Wild horses couldn't drag me away!
For ten years I have been printing my work for portfolio, exhibition and print sales, onto the fantastic Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm paper. I have had no reason to look to other papers to print on other than perhaps cost, but as with so many things in life, you get what you pay for. Its quality is unsurpassed, with a great tonal range and depth to the prints; the density that can be achieved in the blacks is amazing.
So when I was sent the PermaJet Classic Fine Art inkjet print media to try out by Wex Photographic I thought there was no chance I'd be contemplating a shift of allegiance to PermaJet. Not true!
Other photographers I know had talked glowingly about PermaJet paper but my ears were closed. So when I opened PermaJet's box of Classic Fine Art fibre based gloss paper that I was sent, I got a very pleasant surprise. Quality! Back in the days of wet process printing, it was a luxury for me to print on Ilford's Gallerie paper, which I reserved for my best negatives only. The sheer weight of the paper, double-weight, was enough to get me excited and the range and depth of tones achievable made printing with it a real pleasure. Well, this PermaJet Classic Fine Art media has the same quality as that, and trust me, that's saying something.
At a paper weight of 295gsm it has a very satisfying feel in the hands and the PermaJet Classic Fine Art paper 'texture' is lovely to look at. Some papers with a texture look like they are trying too hard, watercolour, woven and the rest. The Classic Fine Art has what PermaJet describe as an 'undulating but smooth surface' finish. It's beautiful.
I chose to print both a colour (above) and monochrome (top) image as a test for the PermaJet Classic Fine Art paper and both produced excellent results. Now, it's no good printing onto good paper with a not-very-good printer or from a poor digital file, as this will not give the paper a chance to do the images justice. The images that I tested were printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 4880 with digital file sizes of 100MB, so the PermaJet Classic Fine Art paper had an opportunity to produce the goods.
The monochrome image (selected for the Association of Photographers Awards) was originally shot using Polaroid Type 55 so it had an inherent 'softness' about it. Having been drum scanned, all the detail was there too. Printing this image onto the PermaJet paper was, dare I say it, easy. The range of tone was up there with my favoured Hahnemuhle photo rag paper. Equally so with the colour image I selected to test, the paper gave the highest colour gamut achievable, true and vibrant. I'm a bit of a purist and am not easily wooed by a print. If it doesn't have a 'look and feel' of quality then I'm always a bit disappointed. Not so here. The Permajet Classic Fine Art paper is so good I would be very happy to use this paper for my exhibition prints. It's not cheap mind, but if you are thinking of splashing out on some real quality for your very best images, then you'd be hard pushed to better this paper.