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

Photography in a challenging economy: Photolab, Athens, Greece

It is well known that the recent developments for the Greek economy have been very frustrating. Since 2008 Greek enterprises have been facing thousands of problems, some of them have withstood when others have not. Many address these problems with passivity while others with activation. Photolab chose extroversion, the bFeatured imageelief in staff capabilities as well as the equipment, and of course the 35 years of experience in the domain.

The last five years, there have been endless hours of meetings with my partners so as to trace a new road, a strategy that will meet the economy’s current conditions. There have been plenty of ideas. Price reduction, new highly commercial products, operating cost reduction, etc. All of these proposals did not satisfy me. The faith in our potentials did not allow me to drift in that kind of logic.

During 2008 we reached our first decisions. Purchase of a new private building, investment in a brand new UV machine and simultaneously complete renovation of our head office. The following years the same logic prevailed. Photolab’s accession into the E.U. program of subsidies for business and capital investments of approximately 250.000€ in new equipment. New digital cutter, new printers, certification as an official ChromaLuxe lab and much more.Featured image

In 2014, we arranged our first participation as ChromaLuxe’s guest exhibitors in the world’s biggest photo exhibition show in Cologne of Germany, known as Photokina. Photolab achieved the greatest compliments from visitors for our whole presence. Our certification as one of the 14 Official ChromaLuxe Labs in the world, made it worth our while.

ChromaLuxe’s products have helped Photolab achieve its goals to enter the European market and simultaneously increase sales into the Greek market. More particularly, since February 2013 Metal Prints have grown ten times, proving that we work intently in that direction.

The market has embraced Metal Print, despite the fact that it is a premium and expensive materiaFeatured imagel as far as Greek facts is concerned. Metal Print is an extremely unique material, requires top quality equipment plus very high and demanding level knowledge of color management. It is not a product that everyone can deal with. That fact actually can be proved from the small number of Official ChromaLuxe Labs around the world.

Photolab provides what is best in order to satisfy Greek as well as European customers. We set up all the production line according to ChromaLuxe instructions, Zund’s digital cutter so as to support custom dimensions without compromising on quality, as well as shipping services for Metal Prints in every European country through our collaboration with TNT delivery.

As an epilogue, let’s believe in Greece, lets be inspired by a wonderful country with beautiful people. Greek businesses can be on the top and Photolab will always be in the front row!!!


Being a meFeatured imagember of the team since 1998, Stratos Actidis is leading Photolab for the last 4 years. He has studied Photography in the Leica Academy of Athens from 1998 up to 2000. He has been highly trained in colour management and as an operator of various systems like Durst Lambda 130, Fujifilm Frontier 355, Zund G3 250M digital cutter, Konica digital offset printer, Roland and Epson ink jet printers and much more. Furthermore he is a Photoshop expert and he has personally designed Photolab’s awarded web site: www.photolab.gr.