Emma Freeman won the 2012 Redeye Printing Bursary with Rob Sara, awarded to one Redeye member whose work would benefit from master printing. Here Rob and Emma reflect on what happened after the bursary was awarded, and the route the pair decided to take to print the project.
Rob Sara, the master printer who instigated the Redeye Printing Bursary commented:
"Reflecting on the printing bursary, I am delighted that it created so much interest in the first instance, and practically speaking, how well it went as a collaboration between an emerging photographer who had not had the experience of having hand prints made.
"Emma decided to split the Bursary award into two parts. We produced 3 large scale 30 x 40 inch prints from her 5 x 4 portraits, which would become the final exhibition for her degree show, and also 8 more prints at 12 x 16 inch, that formed the core of a hand-made original print book, from a series of mosque interiors. Overall, a great, imaginative use of the prints to showcase her work and enable them to have dual use as a lasting portfolio. Exactly what I had hoped the Bursary would create.
"It was interesting to hear Emma's amazement at the quality of a traditional c-type. 'I don't ever want to work with inkjets again!' I think I can quote her as saying. Her fellow students and tutors echoed these sentiments and is it something I often hear from all fields of the photography industry.
"I don't however espouse or advocate an absolutist point of view, that c-types are the only way to go and are superior to all forms of digital output. Definitely not. But I take the stance that traditional prints still have a place, a quality, a distinct and subtle aesthetic and can without doubt co-exist as a print form, as what is now considered, ironically, an alternative practice. They can be appropriate to some forms of photography, and not others. It may be said that they have an increasing conceptual relevance to photographic practice, directly proportionate to overwhelming use of digital technologies.
"High end digital Lamda, Lightjet, and pigment prints etc. can be superb, and all methods should perhaps carry the adage that they are only as good as the system operator.
"With the creation of the bursary, I hoped to highlight fine traditional printing and fly a flag for analogue, but at the same time also focus on the role and importance of the print whatever kind of output, in today's increasingly screen-driven world. I'm extremely pleased that I have been able to achieve this through the bursary with Redeye.
"Looking forward to next year."
And Emma commented: "I spent two days in Cumbria working with Rob Sara; it was a fantastic experience that has made a difference and clarified the importance of the analogue medium to my practice. I know that I have gained a greater depth of understanding of the hand printing process and how it enhances an image. I have to say... I never want to go back to digital printing again!
"The prints we worked on together over the two days have been exhibited in a group show in Cube Gallery (Manchester) 16th – 21st June and Hoxton Gallery (London) 26th – 29th June.
"I plan to create a C-type print book of my current project for my portfolio and am looking forward to working on this with Rob in the near future. I gained a lot from this experience and I am very grateful to Rob and Redeye for this opportunity."