~ SAAL Digital ~
I contacted the customer care team at SAAL in May of 2023 for some advice regarding the most suitable paper and finish to use for large prints of my digitised wet plate collodion images. I had a lot of technical questions for SAAL who were able to help me work out the best way to present my work and talked me through how to use their design software with ease. I was really impressed with their design tool as it allowed me to see different dimensions of print options with clear lines marking any cropping issues.
I had an exhibition hanging the following week and the BBC were also coming to the studio to film a documentary about me, so I needed the prints turned around quickly. I selected the 'FineArt prints on Hahnemühle paper' option and printed 11 images of 16x20 inch dimensions, these were delivered quickly and thankfully were very well packaged, arriving undamaged.
The printing quality was a marked improvement over other labs that I've used over the years, and once I had the prints framed and hung I was very happy to see that there was a great depth to them, and that all of the prints had very dark black and striking whites. The process of digitising wet plate collodion images is quite technical and artists often struggle to replicate the look of the original plate on digital. I've seen some really terrible renditions printed, where things haven't been replicated well, or strange colour casts are shown in the blacks, but this was not the case with my images from SAAL, everything was exactly how it should've been, with no deviation from what was displayed on my screen when I ordered.
Initially when I approached SAAL I explained that I wanted to explore some kind of collaboration with them so that I could keep my costs down in terms of printing, the team were very understanding of my requirements and also saw the value of the work that I wanted to have printed. The discount voucher that SAAL issued really helped me out and I felt truly supported by them.
The images below are the digital scans of my wet collodion plates, shot in a variety of locations, including the Cuillin Mountain in the Isle of Skye. The exhibition is currently touring and at the time of writing this is at Café Cùil in Carbost. Two prints from SAAL will be on permanent display within the newly refurbished Inverness Castle when it re-opens in 2025. The colour shots below were taken in May 2023 from Sgùrr na Strì (meaning the peak of Strife) in the Cuillin where I can be seen shooting large format wet collodion 5x7 inch plates and developing them in-situ for my 'Peak Perseverance' project and documentary film, thanks to Bridgette Blackmore for shooting these behind the scenes stills.
Needless to say that I will continue to have my work printed by SAAL.