One of the bigger developments of this process over the past few years has been the direct-to-plate method. This involves printing the image directly on a plate using the front manual feed of the printer. The microscopic dots from the printer’s stochastic pattern acting like, and replacing the need for, an aquatint screen. After a brief exposure to UV light (without any screen, film or contact frame) the ink is washed off and the plate processed as normal. After this it’s the same as usual – ink, wipe and pull a print. Not having a screen and film positive eliminates a lot of the obstacles that many fall foul of; dust and insufficient contact being the two main culprits.
I offered this optional way of working to a workshop many years ago but it was still a fairly new method then, and although most of the participants got really good results, a few images, especially those that had a lot of detail in the lighter tones, were lacking. So I’ve been working on getting the adjustment curve perfected and I think I’m there. The next MCAD workshop starts this week and I think it’s going to be a whole lot of fun!
The Badlands, SD — Direct to Plate polymer photogravure (apologies for the low quality iPhone photo)