Printing can be the most agonizing and frightening step in the entire photographic process. It's that one aspect of photography that, usually, you hand over to someone else and say, "Here. Create the final product. And please make me look good." I have had my share of printing disasters. Anyone who has thoroughly tested the market, as I have, will attest to the fact that you can print one image at 4 or 5 different printers and get back 4 or 5 completely different images falling at every point along the scale from dark and dirty to blown-out and contrasty. Of course, with most everything, I'm looking for that sweet spot that falls somewhere in the middle with even tones and delicately balanced colours (not too much magenta or yellow, as most printers tend toward these days). After my many hours invested I want the final product to reflect the time and attention I've dedicated to each image!
From a technical aspect, there are so many things that have to go right - from a properly calibrated monitor and accurate printer-specific colour profiling to fresh and well-balanced developing chemicals and the subjective yet fine-tuned eye of the printing professional handling each individual print. This is way more sophisticated than those 10 cent prints my mom would come home with from the local drug store (I think laws prohibit me from naming names - but you know who I'm talking about). Hey, I'm not knocking drug stores. The price is right. I don't even know how they can provide such an inexpensive product (Ok, well I do. They take a loss on photographic prints. It's just a tool to get customers in the door to spend money on other products... but that's a whole other topic). But when you're looking for custom colour accuracy and even tones for prints that you will cherish for a lifetime nothing compares to images that have been handled with extra special TLC and processed individually for the highest quality print.
All that said, here we are. A collection of prints that turned out beautifully - and I couldn't be happier.