November 09, 2018  •  2 Comments

Last week I was introduced to William Turner* photo paper from Hahnemuhle.  Alex Kunz and Peter Tellone raved about it over lunch at a pizza restaurant in the foothills east of San Diego, where all great discussions should take place.  We were waiting for the gallery owner in Santa Ysabel to arrive so we could see the Robert Treat photography exhibition, Animistic Ground.  When I got home I pulled a selection of B&W images from my Lightroom catalogue and sent them off to Bay Photo for printing on William Turner paper. 

They arrived yesterday.  Two of which are fantastic and may have sold me for life on William Turner paper.  The other three range from excellent to okay.  Even with the 'okay' print I know why it's just okay and it's not because of the paper, it's because the image content does not work well with that textured of paper.  Here's the five images laid out:  From top going clockwise - Manzanita, Crater Lake Pine, Broad Trunk, The Bus Who Fell to Earth, and my favorite Synapse in Stone.  If you click on the titles you can see the image on my website which will be better than the iPhone pic you're looking at here.  

The print for Synapse in Stone is fantastic! It's a darkly toned image (think dark sepia) with heavy shadows.  The clear sky helps the image with this paper as the other skies which have more clouds may have too much texture in the clouds which seems to detract aesthetically. 

The Bus is my least favorite.  I added grain and texture to the image out of SilverEFX and the texture in the paper just amplified that to a point where it's not pleasing.  It's B&W, untoned, and I love the image but the paper hurts more than helps. 

The Crater Lake Pine is toned a light cyanotype and I think Bay may have color corrected it to more of a B&W.  The cloudy skies are smoother than in my original but I'm not sure that's the paper or the printing.  Regardless I don't think a big, textured sky works well (in these cases) with WT paper.  The one with big textured skies that comes closest to being in favor is Broad Trunk and I'm not exactly sure why.  It too is toned toward sepia but not as heavily as Synapse.  The clouds seem to hold up well but I think all three big sky pics would do better with a different paper.

My second favorite, Manzanita, is beautiful.  The contrast and detail really comes across in this print. It's a pure B&W image and note the clear sky. 

* J.M.W. Turner, English Romantic painter.  If interested,  Mr. Turner a biopic staring Timothy Spall as the title character in a so-so film of his later years. 


Alexander S. Kunz(non-registered)
Thankfully, I have yet to find one of my photos where, when viewed from the right distance, the texture is a problem. I consider the texture "haptic candy" when handling the paper (and doesn't it feel great?). :-) Up close it will be visible, but from a distance of a few feet, it essentially disappears for me.

That's not to say that there aren't photos that do not work on this paper. My series of long exposures "Cryptic Writings" doesn't look good on it, at all. It requires a paper with some gloss or sheen (I'm actually thinking metallic). It all depends on the photo.
Peter Tellone(non-registered)
Thanks for sharing that and conducting your experiment. As you've see and Alex and I will fully concur, not every paper is good for everything. I like this for a lot of my black and white, mostly because for a matte paper it has a lot of Dmax. But for others I prefer Moab Juniper Baryata paper which is my color paper of choice but for certain B & W's it works fantastic and has an even higher Dmax, which would be usual for a coated stock

I'm glad you gave it a try and got "some" great results and even more glad that you print but you have for quite awhile now. You get it.

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