We spoke to a series of professional photographers to find out how they create the best prints and what inspires their work.
“A good photograph is all about opportunity. An artist doesn’t make art – art happens.”
Alex did not train to be a photographer, he actually studied as a graphic designer. However, he was frustrated that good pictures were hard to find and were very expensive to buy for any print publication. So Alex started to shoot the images he needed.
Now a full-time professional photographer, excelling in travel photography, Alex has taken time out from his travels to talk to us today about his photography and the importance of printing.
“I started printing my own fine art collectables in 2007,” he says. “It’s important for every photographer to be hands-on with their own printing. Mastering the process enables them to understand colour adjusting to craft a beautiful masterpiece.”
With a keen eye for detail, including an in-depth knowledge of the CMYK printing process, Alex feels he is well-positioned to talk authoritatively about printing photographs to the highest standards.
He tells us travel photography is “a window to the world”, a world he goes to great lengths to catch. He remembers the hardship of capturing the natural beauty of Huangshan in China – climbing 15 km of steps for close to 12 hours, at minus 20ºc, in the snow and ice.
His dedication to capturing the right location is only matched by the exacting standards he has when he prints his images. “My photographic journey takes me from the moment I capture the image to printing it. Only when it’s printed, whether it’s in a book or a final art print, will the project be fully completed.”
Who is his main influence? While Alex mentions Ansell Adams, he clearly has developed his own style. He says, “My landscape work usually has strong line arts and depths. There’s always a strong element rather than the flat landscapes which you would normally see.”
Alex is often given cameras, lenses and equipment to review way before they are released to other photographers. It’s because of his high standards that we gave Alex the Epson SureColor P607 printer to try.
We asked him how print compares to digital images. “There’s nothing like seeing a print on your wall that can grow on you each day,” he replied. “A digital image in your computer will be easily forgotten. A good picture deserves to be showcased.”
So what makes a great print? Alex tells us that because “colours on computer screens are all calibrated differently, it is only when you have the print in your hand that you can judge the true colours.”
We talk about how important it is to replicate the subtlety and boldness of colour in any image and Alex enthuses, “A good print will pop out in front of your eyes and look three dimensional – it’s why I like the P607 printer. Its colour is so accurate, and nothing is ever over-saturated. Its print nozzles are so sensitive that they enable the printer to print with real accuracy.”
We asked Alex for his advice to young photographers and he recommended, “If you are really serious about photography, start printing your work today. Printing is so critical it will help you master your craft even during photo taking. If your work is just in your computer, then no one is going to see or react to it.”
For Alex, every print is an art piece. “Prints are what people react to and collect.” He only signs and sends prints to his collectors when they are perfect.
Wise words indeed from a photographer who has come a long way, and seen Mother Nature at her most beautiful through his lens.
He leaves us with this final thought. “A picture involves two people, the photographer and the viewer, whereas a print is the best way to communicate the emotion of the image.”