Working, as I do, with a printer I have adapted to print with six shades of black ink, I am just as concerned with the quality of the paper I am printing to. After accidentally finding a pack of Awagami?fs Bizan paper in their small shop in Osaka some years ago, I have steadily pursued a workflow utilizing this wonderful paper. I spent time at their factory in Japan where I was lucky enough to be able to print a portfolio of work on Bizan as well as exhibiting in their museum. Bizan has character without overwhelming the image. The paper has a wonderful strength so that it can be hung unframed. The surface texture is subtle and never interferes with the photographic detail I need to retain in my images. The tonal scale it can display is long and deep. The shadows are rich, the highlights delicate.
The fact that this is a handmade paper with deckle edges on all sides make it ideal for portfolios that will be exhibited without glass over them allowing the viewers full access to the image surface. Bizan is the best fine-art inkjet paper I have worked with and I recommend it highly for those who are interested in a paper that is versatile while maintaining its own unique character.
Firstly, A.I.J.P is different from all other papers I’ve tried.Then, with digital pigment printing, we are always looking for a sensitivity of the prints. Artists, as the printer always try to restore a single quality every time. With Kozo, Inbe or hand made Bizan papers by Awagami we can get this unique quality; a kind of emotion that binds together the ink, the printed image and the light reflected at the surface of the paper. Natural White or Warm White, Awagami Factory papers bring a special quality of achievement to a fine art print. Both in large sheets or in the portfolio, I love printing on papers that further improveme the quality of work.
About two years ago, while I was searching long and hard for an inkjet paper on which to print my series Farewell to Manzanar, I happened upon Awagami Unryu 55. It turned out to be the solution/end to my quest. Not only is it perfect for the Manzanar project, it has become, for much of my work, the only paper I use. In fact, it changes my way of photographing–from preconception, viewing, to the finished print. It is animate–there is no other way to say it–there are real cloud dragons with ancient souls in this paper. I love its translucency, how it floats on a mat, and how it breathes. It is delicate, yet extremely strong. Unryu 55 adds a unique organic character to each print. I am very happy to recommend this gorgeous, complex Awagami inkjet paper.
As a professional photographic artist I insist on having an intimate relationship and knowledge of my materials. From conception to final presentation every detail matters. As a member of Freestyle Photographic Supplies executive management team I have unique access to every product on the market. I have made it my personal goal to understand inkjet printing at such a level that I routinely present seminars at schools, photo clubs, trade shows and professional organizations all over the United States on the topic of inkjet paper and digital printing.
I characterize my work as “turning ordinary images in to extraordinary prints” matching precisely the right paper to express my specific vision for each image I create. I have personally printed on just about every inkjet paper available on the market and the full range of Awagami Inkjet Papers stand out as a product I consider nothing less than “transformational”.
A.I.J.P. is not for the casual user. You have to know the paper. Feel it. Understand what it can do and integrate this knowledge in to your vision when composing your image. The unique character and personality of A.I.J.P resounds in every printed photograph in a manner that is unlike any other paper on the market. Each image becomes precious. Each image becomes unique. Each image makes a statement. When choosing A.I.J.P you exert your specific individual artist signature upon the world.
….As the collector and gallerist Jung Lee said to me, “To an artist, paper is like a drug.” Simply place a piece of fresh paper in front of an artist and he or she will become euphoric, stimulated, and creative; take the paper away, and the artist may experience the same pangs of withdrawal I felt after returning home from my visit to the Awagami Factory in Japan. Every variety of paper offers a different set of possibilities, and Awagami’s “Bizan” paper is no exception; the naturally heterogeneous surface of the handmade Bizan paper naturally projects more character than a smooth, manufactured white paper, revealing a veritable galaxy of textures to inspire the artist. Bizan also accepts ink beautifully, enabling phenomenally rich darks and lending superb highlight detail to whites, making it a natural choice for prints by artists as accomplished and uncompromising as Chuck Close.