Photo Polymer Artist’s proof
Feb 2022. Photo Polymer. Hahnemühle. 590x420cms
Artists’ Proof. Master Printed by Justin Sanders.
Having heard of the Photo Polymer process, but never used it, I discussed an image I had and how it might work with Justin Sanders, Master Printmaker and Senior Technician in the Print Room. The image is an enlargement of a microscopic digital scan of bone marrow cells, taken from me, through a biopsy to assess the extent of a blood cancer: Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). The image is beautiful in its detail and irregular cell patterning, delivering a planetary, rather than micro ambience. The paradox is that many of the cells are mutations that need to be controlled to cure the cancer. Thus, the title of an ongoing series ‘Deceptively Beautiful’.
Justin informed me that photo polymer was a modern technique he had been experimenting with Digital Technician Luke Pickering and had developed a methodology to print on to the plastic polymer coated sheet, through a digital printer. They had made a number of test-strips and suggested a plate could be printed of the cell image.
I supplied the image file to Justin and Luke, who printed on to the plate, and a few days later when dry, Justin inked it, much like a traditional etching, and proofed it. It certainly delivered an atmospheric image with deep blacks, bright highlights, and continuous tones, all without a half tone or aquatint. ‘Image to Plate’. The print had a ‘volcanic, shifting plates’ ambience. Justin suggested a ‘torn edge’ could take the sharp edge off the circle. He applied torn tissue paper to the plate, laid the heavy paper over it, rolled the press and revealed a second proof with a softer, irregular shape akin to the ‘Deceptively Beautiful’ cell formations.
E. Jonnie Turpie, February 2022.