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  1. #1

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    Fine Art Prints: Glossy or Matte?

    What is the general consensus here for fine art prints? I know Ansel Adams preferred glossy papers, but my school's classes prefer matte papers.

    I have seen firsthand that glossy papers tend to reveal every last bit of the negative's potential: scratches where applicable, and also seem to hold more detail to my eye. On the other hand, matte papers don't show smudges, dust, or fingerprints. They have the ability to hide some scratches on the negative to me as well.

    When submitting work to a portfolio or gallery, which is generally preferred?

  2. #2

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    Luster or Pearl. HA!

    Whatever you like. You are the artist. It doesn't matter what we think.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  3. #3
    Tony Egan's Avatar
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    Glossy as a rule or observation. FB glossy is of course very different to RC glossy and FB is the standard for enlarged B&W exhibition prints. But rules are meant to be broken! If only RC was available I would probably not go glossy. I just don't like that look.
    Many major exhibitions/retrospectives where I live now seem to be going for inkjet prints due to cost and convenience. i.e. very few quality silver printers left, paper is expensive and availability declining, spotting is costly and the big pro labs are basically all digital now. Precious negatives can be drum-scanned, clone-spotted once in PS and put back in the vault with multiple digital prints available for sale at reasonable prices thereafter.

    If the work is great the medium will be a secondary consideration!!

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    In general natural unglazed glossy FB prints. I'm not sure that matt surfaces hided scratches, but you shouldn't have them in the first place

    Ian

  5. #5
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Completely and totally up to you. There is no paper surface preferred by galleries, museums or collectors. It is only a matter of personal taste. A gallery wants to see what suits you, not what you think others will like. I choose a matt surface and have done so for years. It has the look, feel and sensibility I am after and I have never had any issues with any of the above rejecting my work based on this. Best of luck with your choice.

    Bill

  6. #6

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    I choose the paper based on how I want the print to look. Not surprisingly, I change my mind over time. ;>)

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7

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    I beleive that the paper type depends on the image. Certain images look better in glossy rather than matte and vice versa. But for images that seem to be very neutral in that sense I tend to go with a pearl.

    When i print I usually print on pearl to begin with and then make a finished print on glossy and on matte and look at all three side by side to make my decision.

  8. #8

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    I used to prefer glossy, but I've slowly changed my preference to matte.
    Go with what you like best


    I have noticed, though, that matte paper wont completely hide fingerprints. I've had a few of mine show up when I carelessly handled a few prints (just test prints that really dont matter to me). I've noticed that they seem to show up in the darker areas of the prints, or that's where I have noticed them the most.
    Last edited by WGibsonPhotography; 05-05-2009 at 12:23 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: just felt like I needed to edit something :)

  9. #9
    keithwms's Avatar
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    It may be blazingly obvious, but consider how you plan to present your work before the customer. Under glass or not? Will people be looking at something hanging on a wall, or will they be handling the raw prints or matted prints?

    My own feeling is that nothing beats a fiber matte print in the hands- it feels more opulent in the fingers, and gives the impression that the image is in the paper. But mounted under glass with controlled lighting... then it's a wash IMHO. But if and when I ever show something, there will be no glass involved, if I can help it.

    But it's definitely true that your choice may (and probably should) depend on the image.

    P.S. Regarding fingerprints, I find that those anti-oil face-wipe papers that you can get in a typical skin-care section of a store can sometimes do wonders. The ones that I use are little blue things with no liquid on them and no powder comes off. They seem to work quite well on lenses as well.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  10. #10

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    Tony, as a gallery owner that sells quite a bit of photography we have found that not many are worried about whether it is matte or glossy. What is of importance is the fact that all of our prints are printed to archival standards. Hope this helps. Don

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