Let us start by saying welcome to Moutife and that we think it’s great fun that you’ve found us. Our “elevator pitch” — or business idea, if you will — is to provide accessible photo art without compromising on quality. But what does that really mean?
We could give an extremely long answer to that question: going into great depth about different types of ink, explaining the characteristics of various types of paper. And we’re happy to do that, just not quite here and now. In future articles, together with our photographers, we will discuss in-depth photography and art prints.
When people talk about high quality photography and artistic prints, you may often hear terms thrown about like “Fine Art”, “Giclée” or even “Giclée Fine Art”. These concepts are not always easy to understand, or even clearly defined, for that matter. In short, however, all of these terms refer to an artistic graphic technique of inkjet printing.
For this article, we’re going to put the above terms, along with the many other trade expressions used in the industry, to one side. Instead, we thought we would tackle the subject in a simpler way, one we hope will suit all of our readers.
Somewhat simplified you can say that there are four “factors” that are all crucial to the quality of a print. Anyhow, we have chosen to divide them up this way in the hopes that it is a helpful way to think about it when you’re first learning about the subject. These four factors are the photograph, the paper, the ink, and the printer.
Somewhat simplified you can say that there are four “factors” that are all crucial to the quality of a print.
Paper from Hahnemühle
Some of our moftifs
Without a photograph there would be no print. Our photographers are of course our greatest asset. Without their photographs we wouldn’t have a product. Sure, we could have started with a long explanation about camera equipment, lighting conditions, the pros & cons of analogue versus digital images, the details of post-processing, and going through all sorts of obscure terms. But this we leave for future articles.
Our photographers are of course our greatest asset.
But it is important to note that the images our photographers deliver must be in an extremely high resolution. The image resolution is determined by the number of pixels in the photograph, which digital images comprise. The larger the size of a print, the higher resolution is needed to achieve the right quality. An acronym you may hear a lot is DPI, or “dots per inch”. 300 dpi has long been considered the standard within the printing industry, ensuring excellent quality even when the image is closely inspected. At this DPI, the pixels are so small that the human eye cannot distinguish them. If the images you are printing are not of a sufficiently high resolution, it won’t matter how good your paper, ink, or printer are.
If you were to search what you need to keep a printed photograph in good condition for life, you will likely encounter the term “archive quality.” Archive quality is the ability of media to preserve information for a long time. In our case, the medium is paper and the information is the photograph.
To preserve an art print for a long time, the paper needs to be of a certain quality. If you want your paper to have a long life, it should be acid-free (pH-neutral) and contain low levels of OBA (optical brightening agents). Honestly, the list of what makes good paper could go on for a while. The bottom line, however, is that the composition and properties of the paper determine how long it takes before it yellows, powders or cracks. Our ambition, of course, is to use paper that will last as long as possible before any of that happens, well upwards of a lifetime, if it is correctly maintained.
Therefore, we use acid-free paper, made of 100% alpha cellulose or textile fibers/cotton. At present, we work exclusively with paper made by the German manufacturer Hahnemühle. Hahnemühle has produced paper for over 400 years, and they are a name that is synonymous with quality. For many, it is the clear choice when it comes to paper for fine art printing.
For all of our “Open Edition” prints, we use a matte, 210 gram paper, made by Hahnemühle from 100% alpha cellulose. With a light texture yet a smooth surface, the paper guarantees excellent colour reproduction and clarity. It definitely does not disappoint.
For our limited edition prints (which you will soon find under the “Limited” section), we raise the bar even further, as high as we can take it. Limited Edition prints will come on Hahnemühle’s most exclusive cotton-based paper.
Ink like ink, you may think. In truth, the reality is just the opposite. Just like paper, ink selection is something of a jungle, and the selection is crucial for the quality and lifespan of your print. You should always look for a pigment-based ink for any of your prints.
For our prints, we use pigment-based inks from Epson, a well-known manufacturer of high quality inks. Further details on colour ranges, blacks, contrasts and tones are best saved for future articles, but we are pleased to say that we guarantee ink of the highest quality, specially adapted for the printers we use. Which leads us to our next point.
For our prints we exclusively use Epson printers, considered the clear choice for an artistic print by many photographers. To be more precise, we currently use a printer known as the Epson SureColor P10000, one of the market’s latest and most advanced large format printers. This printer, with ten individual ink cartridges, ensures that our prints do justice to our photographers’ works. In combination with the ink we mentioned above, we are able to create prints with great detail and colour reproduction.
To sum up
Our ambition is to deliver high-quality photo art that do justice to our photographers’ artwork, both in terms of image reproduction and the lifespan of the print. For our most exclusive prints, we are potentially talking about a life that spans across generations when properly cared for. Having said that, we have not compromised when it comes to quality on any of our products. We hope that this article shows our commitment and promise to maintaining high quality standards in everything we do. Whether you buy a print from our Open Edition collection or from one of our more exclusive Limited collections, we guarantee a product you can be proud of.