A Thousand Words
Whether opened by museums, galleries or individual photographers, photo exhibits are showcasing ink-jet prints created with Epson Archival Inks. Photographers and artists can now produce truly archival, photographic quality color ink-jet prints that will last generations. For Paul Outerbridge and Randall Lee Schieber, old and new technology inspires art.
The "Outer" limits
Previously unseen Paul Outerbridge color photos were reprinted and shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The collection, "Flight Patterns," was reprinted using Epson archival printer and inks. "Recreated from slides," explains Graham Howe, director of Curatorial Assistance in Pasadena, "the Epson pigment prints of Outerbridge's photographs display accurate, bright color and a 200-year archival permanence that we haven't seen since the photographer created his own prints with the carbro-color process."
Outerbridge was first known as a photographer and carbro-color enthusiast in the 1920s, when his modernist abstractions were published in magazines, including Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar and Paris Vogue. During his years in Paris, he counted famous friends among his circle, such as Man Ray, Picasso and Stravinsky—all of whom similarly experimented with modern technique and creative output. But the photographer first experimented with carbro-color prints of nudes and still lifes upon returning to New York in the 1930s. No longer in use, the carbro-color was the last truly archival color process. Each print took nine hours to make and labs charged $1,500 to produce a single print at the time. As a result, Outerbridge only published about 200 color prints. Today, however, the rare vintage prints capture upwards of $300,000 each on the auction market.
For the recent show, Howe, who doubles as Outerbridge's biographer and collector, worked with MOCA curator Connie Butler to display the digitized photographs. The collection was taken in California and Mexico in 1955 during the photographer's retirement, but rather than using traditional color chemistry to produce Cibachrome C- or R-type prints, printmaker Randy Green of Muse [X] editions output the Outerbridge photos with the Epson Stylus Photo 2000P ink-jet printer on Archival Matte Paper. Among the subjects are street children in Mexico, carnival carriages of passengers dressed and bound for celebrations and landscapes—all of which required expert attention be paid to pixel and pigment.