A Master of Many Arts
Most people know Graham Nash as a member of the 1960s folk rock supergroup, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young [later and still Crosby, Stills and Nash] and the author of the song Teach Your Children. However, ever since taking Epson's on-line printing course, for which Nash acts as a sort of master of ceremonies, I've known him as one of the key players in the history of digital printing; in a very real sense he is the father of digital photo and fine art printing.
Graham Nash, Self-Portrait, Plaza Hotel, New York, 1970.
In the late 1980s after mucking around with a variety of options for scanning and printing photos, Nash and his friend and business partner R. Mac Holbert got their hands on a color proofing printer used in the book and magazine printing industry and immediately moded it to print images on heavy watercolor paper. About the same time the two started Nash Editions in Southern California and were off and running in the world of fine art digital printing.
Earlier this year New Riders published a book called Nash Editions, Photography and the Art of Digital Printing to tell the story of the company and its growing body of impressive work. The book is filled with over 180 reproductions of photos and other art work done by Nash Editions in collaboration with the creators of these works. Together they are a lesson both for photographers and digital printers who want to master their craft. I've included some scans from the book here, but it's impossible to do the original images proper justice at 425 pixels wide and a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. Still the scans give you a sense of the creative forces and focus on quality that drive the people of Nash Editions and their customers. Captions for all images are taken directly from the book.
Nash Editions also includes an introduction by Nash and three essays. The first essay, by Holbert, covers the simultaneous growth of Nash Editions and quality digital printing. The second presents a brief, well organized history of photography by Richard Benson. The final essay is the best discussion I've ever seen on traditional and digital photographic image permanence by the godfather of image longevity testing, Henry Wilhelm. Additionally, a number of small essays with images by their authors are scattered throughout the book.
Though it might seem strange for a book like this, I couldn't stop reading it; for me it was a real page-turner. Between the text and the always interesting, often dazzling images Nash Editions, Photography and the Art of Digital Printing is a feast for inquiring minds and eyes.
The book retails for $40 and can be found at bookstores and on-line. It's also available in eBook format for $32.