium fiber based paper. Which I do quite love.

If I have any film shooter, darkroom printer, blog readers out there, I'd LOVE to hear back from you how you feel about this paper.

My local camera store doesn't carry it. I ordered it online from Freestyle Photo. I use them quite a bit, they are really great, I get all my paper from them and a good lot of my film.

Also... lots of exciting things happening in my little world of photography that I will talk about more later, but I just started a critique class over at Art Intersection with Carol Panero-Smith and Jim Hajicek. AND... I also just signed up for wet plate collodion workshop with France Scully Osterman

yeah yeah, more later :) !!!!!!!!! 

(I can hardly wait)