RE: Hand collotype in process
I definitely don't want / can't afford a specific collotype press.
Remaking the plates is absolutely reasonable; partially hardened gelatin
doesn't sound something that you can keep well w/o experiencing changes in
its properties... (That's especially so when thinking how fresh and old
carbon tissue "from the same batch" works/reacts differently.) I presume you
need a pretty strictly controlled environment for professional work such
About reproductions and originals: I think it totally depends on how they
are served to the market. Both system can be used for making reproductions
or to produce originals. In any case - putting aside the value of image
itself - I will definitely value both collotypes and photogravures more
than inkjet prints, because they're special.
From: Tsuyoshi Ito [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: Hand collotype in process
You can use a letter press machine like Vandercook to make collotype.
Collotpye press are usually huge and I would only assume it is difficult to
find at this point.
The last company in US was Black Box in Chicago, and James Hajicek
transported a couple of huge presses to Arizona. I think the rest was simply
Yamamoto-san at Berido told me that they can run up to 300 copies out of a
plate, but they usually remake the plate before it reaches that point. Also
they do not usually keep plates after printing. They scrape the gelatin and
reuse glasses. If they want to run another batch, they start from making
Collotype is very unique and is a victim of own beauty. It can reproduce the
original so well that people thought they are always "reproductions" of
original. Whereas when we see photogravure, for instance, we are treating
them as another version of "original."
Though, of course the concept of original in photography is very elusive,
this is an interesting point.
At Benrido, they sometimes print historical scriptures on old paper since
collotype can pick up any subtlety and nuance of tones. They can also do
color by separating into CMYK or more. Or they can print more like old wood
block printing a layer by a layer sending color to specific parts of images.
I do have this beautifully printed brochure about Benrido which was a part
of the show in NY a couple of years ago. I would be happy to send it out to
anyone who is interested. Just let me know where to send off list.