A couple of weekends ago I visited the Art Warehouse - part of a week of special art displays in Rotterdam, in layers of (supposed) sophistication starting with Art Rotterdam in the cruise terminal, Raw art and then the Art Warehouse in the old port warehouses.
This year I did not visit the main Art Rotterdam exhibition, in recent years I have found this too unusual ( allegedly avant-garde) for my taste.
Many of the items in this exhibition I find impossible to like or understand, as well as wondering who can afford to pay thousands of Euros for a piece of art which looks to me like it was made by a careless 2 year old, as well as wondering who would have the nerve to put these items in the exhibition in the first place.
Even in the Warehouse there was one wall hanging maybe 3 meters by 2 meters high, which looked as though it was made from old cardboard boxes which had been torn up, glued together and painted brown. Maybe its just my lack of artistic understanding but for a few thousand Euros I just dont get it.
I do like that you sometimes find some very high quality work displayed in a new way.
Which was why I was looking at some very high gloss images displayed in the Art Warehouse which were described on the name plates as metallic lambda aluminum dibond prints. The pictures looked great but I did not know what this print system involved.
Back home and checking on the internet I found some confusing descriptions but this seems the most complete,
- Lambda printing, or LightJet printing, produces the highest quality photographic prints available for large format printing display graphics from digital artwork. Whether the prints are onto photographic paper, film or Duratrans, Lambda printing gives sharp photographic images, continuous tone and high-impact color photographic prints. Lambda is the name and common reference to the process, equipment and product which has taken over from the traditional photographic process.
Lambda printing gives the highest resolution display graphics on the market today for high-impact trade show and retail displays or essentially anywhere that the highest quality and resolution is required. Using continuous tone digital technology, photographic display graphics are produced by transferring images directly from computer generated digital files to reflective or backlit photographic materials without the need of a negative. Within the equipment, there are three lasers, red, green and blue, which are merged into a single beam that simultaneously exposes the photographic material, producing the image in a single pass. The photographic material is then processed in the same manner as traditional photography by developing the photographic material in a "wet" film processor. By using the lasers, the total image is crisp and precise edge to edge, with no distortion. All of this means that the quality of a Lambda print will be much better in terms of clarity, sharpness and in color saturation than other large format printing processes.
In simple terms you seem to end up with a very high quality photographic print bonded between 2 sheets of high gloss plexiglass or a sheet of aluminum and plexiglass. This creates an extremely high gloss looking picture, and needs a very complicated looking machine to make.
Not every image would look good printed this way but for some subjects it clearly adds a very sophisticated finish. These were all big pictures of more than 1 metre wide so already quite striking and selling for high amounts in the 5 to 10 thousand Euros each.
The most interesting thing was that a lot of these of photographs were not of real subjects , that is you could not just take these with a camera, rather they were composed of many cut outs of other images, built together in many layers in a kind of a digital collage. Sometimes you could tell this in the image immediately, in others the manipulation only became apparent after you had been looking for sometime, very cleverly done because once you saw it - then the technique was suddenly apparent all over the image, leaving me surprised that I had not seen it straight away.
I took a few sneaky pictures with my iPhone when the security staff where looking the other way, but although the pictures are ok they are not able to bring out the detail and depth of the originals. I include some website images and links so you can go and look yourself at some better versions and some more of their images
These were truly stunning images giving a depth of image and subtly which is impossible to describe in words, made from multiple layers of image these appeared absolutely true to life but as you looked you could see things which could not possibly be there in a simple photograph
|Copyright Ysabel Lemay|
In these images the technique is more apparent - but only once you spot what's going on - looks like its a typical if rather busy street scene somewhere in Asia, but as you look closely you realize that the plants on the front of the building are actually pictures of houseplants over-layed on the front of the building.
|Copyright Joseph Klibansky|
Christian's pictures were more real life subjects (at least I think so !) shown in a different way, the depth of feel and color in these images is amazing. The sample image is a shop / market stall in the middle east but if you look on his web site there are some really fantastic images of sand dunes in the dessert - take a look and just try and imagine these printed 2 meters wide
|Copyright Christian Voight|
I am now looking for a print shop where I can have one or two of my brighter images printed in this style.
Footnote - I have used some images whose copyright is owned by others to illustrate my admiration of their work, and in the hope that you will also like it and go and look at their websites