Glossary

What is Photogravure?

Photogravure is a type of intaglio printing, which uses a sunken printing plate so that ink may be transferred to the paper's surface from such recessed places. In relief printing, such as woodcuts or letterpress, the ink is placed to the printing plate's surface and is then transferred from the raised portions of the plate to the paper.


The development of the photogravure technique allowed for the high degree of detail and tonal range in the reproduction of fine art prints and pictures in the late 19th century. It was particularly well-liked in the early 20th century as a way to produce fine art print replicas that were identical to the originals.


The first step in the procedure is to create a photographic negative of the final image. A sensitised copper printing plate is then made from this negative. Through the negative, the sensitised plate is exposed to UV light, which causes the plate's surface to harden according to the quantity of light passing through the negative. On the surface of the plate, this results in a pattern of hardened and unhardened regions.


The unhardened portions are removed from the plate after exposure, leaving a pattern of cells or dots on the copper's surface. After that, the plate is acid-etched to deepen and broaden the cells and provide a spectrum of tonal values. The resultant plate is inked, cleaned, and just the ink in the recesses is left behind. The final print is then produced by pressing paper against the inked surface of the plate in a press, which transfers the ink to the paper.


The ability to create prints with a wide range of tonal values, from deep blacks to delicate highlights, is one of the benefits of photogravure. This is so that the necessary tonal range may be produced by carefully regulating the size and depth of the cells on the plate. The method is perfect for reproducing fine art prints and images because it can create prints with a high level of detail.


The fact that photogravure may create prints with a variety of paper surfaces and textures is another benefit. This is due to the fact that the ink is not applied to the paper's surface, but rather is transferred to the paper from the recessed portions of the plate. By selecting the proper paper texture and finish, the printer is able to give each print a distinctive appearance.


Photogravure is still employed by fine art printers and publishers who need the best quality copies, despite the fact that digital printing technologies have mostly overtaken it in commercial uses. Collectors place a great value on photogravure prints, which are frequently regarded as the most accurate replicas of fine art prints and pictures.


Photogravure has been utilised for commercial printing tasks, including the production of money and postal stamps, in addition to fine art printing. Maps and scientific drawings are two examples of visuals that the method is especially well-suited for replicating.


In general, photogravure printing is a difficult, time-consuming process that demands a high degree of ability and accuracy. For fine art printers and publishers that need the greatest quality reproductions, it continues to be a popular option despite the development of digital printing technology.


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