Printing – The Papers Finish

During our fibre based printing workshop today, we worked with a new type of paper, that I had not come across before, and it was matte in its finish, and made with fibres rather than resin. They had such a lovely feel to them, because sometimes I find that shiny finishes like gloss, don’t always work the best, and often look like a standard photo, as if not a lot of thought has gone into the decision of printing.

However the way my photo’s are printed will play a huge role in the overall outcome of my work,  as for my project to be successful the photographs need to look old. I find that glossy photos keep too well, so for the worn out look, I want to use a matte finish paper.

I have contacted two photo paper companies asking for their recommendations and/or samples that can be tested. As a last resort, I used a matte fine art paper last year during the Here to There unit, that I can experiment with this time round.

When it comes to staining the photo’s I know that it will take more to a matte finish, in fact it won’t take to a gloss finish at all. I know that I want a variety of different photos, so perhaps some I should print in gloss or pearl and then others in matte, to add a variety to the material of the photograph.


It’s difficult to tell from a scan because it is more about the physicality of the photograph, in which you can run your fingers across the surface, it slightly feels rubbery in a sense. You can roughly tell that it doesn’t have a shine to it from the depth of the blacks.

It was such an enjoyable process in the darkroom, and I am always dubious to committing to doing an entire unit in film, but I have felt like this term has given me a lot more practice in the dark room, and how it’s not restrictive, how I found it previously. I took a strong disliking to shooting film and printing in the darkrooms, but now knowing about colour processing, liquid light, fibre based printing and doing the chemicals by hand I feel a lot more equipped and knowledgeable on the subject matter. However I am glad that I have been/ am shooting in digital for this unit, as I would have found the pressure of learning it and being expected to shoot an entire project on it, too demanding and stressful.


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