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Tradition and HP technology meld at 41st annual Les Rencontres d’Arles

 
 

“Sometimes photographers discover new techniques, and sometimes the printing process exposes them to the new techniques.”

— Philippe Gassmann
Picto

Every summer, photography enthusiasts descend on the quaint, historic city of Arles in the south of France for Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s foremost photography festival. Now in its 41st year, the festival transforms the charming city into a walkable, outdoor photo gallery, where photographers, curators, publishers and photo lovers take in absolutely spectacular photography at every turn. This year, as in years past, many of the photographers trusted HP printing technology to produce their images.

Quick Facts

  • Picto relied on the HP Designjet Z3200 to print a significant number of images for Les Rencontres d’Arles.
  • The new Large Format Photo Negative application from HP digitally creates large-format negatives needed to produce large-format platinum prints.
  • Picto uses HP Latex Printing Technologies to print signage for Les Rencontres d’Arles.


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Showcasing digital advancements

This year’s festival showcases numerous innovations in the field of photography, including the Large Format Photo Negative application from HP. A breakthrough in the marriage of analog and digital photo processing, the application allows photographers to digitally create large-format negatives for use in traditional, manual printing processes such as platinum printing.

Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt used the HP technology to make new-edition platinum prints of some of his classic, iconic photos, which he displayed at Arles. Another HP technology partner, ARTtrust, premiered an innovative way for photographers to authenticate their prints, using a combination of physical identification, digital tags and a centralized website. ARTtrust delivers benefits for sellers, who can register and follow the sale of pieces online, and also for collectors, who have an easily identifiable way to authenticate their collection.

Counting on HP to wow the crowd

The intersection of technology and fine art photography is a long-held post for HP Designjet photo printers and HP large-format media. Picto, a 60-year-old specialty printing company in France, was responsible for printing images for a number of the photographers’ exhibitions. Philippe Gassmann, general manager of Picto (and a third-generation print shop owner), used an HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer to create many of the prints.

Gassmann is very clear about the role his company plays in Les Rencontres d’Arles, saying:

Philippe Gassmann

“The work of the print
service provider is to understand
and reproduce what photographers
see, as well as discover some
other way of printing.”



“Sometimes photographers discover new techniques, and sometimes the printing process exposes them the new techniques,” he adds.

The photographers are also impressed with the longevity of prints made on the HP Designjet Z3200, thanks to the HP ink formulation. Gassmann says, “We get prints that can last more than 250 years.1 It really is a new way of printing for photographers and selling long-lasting prints.”

Picto also used HP Latex Printing Technologies to print the festival signage, so durable outdoor signs and banners boasted top-notch photo quality, and both indoor and outdoor displays were odorless.2

A proving ground for talent and innovation

The festival fills the historic streets of Arles with images intended to “contribute the world’s photographic inheritance” and also serves as a proving ground for young, talented photographers and technology innovation. While the exhibitions are the main attractions, for many, finding a new process is what Arles is all about. Martin Parr, a Magnum photographer, and longtime Arles attendee, says:


“Technology and photography
are always very closely linked. Photographers need the new
technology. We need what is
happening in that world for
our pictures to be seen and
shown in the best possible way.”

Martin Parr


Parr had an additional motive for attending Arles this year. As the editor and curator of the Brighton Photo Biennial, he was enticing Arles attendees to travel to England for his event in October. The festival will use two HP Designjet photo printers to produce images in real time and on-site, making it a frame-free photography festival.


1 Image permanence estimates by HP Image Permanence Lab based on testing on a range of HP photo, fine art and specialty papers. Displayed prints are framed under glass or plastic. Confirmation tests in progress at Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. For details, see http://www.hp.com/go/supplies/printpermanence.
2 Printers using HP Latex Inks use internal heaters to dry and cure the latex polymer film. Some substrates may have inherent odor.