Papering things

Fine quality paper for halftone pictures

Fine quality paper for halftone pictures

Toronto. George Dunbar seems to find interesting things on the ‘net and asks very insightful questions. George recently suggested that we consider paper manufacturers in our pursuit of Canadian history.

Not the paper we photographers usually think of – the baryta covered, emulsion coated papers used for developing prints in a chemical based darkroom – but fine quality paper used in expensive catalogues and books to reproduce photographs using the half-tone process. The Art Photo Book paper manufactured by the Canada Paper Co. Limited was one such paper.

During the summer of 1985, I bought a large book “Private Realms of Light“. Edited by Lilly Koltun, it was written by members of the Public Archives of Canada (National Photography Collection) and contained reproductions of photographs taken by Canadian amateurs in the period 1839 – 1940. It was printed a year earlier here in Toronto by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. The book reproduced the essence of an exhibition shown in Ottawa at Public Archives Canada from mid July to mid October 1983.

The illustrations are remarkably like photographs. The salesman for F&W told me at the time that it was one of the last books of such a quality to be published in Canada due to the sky-rocketing cost of quality paper needed for such beautiful reproductions. Today with digital printing and print on demand we are once again seeing high quality photographic reproductions in print – like Robert Wilson’s book Secure the Shadow on Benjamin Franklin Baltzly and his photographs.

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