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  #1  
Old 27th February 2022, 12:12 PM
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Default Art 300

First experience of Ilford Art 300 paper.

After reading all the hype and reviews of this paper I finally got around to trying a box last month. I think perhaps I was expecting a bit more from it than I achieved. It certainly is an exceptional paper, although itís one that I think only really works well with a certain type of image. It doesnít retain shadow detail all that well, making low key images possibly not suitable to print on it, as I felt the texture became to intrusive in areas of shadow detail. I much preferred the lighter softer images that I printed on it, they just seemed to worked better with the papers texture. It is a warm tone emulsion and it does respond well to toning, but Iím not a huge fan of really colourfully toned prints and Iíve yet too experiment in how far the toning can go before the image becomes to garish. I know for sure that Iíve not fully explored this paper and I wondered if there are any members who have experience of it who could perhaps post a few examples. I have created a small album on the forum of recent prints made on Art 300 that I would welcome comments on. I appreciate that this paper really has to viewed in the hand and a lot of itís appeal is lost with the scanning process which does also enhance the grain.
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Old 27th February 2022, 01:05 PM
alexmuir alexmuir is offline
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Your prints in the album look great, David. I do agree that the lighter toned examples are better on this paper, compared to those with dark shadow areas. Itís interesting that, if you have actually seen this paper, you can visualise what the prints really look like. If you havenít, however, it might be difficult to separate the appearance of grain from the surface texture in the scanned images. I have used Art300, but not very often. The thing I found a bit odd was itís tendency to float in the chemicals. I can recall holding it down with tongs to ensure even coverage.
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Old 27th February 2022, 01:05 PM
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I like nos 2, 4, 6 and 7 best, the first three of them as they're higher key with specific subject matter and the last for its subject matter in a lower key setting. I have printed on Art 300 and also tried to scan the prints; so I can sort of imagine what your prints are actually like!

I first used Art 300 about nine (?) years ago - bought a box of 7x5 and made contact prints of that size, mainly from FP4+ negatives and with primitive exposure methods.

I find that the paper can stain rather easily (maybe keep a bottle or two of fixer reserved for that paper) and also that the HahnemŁhle base has imperfections. I think that that latter point is a recent development, as my earliest efforts don't show it.

The only suggestion that I'd venture to make to someone of your experience and proficiency is to try to make a few negatives of higher contrast and definitive subject matter (buildings, human landscapes, still life maybe) and see how those work with the paper.

I may have some spare prints knocking around that I could let you see - but there's really no point in sending you scans as the forensic effort required to deduce what the print is actually like is too great.
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Old 27th February 2022, 01:08 PM
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Ha, Alex and I must have had a long-range empathy going for us, as we prepared our simultaneous replies.
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Old 27th February 2022, 06:40 PM
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First of all, I like the images very much. I would say for a first try quite excellent. The two darker ones could be a bit lighter, but I think the prints on this paper also conveys a special mood, which is also very much to my liking. But one certainly has to get used to the texture and enjoy the different possibilities with differents kinds of images. I never used this paper, but received some prints from Richard. Therefore I know how great this can be with a print in my hands.
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Old 27th February 2022, 07:58 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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For the right subject art 300 is a wonderful paper, I use it for still life also for some portraits, a while ago there was a Victorian Christmas market over here at Hamptome country life museum, all outside, of Victorian type photographs of the event, and art 300 was the perfet paper fpr this, I think I have an album of some of the photos up, I have tried some seascapes on it, but very few worked well, some softer ones were fine but in general not, but given the right subject it is unbeatable
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Old 28th February 2022, 08:00 AM
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Alex, Michael, Frank & Richard.
Thank you all for your replies and interesting comments. It would seem the consensus of opinion is, that itís a good paper for the right subject matter. Raising the interesting question of matching a paper surface to suit an image, and that perhaps is a luxury today as an analogue printer. All the examples I posted were printed from 35mm negatives, and I think the grain has become too intrusive, although the scanning has probably picked up more of the paper texture as well. The next test is to print some 120 negatives on it, 6x6, pinhole & holga, and see how they look.
On the issue of staining, a thread on Photorio suggested extended time in a non indicator stop bath, between 60-90secs. It does appear to work.
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Old 28th February 2022, 10:22 AM
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Personally, I would have preferred the texture/surface of Art 300 to have been a little more natural and random rather than what appears to my eyes, as a more regular 'mechanical' pattern.
It's still nice that we have it and it's not always distracting but clearly visible and especially with this paper, scans don't seem to do the prints justice.
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Old 28th February 2022, 11:15 AM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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It would appear from posts I have seen to be a particularly good surface for hand-colouring but that's another skill in itself

When done by a person with the talent for it, hand colouring can look superb

Mike
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Old 7th March 2022, 03:13 PM
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Lovely atmospheric (in some cases literally - you can see it!) images as usual David.

Not generally a fan of matt papers as I have never been happy with the contrast loss for landscapes, but I have not seen Art 300 in-the-flesh so it's difficult for me to visualize the actual prints but I'm sure your selection of negatives and printing takes advantage of what the paper has to offer.

I can feel a trip to Dartmoor coming on...
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