Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs, Carl-Evert Jonsson’s work with washi, an ancient multi-textured, fibrous Japanese paper, is an inspirational, rather than instructional work.
Jonsson first used washi while hand-coloring landscapes in his native Sweden. After retiring from a surgical career at age 70 and in search of a way to be more creative photographically, Jonsson began printing his pictures on washi.
“The common concept of how photographs should look may perhaps be challenged by the technique,” Jonsson writes of printing on washi. “…The washi prints may look uncommon, unnatural, or sometimes abstract, depending on the selection of photographs and pigments.”
Jonsson has had seven, one-man exhibitions of his work and illustrates the slim book with 38 examples of his toned washi prints. Some of these images are quite extraordinary and well illustrate Jonnson’s belief that the process of printing and toning photographs on washi contributes to “the defamiliarization of the everyday.”
“Trump Tower, New York City, USA” transforms the building’s image into abstract art by the use of washi and selective toning. “In the Garden” and “Skull and Stone” illustrate how ordinary objects are made extraordinary when printed on washi, which brings unusual textures and depth to the prints.
Jonsson’s lack of instruction can be frustrating, however. A recipe for making an egg-oil medium gives little guidance on how to use it. A few paragraphs describing cutting washi sheets and preparing them for printing might have been better suited to several pages. Readers must be already competent in digitally printing photographs to follow along. Fortunately, Jonsson sprinkles some additional resources for learning about washi throughout his text and in the book’s Notes section.
Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs will interest photographers searching for creative ways to print their work and who are inspired by others who have led the way. Jonsson’s images will also appeal to those who appreciate photography as art.
Also available as an ebook.