I’ve been printing a lot in gelatin-silver lately, both for myself and for clients. For my work I’ve found I’m moving away from the pure matte paper I used to love, Ilford Multigrade Matte, and more towards semi-matte or glossy papers. In an ideal world I’d like a paper surface that looked like the glossy unglazed prints we made in the 1970s and 1980s.
For a lot of prints I’ve settled on Adox MCC 110. A wonderful paper, much like the old Agfa Multicontrast Classic that dries with a gloss finish but not overly glossy or shiny. When processed in Ethol LPD the colour can be tweaked from cool to warmish too. I just wish it dried with a finish akin to that of the old Record Rapid.
Its sibling, Adox MCC 112, is a paper with a semi-matte surface that I thought I would really like when I read about it, but the blacks aren’t anywhere near as deep as I’d expect, even from a semi matte paper. And the surface I find a little strange. I won’t give up on it yet (I have the best part of a box left) but I am a little disappointed with it.
Then there’s Fomatone MG with its chamois surface. I love this paper. The surface is amazing and perfect for a lot of my work but the paper base is very warm, so it’s not for everyone. I’ll likely dry mount the prints, trimmed to the edge of the image, onto 2-ply museum board using the archival and reversible dry mount tissue Fusion 4000(above).
If I could buy a paper with Adox MCC 110’s neutral image colour and this chamois surface it would be everything I’d want from a paper.
Earlier in the year I bit the bullet and bought a Kwikprint hot foil stamping machine. This is used to foil stamp or blind deboss the names and titles onto books, portfolios and cases, pencils, matchbooks and napkins. Although I’d like to draw the line at cases.
You can buy fonts that are type-high and able to take the heat, but those can be quite expensive, as the best are made of brass. Alternatively, you can have magnesium dies made, as I have. With this method you’re not restricted in your choice of fonts and can use any typeface, glyph or logo and besides, magnesium sounds cooler than brass.
It’s a way off yet, but come Christmastime, I expect you’ll all be getting pencils with your names stamped on them.
Recently, I was going through my notebooks from a few years back, from the time I spent two weeks with Enrico Giannini in Florence learning about bookbinding, when I came across a quotation by him. He was trimming the inside edges of the book cloth, making them even on all sides, despite the fact that they would be covered by the end papers.
“It doesn’t matter, you won’t see it, but I want to win.”