Alistair Baird- Saturday 15th Sept 2018

Alistair from The Dark Room came to the club to discuss and provide details of what is provided by the company. Alistair began by giving us some background information of how he started as a photographer working locally for 7-8 years in a factory based environment. Throughout the years he then began developing other people’s film in labs. It was in 1992 that he then purchased the business of The Dark Room with his business partner Barry.

It was in 2006 that digital totally transformed the way in which cameras and imaging was being used and the move to working with fine arts started. In 2008 fine art productions took off and with his previous knowledge of developing film and working with colour helped the moved to producing art gallery quality printing.

Over the years with different customers The Dark Room diversified in the products they could provide. Debby Hooper was instrumental in the insistence of providing customers with printing cards. So after researching Intec in Poole and asking lots of questions, it was decided on the journey home, they would invest in a card machine.

The main issue with this was to find a paper that didn’t ‘crack’ when folded, which meant more research into the grain of the paper. Long grain made for a better card and allows flexibility when folded.

When artists come to The Dark Room art work is photographed rather than scanned and this is done on a digital camera. It’s only when the piece of art being photographed are larger than A3 then they are photographed on a traditional SLR. For anyone wanting something photographed through glass, this is also not an issue for Alistair except that lighting conditions have to be right and without reflection.

Alistair explained that it is always useful to know what the customer wants the images for, as the process can be different for specific requirements. The materials used also make a big difference to fine art printing and varies depending on the client. Paper has the biggest variation, with smooth, textured, cream, ivory, white, and the pigment reaction to these elements. Cotton rag papers, Alistair explained are best used with pigment inks to give the best quality, this would be classed as a ‘giclee’ print or fine art print. The art work itself also lends itself to the paper used; say a smooth paper for fine pencil but watercolour textured paper can reflect colours better.

Colours are colour matched as closely as possible at The Dark Room and it’s always best to go through the process with Alistair. He never compromises on the inks/dies and toners he uses and always buys original makes.  His great advice, was make notes if you do print at home and don’t chop and change papers, sometimes it’s best to stick with what you know. But if anyone did need the services of The Dark Room, it’s always best to phone ahead and make an appointment with notes of your requirements before you get there.
Open: Mon to Fri  – Tel: 01242 239031

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