Don’t miss this print auction for a great cause

By Geoff Harris

In this age of digital photography it’s so easy to forget the pleasure of a really good photographic print.

There is nothing like having a great image framed and hung on your wall, particularly if you see it every day - it can really lift your mood and give you a new appreciation of the genius of the photographer (I never get tired of looking at the motion blur bicycle in Hyeres, France, by Henri Cartier Bresson, for example)

A great online auction is coming up soon that provides the chance to bid for some high-quality prints, and help a good cause - in this case Doctors Without Borders (MSF). An organisation called the Eyewitness Collective, which describes itself as an “an international collection of professional photographers, brought together by their passion to help society realise the importance of photographic prints,” decided to run the auction to raise money for a Covid 19 relief fund set up by MSF. “We have been overjoyed by the feedback and thrilled that so many photographers, true masters of their craft, have donated their beautiful prints,” said the Collective. “With an overwhelming desire to raise as much as possible, the photographers have decided on a nominal reserve or a well below market rate reserve.”

Some really big names are taking part including Ian Berry, a veteran British documentary photographer who is now a member of Magnum Photos; Tom Stoddart, another documentary legend whose images of the siege of Sarajevo and other conflict zones seared themselves into the national consciousness; and Tim Page, a fearless British-born chronicler of the Vietnam war who some believe inspired the character of the far-out war photographer in Apocalypse Now, played by Dennis Hopper (fortunately Tim survived a very serious head injury during the war and now lives in Australia).

Other big names include portrait photographer Clive Arrowsmith, music photographer Jill Furmanovsky (the official photographer of Oasis in their heyday) and Paul Sanders, one of my favourite landscape photographers.“The collection of prints cover fine art, photojournalism, music, street photography, portraiture, abstracts, landscape and daily life,” the organisers added. “We also have a couple of timely images made during this pandemic.”

Another reason to consider taking part in this auction is that a high-quality photographic print is increasingly seen as a good investment. Running the auction is James Lewis, director of auction house Bamfords and a regular on TV’s Flog It. “The art of photography has been the choice for the wise investor for the past decade.” says James. “It is a great honour to team up with some of the world’s greatest photographers to help the world face its biggest challenge in over a century.”

The auction takes place on Sunday November 15th at 5pm and you can join in here

We mentioned before that the Eyewitness Collective was set up to remind society of the value of the photographic print, so what about if you would like to print out more of your images? Buying a printer can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least, as cheap models may not offer the resolution and print quality, while also costing you a small fortune in ink replacement over the years. Higher-end models, meanwhile, can be prohibitively expensive.

So it’s good to see Canon this week releasing the Pixma Pro-200, a compact A3+ colour printer which features an 8-ink dye-based system for deep blacks and vibrant colours, and an enhanced colour gamut for red, blue and black. The Pro-200 is able to print in as little as 90 seconds, and a three-inch display enables you to check ink levels and other settings. There is also an anti-skew feature to avoid print misalignment, and it is able to print on a wide variety of photographic paper. The price is not bad at £449, either.

If you are happy with A4, the Canon Pixma 950 is another great buy at £295, while if you need to do quite a lot of printing, and also want to do A3, the Epson EcoTank ET-7750 will save you money over the long term.

When it comes to printing tips, our golden rule is to get your monitor calibrated as well as your printer - a poorly calibrated monitor is often the reason for a lot of disappointing prints, as you are not seeing a true representation of your actual image. A good choice for screen calibration is the Datacolor SpyderX Pro, which will set you back about £150 - hardly an impulse buy, we agree, but a properly calibrated monitor and printer will give you much more reliable results.

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

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