I exported the images from Lightroom to a new directory, keeping the color space ProPhoto and using psd as the file format. I opened Photoshop and used the batch feature of Perfect Resize to get the 16 smaller images to native printer resolution. I made a pot of tea while the program did its work. I checked all the images at 1:1, and they looked good. Then I resized the big image and checked it.
I once took a workshop on selling photographs at the CPA from Josephus Daniels, at the time a gallery owner in Carmel. Joe taught me that California state law requires that photographers include on the photograph (or its mat, if it’s permanently mounted) the following information: the photographer’s name and contact information, a unique identifier for the negative (this was before digital capture was popular), the date the negative was made, a unique identifier for the print, and the date the print was made. Joe also said that the photographer was required to keep records of to whom she sold what photographs. I haven’t seen a copy of whatever statute Joe was referring to, and I haven’t had anyone else tell me the same thing in the intervening twenty-some-odd years, but I have been doing what the man said for all this time, changing “negative” to “exposure” as I abandoned film.
At first I had a rubber stamp made, stamped the back of the mount, and filled in the blanks in pencil. Later, after I had been educated in the archival evils of dry-mounting, I just put the information in pencil on the back of the print.
My handwriting is awful. It was never great, and fifty years of using computers and communicating by typing has made it even worse. I always cringed when I looked at my childish scrawls on the back of my prints. For these prints, I thought I’d do something different: use the inkjet printer to identify the photograph. Simple, huh? But I had some choices to make.
The first was whether to put the text on the front or the back of the print. I liked the idea of putting it on the back, but was nervous about scuffing the front by putting the paper through the printer twice. I reluctantly gave up on this approach.
Then I had to decide what program to use to print the image and the text. I could use Photoshop, with the text in a separate layer, but I chose InDesign for its greater flexibility and positioning assistance. I created a blank document consisting of 16 C-sized pages, and placed the correctly-sized photographs one to a page. I created a text block with the information that would be the same for each image and pasted a copy on each page. I ran into one problem: the tallest image left me no room for the text block. I could put the information by hand on the back, or reduce the image width to 18 inches. I was torn, so I set that decision aside while I dealt with the rest of the images.
I printed a test image full size on Exhibition Fiber, both from Photoshop and InDesign. I wanted to make sure that InDesign wasn’t doing any processing on the image. I examined both critically, and found them to be identical. I wasn’t quite done, though; the text was too black, and pulled my eyes away from the image. Even though the text was going to be covered up by the mat and probably never seen by anyone, I wanted it to look right for some reason. I set the ink level to 50% black, and made another test print. Much better.
I told InDesign to print all the pictures, and fed paper into the 4900 until it was done. The printer was on its best behavior. Normally every third of fourth sheet misfeeds, but not this time. I wish I knew what I did differently.
Between loading sheets into the 4900, I set up to print the large image on the 9800. The biggest sheet paper I have on hand is 24×36, and the image is 30×24.5, so I had to print it on roll paper. I loaded a 44 inch roll of Hahnemuhle Photo Rag and made a print. I could tell before it was done that it was going to be too light. I guess I was wrong about the Dmax of matte paper being sufficient for the big print. After looking at the Exhibition Fiber prints all afternoon, the Photo Rag print just looked wimpy.
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