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Hahnemühle gets the look dead right

Posted on Jul 15, 2023

Studio Deadly Digital sees prints come alive with Hahnemühle Digital FineArt inkjet paper

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Deadly Digital, based in Glasgow, is part of an international network of Hahnemühle-certified studios and laboratories, supporting photographers and artists in finding and selecting the right printer.

Naturally, to become officially certified requires the studio to focus on printing excellence, quality, consistency and service – all, in this case, with the Hahnemühle Digital FineArt collection.

“We go through quite a lot of it,” Deadly Digital MD James Gaughan observes, “as there are five or six different Hahnemühle papers that we regularly use. There’s both a photographic and a fine art side to our business, so we’re using everything from the rougher-surface papers to high-end, glossy ones.”

A true favourite of Gaughan’s is Hahnemühle’s Photo Rag Ultra Smooth, which carries the tradition of the original FineArt inkjet paper but is even more refined. This is a white, 100% cotton, 305gsm paper that has a very fine textured surface and a striking, silky feel. Its matt inkjet coating ensures impressive colour reproduction, detail and deep blacks – making it well suited to printing monochrome photography.

At the time of speaking, James and the Deadly Digital team were poised to print up to 20 black & white, 2x1m portraits taken by Glaswegian street photographer Simon Murphy, whose project focuses on characters frequenting the Govanhill locality. These are due to be exhibited in October at Street Level Photoworks, a local photography hub. It therefore helps that Hahnemühle’s Photo Rag Ultra Smooth FineArt inkjet paper is of museum standard.

“The archival quality of the paper and the fact the prints will be around for 100 years is part of the appeal,” notes Gaughan, adding: “It works well for black & white images – there’s density in the blacks and the prints come out really punchy, with a high-end look and feel.”

Deadly Digital’s boss is also a fan of a second matt FineArt paper option, in Hahnemühle German Etching. This is a white, museum-grade, 310gsm art paper made from 100% alpha cellulose, characterised by a velvety, tactile feel. “We use it mainly for printing multiple editions of works by painters. It can also work very well with a documentary style of photography – say for example if you have a portrait of someone with a really bushy beard, the paper’s tactile surface texture can add a unique, three-dimensional feel and depth.” 

The same goes for Hahnemühle’s Hemp paper, part of the specialist’s TIPA World Awards-winning Natural Line of FineArt inkjet papers. This is a 290gsm white paper comprised of 60% hemp fibre and 40% cotton, with a lightly textured surface that, as with Photo Rag Ultra Smooth, lends the paper a pleasantly silky feel.

In short, when print studio Deadly Digital seeks to create long-lasting exhibition-quality prints for the photographers it collaborates with, it knows that, thanks to Hahnemühle Digital FineArt inkjet paper, it can get the look dead right.

Originally published in Issue 109 of Photography News.

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