Artifact Uprising snuck onto my radar sometime in the last 2 years; I can't remember whether it was a result of their partnership with my mobile image-editing suite of choice, VSCO, or of their own accord, but I thought it was a great idea and mentally bookmarked it for later. As a photographer learning my way in the digital age and taking most of my photos with my phone, having images printed just isn't a regular part of the process. I'd love it to be but the expense of quality printing make a regular practice of it quite cost prohibitive. Artifact Uprising has developed a service (complete with an app) that is built with the idea of bringing digital images from mobile devices and computers, into the real physical world - with relative simplicity. From their website:
LEAVE A LEGACY
we believe in the story that is archived for future generations. we believe in moving stories off your device and into your life.
I decided to give the service a spin, using a mix of mobile images and film scans I've compiled over the years. AU has many printing options available, from more gift-oriented sizes and quality to actual art-quality prints (which I'm actually most interested in). They also claim to use 100% environmentally friendly, post-consumer waste for their products, and appear to be very transparent about who they source from. I'm not the most environment-conscious person on the planet by any stretch of the imagination, but when a company is really committed to that end, it's definitely confidence-building.
I placed an order for 25 prints, picking random photographs from my trips to Berlin and Copenhagen, as well as my Lessondary shoot, some random portraits, and a few shots from my two trips to visit my grandparents. The delivery came today and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was geekily excited. For starters, the packaging was clean and well-designed (thanks for the precedent, Apple) so I was already relatively impressed.
Firstly, let me say this - as I described earlier, having physical copies of my work is not something I'm used to, so to see and hold these has a novelty to it that impossible to deny. As great as a photograph can look on a screen, I'm of the school of thought that photographs are best represented in a physical state. And as the photographer, there's absolutely a unique pride in seeing your work in print. It almost makes an honest critique of the materials and print quality hard to do.
I love how almost everything came out. As a caveat, there are all kinds of pre-printing considerations that pros do with their images to really make them look great in print, and I'm not well-versed to that end, so any niggles or issues I might have may have been embedded into the files I sent in. I noticed that blacks/shadows aren't reproduced super faithfully - detail seems like it can get a bit lost, at least with the process used for these 5x5 prints. My expectations weren't extremely high though, for the aforementioned reasons, and also because shadow detail is just a difficult thing to reproduce accurately - even the paper used can affect the results.
I thought for what this particular option offers the average end-user, though, everything looked great. The stock of the paper isn't super thick but feels sturdy enough to be handled. To have the ability to take a picture on your phone, edit it and then send it away to be printed and delivered to your door is pretty amazing.
What a time to be alive.
As I said earlier, I'm really testing out different options for printing because I'm interested in selling editioned prints. I'd love to hear back from anybody that actually reads these posts I put up and see if my work would be something people would be interested in investing in! I have to figure out how all of that would even look, but as I've mentioned in my post about Offscreen - having my work printed is a big deal for a number of reasons, one of which is being able to share with the world.