You cannot beat a print on a wall. Making a photograph that you're proud of and then printing that out on paper can be massively rewarding. Every photographer, no matter what you shoot, should have their photographs printed.
Right, now that's out of the way...
Just before Christmas 2013 I ordered a print from Martin Bailey. Martin is a British-born, Japan-based Nature & Wildlife photographer whose work I simply adore.
One of the reasons I was so keen to order a print from Martin, as opposed to any other photographer wasn't just because of the excellent quality of Martin's photography though. Martin has also literally written the book on printing! Check out Martin's Craft & Vision eBook 'Making the Print'. In Making the Print Martin clearly shows an attention to detail that tells you know he knows exactly what he's talking about. Furthermore Martin gives plenty of tips and advice about how to actually shoot a photograph with the end print in mind. There are some incredibly simple techniques that you can apply to your shooting that will dramatically increase the impact, the quality and the consistency of your prints.
It's for those reasons that I wanted to order a print from the man himself. For my first Martin Bailey print I opted for 'The Journey Begins' - a dramatic monochrome photograph of a dandelion flower. You can see the original photograph over on Martin's website, but here is a photograph Martin sent me just as he'd finished the print, before dispatching it to the UK:
Receiving this photograph of the print from Martin got me all excited and giddy. Each day I'd track it's progress: It took just two days to get from Japan to Coventry here in the UK to a delivery point. There, it took 4 days to get to Berkshire where I live...typical eh! Now it's here though I'm totally blown away with the quality.
One of the things about this print that I can't quite get across to you in the photographs I've made below, is how deep and rich the blacks are and how beautifully crisp and brilliant the whites are in direct contrast. It's such a simple subject, the humble dandelion flower, but it has such impact purely because of the black and white conversion and the simply superb job that Martin has done of the print. Wonderful! After removing it from the tube and then removing the wrapping from the outside and then slowly unrolling it, as if it were some sort of treasure map, I genuinly, literally took in a deep breath as it opened. I stared at it for a few minutes, just inspecting all of the details and the quality.
I've had prints done from labs for clients from the likes of Loxely Colour, OneVision, Whitewall and The Print Space, but in truth none of them have had this amazing feel of quality to them. Whether that's because Martin has more experience and is more of an artisan, whether it's because the original shot is just better for printing, whether it's the paper or the printer or all of the above I can't quite say. All I can say is that I've now got to raise my game and make my prints have this same effect on my clients.
It was only right that I photograph the unpackaging of a genuine Martin Bailey Print, so please do have a look at this 'unboxing' gallery:
(Click to view in Lightbox & Gallery View)
So, all I have to do now is find a means to mount this. I think this one will be going in my office, rather than somewhere else in the home. This is a photograph that I'll be enjoying in my place of work. It'll also be a nice backdrop behind me for when I do Google+ Hangouts and other video calls ;)
What do you think of the print and Martin Bailey's work? Have you read any of Martin's Craft & Vision eBooks? Drop a comment below and let me know.