Master Class

This week I attended a talk by Master Printer Jack Lowe, whose cutting edge digital work sets industry benchmarks around the world.

Jack’s passion and professionalism shone through, and you know when someone describes printing a test chart as a “joyous” experience that they are dedicated to, and obsessed with what they do.

This helps to explain why many of the UK’s top artists and photographers take their work to his studio in Hoult’s Yard in Newcastle upon Tyne, for printing and digital services. His client list is enviable, and a recent name roll includes Julian Germain, Andrew Shaylor, Alec Finlay, Paul Kenny, Dan Holdsworth, Julian Calverley, and Fiona Crisp; to name but a few. He is also printer of choice for BALTIC on Gateshead Quays, and he is a locus around which the best are gathered.

It is always a pleasure to listen to a craftsman at the top of their professional field sharing their enthusiasm, and Jack’s talk re-enforced the importance of trying to make prints that are beautiful objects in their own right. Jack is one of the few people that have the ability to take negatives or Raw files and turn them into prints that ooze quality, and have a luminance and power. Studio Blog Jack also writes Digital Basics, an excellent guide to digital photography workflow.

Jack Lowe

This talk was also a reminder that it is easy to forget that tripping the shutter on a camera is only the first step towards making a picture, especially in an age when the majority of pictures are never printed, and are merely consigned to a CD or a hard-drive (something which in time may become the dustbin of much recent photographic/social history).

To even begin to make prints of any real quality or permanence you must have full control, and a comprehensive understanding, of each and every variable within the photographic process, from camera, to software, to printer, paper, and inks. You need to know the potential of your equipment and materials, and know how to unlock that, and must also pay attention to the finest of details. Throughout this process it is also important to have a strong visualisation of the final picture, and then whilst printing, quality control must be strictly enforced. One of a photographers most important tools is the waste bin.

“The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it.” – Edward Weston

2 comments to Master Class

  • Hi Roger,

    Thank you so much for your kind comments.

    I very much enjoyed my time with the group and the warm welcome I received.

    I shall look forward to seeing you again soon.

    Best wishes,