The newest buzz word in giclée photo printing is ‘Baryta’. New to the world of 21st Century digital printing, baryta papers actually have their roots in high quality monochrome printing papers from a hundred years ago.
Baryta = barium-sulphate, a clay-like coating that is applied to a fiber paper. Now on traditional photo papers with light sensitive emulsions it acts to whiten the paper, produces a high degree of reflectivity, and as well provides a ground for the emulsion. Some of the finest photographic papers that were ever created, such as Multigrade IV FB and Ilfobrom Galerie FB, were Baryta coated.
Now, on a new breed of papers designed for giclée photo printing with pigment-based inks (Alden Fine Print & Co. always use pigment based inks for giclée printing) here Baryta is being used not to hold a chemical emulsion but rather to provide a smooth reflective coating, one that is delicious to touch and view at various angles.
Matte vs. Glossy
Anyone who’s ever been through the chemical darkroom must realised that we are now in the Golden Age of Photo Printing. We have a range of papers beyond the imagination of a previous generations, new substrates are realised ever year. Though at somepoint it does come down to one simple choice: matt or glossy.
Matte papers are based on either alpha-cellulose (wood fiber) or cotton rag fiber. Their appeal lies in their “look” and “feel“. These papers are similar to the papers used for traditional fine art painting and illustration. They have a texture – provide a tactile experience that is simply lacking in photo papers (C-Type and giclée), which traditionally have been constructed on a plastic base.
These plastic (resin coated) papers have the advantage of much higher reflectivity and thus they allow for the use of Photo Black ink, rather than the Matte Black ink that fiber papers have till now required. This produces blacker blacks and more saturated colours.
The bottom line is that for the past 10 years we have had the choice of matte papers with their appealing tactile feel but subdued look, with reduced colour gamut and lower dMax, and plastic photo papers with their higher Dmax and more saturated palette but less appealing tactility.
This is the problem that the paper industry has been trying to solve for the past couple of years – produce a paper optimised for pigment inks, which offers a suitable bulk yet smooth surface, along with a high degree of reflectivity, high Dmax, and wider colour gamut.
These new papers are not your average ‘photo paper’, their new form of ammunition is Baryta. We’re delighted to stock several examples. Contact Alden Fine Print & Co, if you’d like to see a sample of your work printed on Baryta.