Photographer Fred Eral is bringing ChromaLuxe to the ‘Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie’ in Arles

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself, I’m Fred Eral, a photographer who lives and works in the South of France, in Arles, in the heart of the Camargue.

To give you an idea, Arles is the city that organises the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie. During the first week of the festival, there were 13,500 visitors and every year I exhibit my work in the Festival Off.

For over 10 years I have worked as a photographer, exhibiting in France and abroad; I have had many publications in various magazines, in the press, and have been exhibited in the Galerie d’Art in Belgium.

Most of my work as a photographer revolves around the Nature and by ‘posing’ Man; specifically, the Artistic Nude Male in a natural environment whereby Nature figures prominently with the Human. For the last three years my Male Nude works took a different direction by posing my male models under water in the Mediterranean, or on the Blue Coast as we call it. The Model and I were free diving without snorkels to respect nature and to be closer to it without artifice and to be as natural as possible.

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When I last came to Belgium, visiting some friends, I discovered ChromaLuxe. My friends, who are also photographers, thought of me and my next exhibition, saying “that’s great and your underwater pictures would harmonize perfectly with ChromaLuxe prints”. So they showed me that they had produced various jobs on ChromaLuxe and from that moment I was hooked. I could see my pictures of underwater nudes on this media and how they would benefit.

Luckily I was able to make some ChromaLuxe photo prints and I was absolutely not disappointed with the result. I discovered a depth, a strength, bursting colors, an impression of being in the water with the model.Featured image

In fact, during my exhibition INDOMITUS, which took place in one of the most prestigious locations in the city of Arles, the Espace Van Gogh, and where I was able to exhibit for ten days in June 2015; there was an echo, a feeling and the response of several people: “Your exhibition soothes us. I love the power of the color. The prints are beautiful, full of strength, and make us believe that we are underwater with the model etc … “. The praise for the work that was produced on ChromaLuxe was unanimous and positive.Featured image

“Your exhibition soothes us. I love the power of the color. The prints are beautiful, full of strength, and make us believe that we are underwater with the model etc … “

Finally, I would say that my collaboration with ChromaLuxe has been a positive experience with people whose work and qualities are very professional. I recommend them to photographers or anyone who values their work.

If you want to get an idea of ​​my work, the INDOMITUS exhibition is still on show in Arles, at the Hotel Le Belvedere Arles, until August 30, 2015.

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Innovation in Photography: the story told by guest blogger Jean Jacques Micheli

My first photographic experience was watching a black and white image appear in the developer bath in my father’s photo lab darkroom; I was about 6 years old. At this time, the professional photographer had to do everything himself from taking the original photograph, through to all the laboratory work. This was in the 1960’s and I took my early steps into the world of photographic printing.

Not long afterwards, a salesman came to show us a strange camera with bellows that, in one minute, could produce a black and white photo. The Polaroid became my second important discovery in the world of photography.

Of course, the evolution of cameras and the ever-advancing quality of new films have contributed to the overall improvement of the photographic image.

In the 1970’s when I was a student of photography a revolutionary colour process appeared on the scene – Cibachrome. This Swiss process was for me my third and most striking innovation allowing slides (diapositives) to be printed on a paper which had a metallic look and saturated high-contrast colours. Cibachrome became a huge success with photographic artists around the world, in part for its special image rendition but also for its long print life said to be between 50 and 100 years. Art works printed on Cibachrome still maintain very high values in the photographic art market.

Featured image“Black Ginger” photos by Serge Anton

More recently, an article in an American photo magazine caught my attention. It spoke of “metal prints” with luminous colour and very precise details. After some research I discovered that it was an American photographic process which was virtually unknown in Europe, with the exception of the UK. With one of the principal activities of my lab being fine art printing for artists and art galleries, it was only natural that I would adopt this process. It is indeed very close to Cibachrome and many artists and photographers make the connection.

It is now 3 years since I started offering high-quality ChromaLuxe prints alongside silver and fine art prints; an ever-increasing number of artists have opted for this print media with its deep blacks (no other photographic process obtains this level of density) and its luminous colours. ChromaLuxe is also an excellent choice for outside displays because it is water and even graffiti resistant. It also has excellent scratch resistance during routine handling of images. We have, for example, some ChromaLuxe prints displayed on the island of Saint Bartholomew’s in the Caribbean in an open-air restaurant. Similarly, if you are able to pass by the new BO Bank in Brussels you will find a monumental 3D artwork, by the artist Yves Ullens, made entirely out of ChromaLuxe. It is not unusual for clients to send us mails enthusing about the quality of our work and the rendering of their images on ChromaLuxe.Featured image

ChromaLuxe is, without doubt, my fourth significant discovery in my already long photographic career.

Labo JJ Micheli was the first European lab to obtain the ChromaLuxe Quality Label certificate.


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Jean-Jacques Micheli has built his carreer around photography: from 1978 to 1982 as professional photographer and in 1982 he has created his photo lab in Bussels. He is specialised in Fine Art prints for artists, art galleries and societies. His lab is recognized for the excellent mastery of color and his team consists of image and finishing specialists. You can contact Jean-Jacques Micheli via +32 (0) 2 733 21 85 or jjm@labojjmicheli.be.

For more information : www.labojjmicheli.be

Brussels – A Love Story

Bruxelles, or Brussels, grew up from a small village called originally Broeck-zele. Literally translated this is a “Village on a brook”. A brook being a small river. Now it is a large city which is the capital of Europe. A new photo exh

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ibition celebrates this with a show entitled Brussels – A Love Story. The theme is a series of photographs taken by people living in Brussels who love their chosen home city.

My local camera club where I live in Brussels is called ‘Viewfinders’. It’s been running for many years. In a cosmopolitan city like Brussels we have over 120 members from at least 12 different countries, possibly more. The club meets monthly with well known guest speakers, photo challenges and competitions, and portfolio reviews.

When the members saw some sample prints, the super gloss and how robust they were, it became a simple decision to use ChromaLuxe for the exhibition.

Every other year we organize an annual exhibition of member’s work and this year it is taking place during the whole of May in the famous Halles St Gery in the city centre – this was an old fruit and vegetable market that has now been converted to a bar and restaurant with a gallery in the vaults.

Featured image20 members will be exhibiting 40 prints that thisyear, for the first time, will all be printed on ChromaLuxe. The prints have been produced at top Belgian professional lab, Labo JJ Micheli.

In the past the prints have been made on photo or inkjet paper and then either framed or mounted on Forex. Although the prints were low cost, the extra cost of mounting and framing was substantial. Hanging the prints was also a problem as we had to rely on a wire suspension system that restricted the weight of the frames. This special building does not allow any nails or screws to be hammered into the wall.

When the members saw some sample pFeatured imagerints, the super gloss and how robust they were, it became a simple decision to use ChromaLuxe for the exhibition. Now the exhibition is up and started, they were really impressed by the overall consistency an quality of the images. At the end of the show, they can be safely taken away to display at home and many will probably be sold and find new homes!

Most readers pFeatured imagerobably won’t have the chance to visit the exhibition unless they happen to be visiting Brussels during May – but if you can I strongly recommend it. 40 stunning images on the theme of why I love Brussels – you will be amazed.

The ‘vernissage’ on 8th May attracted over 200 visitors with a superb response to the ChromaLuxe prints. The spot lighting in the vaults really made the prints ‘pop”!

www.viewfinders.be

www.labojjmicheli.be

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Featured imageCharles Henniker-Heaton has over 30 years experience in the imaging industry, first at Durst and then at Fujifilm as a senior manager involved in retail photo, chemicals and since 2006 as European Marketing Manager for large format printing. He joined ChromaLuxe EMEA in 2014 in charge of European Business Development for large format.

Photography or Art?

Is photography art? This is a hot discussion in many online forums and has been a subject of debate since photography was invented. There are many iconic photographs and beautiful studies of the human form, landscapes, cityscapes and abstract images that are without doubt of high artistic value. There is also the question of when does a photograph become a ‘painting’? My personal view is when it is manipulated so far in Photoshop or similar software that it ceasesFeatured image to look like a photo and looks more like a painting. However, would you agree? Fine Art images can come from several sources:

  • An original photograph without manipulation
  • A photograph that has been manipulated into an artistic image
  • Digital art created/drawn entirely in the computer
  • Original paintings or drawings

To make a print, the image needs to be digital. No problem for the first three. For original art works there are companies that provide some really top class digitization of paintings and drawings by highly specialist photography or by high end scanning. Cruse scanners can scan originals up to 2 m x 3 m. The results are brilliant – the lighting can either be adjusted to give a flat image and colours, or to show every brushstroke, so much so that, when they are printed, people touch the print to feel the brush stroke!  Digitising and printing original artwork opens up whole new markets and new revenue streams for artists. Limited edition prints allow them to sell to clients who may not be able to afford an original. Sometimes artists will embellish a printed image, for exaFeatured imagemple by addition of pearlescent or metallic paint, and add further to its value as a semi-original! The UK based Fine Art Trade Guild offers guidance on giclee printing, print life, framing and also guidelines on publishing limited editions. We are pleased to see more and more photographers and artists choosing ChromaLuxe HD Metal aluminium panels for exhibiting their work in high end galleries and fine art shows. We also saw print prices ranging from €1000 – €6000 at the recent Affordable Art Fair and Accessible Art Fair. Photograph or Art? – In the end the choice is yours; we all see images in different ways and we decide what we like or do not like, whatever the critics might say.

Some of the artists and photographers using ChromaLuxe can be found in the Gallery section of our web site at http://www.chromaluxe-square.com/gallery.htm

This selection is being added to on a regular basis.

For example:

Charline Lancel – whose op-art style images are created entirely in Photoshop.

Alain Trellu – who takes amazing photos of his native Brussels and then adds a new dimension.

Colin Prior – Scottish photographer who specializes in amazing panoramas and has long been a respected figure in the fine art market.

Benoit Pay – human studies reflected in marble.

Nic Gaunt – English photographer based in Hong Kong – famous for his unusual style.


Featured imageCharles Henniker-Heaton has over 30 years experience in the imaging industry, first at Durst and then at Fujifilm as a senior manager involved in retail photo, chemicals and since 2006 as European Marketing Manager for large format printing. He joined ChromaLuxe EMEA in 2014 in charge of European Business Development for large format.


MD Erik Wiegman: Now it’s my turn.

When Carolyn shared her plans with me to start a blog I first had some doubts. My first question was how a blog can contribute to help you growing your business.

Now we are a couple of months later and I can tell you that we have received multiple positive reactions from many of you, telling us that the information we have provided did enable you to look for new opportunities to expand and grow your business.

This is very encouraging and I want to thank Carolyn, Steven and Charles for their 3-weekly contributions. I also want to thank our guest bloggers for their interesting, positive and very helpful stories.

Now it’s my turn. Carolyn asked me to close each quarter with a blog sharing some information about our business. As so many things are going on, it fortunately is not difficult to pick a subject.

For my first blog I have opted to provide a quick overview of the period from the start of Universal Woods EMEA in July 2011 till today. Universal Woods is the company that manufactures the Unisub, ChromaLuxe, SwitchCase and Resindek brands.
I can tell you that this has been a very exciting period full with interesting adventures.
A journey I wouldn’t have missed!

Universal Woods with Headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky USA was till July 2011 represented in Europe by a distributor. As sublimation was growing very fast and required a stronger focus on the many new markets and applications, the decision was made to establish a European entity looking after the business in EMEA (Europe- Middle-East and Africa). From our EMEA office in Schelle, Belgium we also provide customer service and marketing support to Japan and South-Korea.

This was the best decision that could have been made, which has been proven by the fact that since the start in 2011 our business has grown significantly. In July 2011 we started with 3 people, today we employ 15 people. Due to this growth we already have moved one time and are planning for another move to larger premises early 2016.Featured image

Of course we have worked hard, but we also have a group of fantastic people to thank for our success! We are very grateful that we have so many dedicated and loyal partners, distributing and using our Unisub, ChromaLuxe and SwitchCase products.
Without all of you out there, making the efforts promoting, selling or and buying our products, we would have never been where we are today.

Our road to growth however didn’t come for granted. We also face challenges that we need to tackle and overcome.

One of the major challenges today is the volatility of the euro versus the dollar rate. Since the beginning of 2014 the euro has lost 28% of its value to the dollar.

As a company, we support our customers with all our capabilities to deal with this in their markets.
With all the investments we have made to further improve our quality and reducing the costs of our manufacturing processes, we are very confident that we will be able to protect the business that has been built up so carefully.

We are very busy preparing the Fespa which takes place in Cologne, Germany from May 18th till May 22nd.

We will have a +100m² booth and will show a lot of new materials and applications. You can find us in Hall 7, booth number K15.
At the Fespa we will also have our 2015 EMEA catalogue ready for you.Featured image

I hope to have the opportunity meeting many of you again, catching up and sharing thoughts and ideas how we can further grow our mutual business. If you have never visited our stand before, please make sure you do in Cologne so we can introduce you to the exciting world of sublimation.

Thank you all for your business and I sincerely hope working with you in the coming years and take advantage of the fast growing market for sublimation.

Please keep reading this blog, sharing it and reacting to it. As we all know: feedback is a gift! We highly value your input.


Erik WiegmFeatured imagean’s career in the Sign and Engraving industry started over 30 years ago. With experience in signage and personalization for many years, in 2005 Erik got involved in sublimation. In 2011 Universal Woods established its own affiliate in Belgium of which Erik became Managing Director. Together with a dedicated team he successfully worked on further expanding the Unisub brand in the EMEA region and bringing ChromaLuxe to the market.
You can contact Erik at erikw@chromaluxe.com.

Do I need a RIP? The answer is YES.

Almost every day I receive the following questions: ‘Will a RIP software make your colors brighter and improve your image quality?’ – ‘Is it really necessary to run your printer with a RIP?’ – ‘Can’t you achieve the same results simply by using the included print driver?’ … “Do I need a RIP?”

wasatchWHAT IS A RIP?
RIP stands for Raster Image Processor. A RIP program is similar to the print driver included with your printer, but with much more control and features. A RIP is designed to handle many files, file types and file sizes without limiting your print capabilities. A RIP efficiently processes your files faster and more consistently, resulting in faster print times and less waiting.

‘Have you ever tried to print 20 large format images (100 x 150 cm) with a file size more than 300 MB at once ? ‘

Through the standard print driver, this can be stressful and time consuming. With a RIP you will have the capability of processing and printing multiple files simultaneously and you will be able to store all of the processed data (the files that you’ve printed), making reprints a breeze. Having this capability will greatly improve printing production and efficiency. A RIP software will give you complete control over handling your files including: scaling, rotating, color correction, color profiling to a wide array of media types, multiple copies, nesting, and much more. Have you ever wanted to maximize the use of your paper roll? do you want to cut back on waste? Do you want to print 250 copies of the same image (in a nice grid) at the same time? The nesting function allows you to combine many different files in one print job.

‘Let’s do the calculation: try to make 250 copies of a 20 x 30 cm image in Photoshop on a canvas that is 111 cm (42″) width with a gap of 1 cm. Indeed, this is time consuming in Photoshop … A RIP can do this in 5 seconds. And if you are unable to do that in Photoshop, then calculate the amount of time it needs to print this big file that contains the 250 copies.’

NEED FOR ACCURACY ?
In addition to above handy functionalities, there are some more important factors to start using a RIP, because a RIP does 3 important things:

1. it can linearise your printer(s):
This means, if you ask to print 50% of cyan, the printer will put the exact amount of ink on the paper, so it will give you 50% of cyan on the Chromaluxe panel. Because the sublimation paper is only an intermediate phase of the total workflow, the printer needs to know how much ink he needs to print that 50% of cyan.
LINEARISE2. it can handle the total amount of ink:
This means, if you print for example a dark grey background, it will use 95% Cyan + 95% Magenta + 95% Yellow + 95% Black. That’s a total of 380% ink on your paper. This will be too much ink for the paper and you will have a pooling-effect. You’ve got the same effect when you drop too much water on a sheet of paper. LINEARISE2A RIP will be able to reduce the total amount of ink (from 380% to 340% for example) without reducing the total amount of colors (also known as color gamut). This makes that you will not have a ‘wet’ output (certainly when you print a lot, or big pictures on the full width of your printer).

3. Color Management is more accurate:
Photoshop or other graphical applications do render (calculate) their colors in 8-bit mode. RIP software, like Wasatch SoftRIP, calculates every color in 16-bit mode. This means 4 times more data to calculate all colors, certainly for the difficult colours like skintones, solid greys or gradients. Do the test: print the below image on your current system (click on the image to download the files). If you see anything other than a perfectly smooth gradient, you need to use a RIP solution.

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stevieSteven Roesbeke has a huge experience in the graphical industry with a lot of expertise in color management and output solutions. Since 2013 he is the Technical Support Field Engineer at Universal Woods EMEA. Read his technical blog posts to discover helpful tips & tricks and learn more about the do’s and dont’s of (large format) sublimation. You can always contact him at stevenr@chromaluxe.com

A whole new world: European Photographers in Trieste

When I was about 8 years old, I read the book ‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl, a truly terrifying but magical story about an annual convention of witches from all over. Not that I expected photographers to be similar to potential dangerous creatures, but the comparison sprung into my mind when I was travelling to Trieste last Friday for the Photography Masters Conference of the Federation of European Photographers. I was on my way to attend my first FEP event.

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I must admit that it wasn’t an entirely black hole to jump into. As ChromaLuxe has been partner of the Belgian National association for Professional Photographers who are a very active and interactive group of photographers, for a few years now, meeting up with the European Federation didn’t seem a very big leap. Being a partner of the Belgian association had taught us a lot about the profession of the photographer, how they think, what they need and how many differences there can be between all those who call themselves photographers. We’ve introduced ChromaLuxe over the last few years to the Belgian members and were able to convince them of the quality of our product. The positive feedback of our fellow countrymen made us decide to become a partner of the Federation of European Photographers: one step beyond!

This was what happened before. Now, in Trieste, I was entering a whole new world and I had one official objective and one personal. The official one: networking. The FEP represents 17 European countries; in some of them we’re very active already with ChromaLuxe Labs. The others were the subject of objective n°1. I’ve met people from Georgia, Russia, Slovakia, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal… Different backgrounds, but all great, interesting people.

My second objective was personal: suck in as much information as possible. In between the networking opportunities during breaks and dinners, there was an actual event going on: speakers from the photographic world followed one another talking about lighting, portraits, photo manipulation and photo combination. I’ve learned by listening, by talking to photographers and by being honest: I don’t have a background in photography, but I want to build a sound understanding. It was amazing how far you get by doing these three things. If you want to sell a product to someone, first get to know them. Then become a partner, and prove to them that you don’t just want to sell.

A thought on networking:

The key is: take your time. Don’t throw your cards around; never give one when people simply aren’t interested: better wait for the next occasion. It’s like dating, really, if you’re too keen you’ll end up alone because they will simply run away from you. When you enter a room, don’t jump the first person you see, go and take an interesting position, by the bar for instance: a place where people will end up anyway and mostly are open for an introduction. Don’t work your way around the room, don’t let yourself get caught as business card sponger. Take your time: never move too fast from one to another. Treat your potential business partners as friends, don’t interrupt them when they are talking to someone else, don’t give them the impression you want to make the deal tonight but get to know them. Take. Your. Time.

One free extra tip: Use your LinkedIn! What I do when returning from an event like this is connect to my ‘new friends’ on LinkedIn. This is when they become business relationships.

I went home on Monday with new friends, their business cards, the promise to be in touch to talk about ChromaLuxe but above all a mind filled with new insights in photography. Thank you members of FEP for the warm welcome, for the interesting weekend but mainly for the acquired knowledge: it will surely help us become even better partners.

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Featured image Carolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com