Last week, a longstanding project came to fruition with a trip to the BC Mainland, and Hemlock Printers in Burnaby, to oversee the printing of two images from the portfolio: Wooden Roller Coaster, 1986, and Broadway & Heather, 1983.
As I say, it was a slowly-evolving project, conceived well over a year-ago and discussed with graphic designer Jaye Haworth. I began searching for an affordable offset printer — who could also be trusted to reproduce my photographs with a high degree of fidelity.
Eventually, I was referred to Hemlock Printers. Established in 1968, Hemlock is renowned for quality work and commitment to high environmental standards. I was thrilled when they agreed to take on my modest job. Sales rep Gord Wright dropped off some samples of their work at the studio, including a beautiful issue of LensWork (print edition), featuring duotone images.
That was last fall.
The winter blahs and illness pushed things out until February, when I began preparing images for Jaye to incorporate into camera-ready art. Inspired by the LensWork magazine, I dove into the world of duotones, which are reproduced with two inks — a neutral grey and a second pantone colour. This gives a greyscale image greater depth and, optionally, a colour tone.
Gord and the staff at Hemlock offered professional support at every step. Once they received finished artwork, it was a matter of days before I got the first proofs, once again delivered to my studio. I made a couple of changes (including a typo I’d introduced some time ago on this site and then duplicated in the information I provided Jaye) and we were ready to go.
I got the 9am ferry on Friday. After a sunny trip across the Salish Sea, Gord met me at the Mainland terminal and drove me to Hemlock’s state-of-the-art 79,000 square foot facility, situated, it turned out, not far from the former site of a lock factory I worked at, right after high school.
After checking into a private client room (The Maple Room), the press run, scheduled for 11am, was soon under way. Pressmen Dave Magnuson and Nick Austin operated the giant Heidelberg 4-colour press (using two plates) like true experts. Similar to the procedure I use in my “digital darkroom,” test prints are produced, examined, adjustments made, and, once deemed satisfactory — signed off on by the client — the final run is started. The Heidelberg made short work of my relatively small job.
Originally shot on black-and-white film on a Mamiyaflex medium-format camera, there’s plenty of detail in the scanned images. They hold up well at 18″x18″ on these 24″x30″ posters and the duotones, not to mention the craftsmanship of the Hemlock crew, really do them justice.