The first actual Eric Meola print I ever saw was a black and white image of a café called “Brenda’s Café” that Eric shot on a road trip in Nevada with Bruce Springsteen back in 1977. The rich blacks, the subtle grey tones, and the warm whites of this night time shot were so beautiful I was transported back in time to my early years working in custom black and white labs. The print smelled like a black and white print. It feels like double weight fiber based silver black and white paper, the kind we used to rock in trays of chemicals before we even knew that we ought to be wearing gloves and masks to protect us. I had no idea this gorgeous photograph that I so dearly prize is an inkjet print on ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk paper.
I sat down with Eric recently to talk about why he uses ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk paper exclusively and try to understand the “magic” that I felt when I saw, felt, and even smelled a print on this paper. Part of the answer is in the construction of the paper itself. It contains a baryta layer that gives it the distinctive aroma. Read more about ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk here on the ILFORD blog. This same kind of layer was also present in some of the heavyweight silver papers that we used to print in the darkroom. ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk is a warm based paper that uses no optical brighteners. These optical brighteners make the paper seem brighter than normal giving it a cool overall look.
Eric and I talked about the richness of the tones, the deep blacks, the permanence ratings just released by Wilhelm Imaging Research and the importance of print longevity. “I’ve always known that Gold Fibre Silk would have a high rating…and here’s the proof,” says Eric on the topic of these recent tests. “The reason color has never been really accepted in the curatorial world and never collected very much is simply you look back at some of the early C-prints that were made in the 50’s and 60’s and they’ve already faded to the point of non-recognition. So we needed this. We needed the paper, we needed the ratings, and finally it’s all coming together to the point where photographers can begin to, with confidence, make great prints that we know will stand the test of time.”
Listen to this short audio clip of our talk with Eric Meola about ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk inkjet paper and why he uses it for his black and white and color prints. Just click “play” icon on the audio bar below. Be sure to adjust the audio on the play bar:
Eric told me about a little experiment he did with an inkjet print that he’d made many years ago that had been in dark storage and a print made on ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk. He hung them both on a wall in his home that gets direct sunlight. Within a month the older inkjet print had faded dramatically and even though the Gold Fibre Silk was half covered, there was no line to indicate that there had been any fading at all. This made me very happy because I want my beautiful black and white print of “Brenda’s Café” to hang on my dining room wall for many, many years to come.
Be sure to visit Eric’s website to enjoy more of Eric’s beautiful and diverse images. And be sure to check out his new Blurb book called Recent Photographs by Eric Meola. Leaf through the entire book online and enjoy some Abstracts as well as photos of the volcanic eruptions and other subjects in Iceland in addition to some of my favorite photos from India and the Palouse region in Washington State.
Thanks for talking with us Eric about ILFORD GALERIE Gold Fibre Silk inkjet paper. Step up from the ordinary with ILFORD GALERIE inkjet papers for photographers.