Have you seen the latest issue of Circa, just out? Whoa! Self-praise is no praise, but we feel we’ve finally made some significant progress with the quality of image reproduction. It’s been a sore point with the magazine over many years. Partly it has been a technical issue, partly an ideological one.
Should an art magazine be an art object, as well as trying to depict art objects? If an art object, then design is obviously going to be important, but so too will the overall feel – what it’s like to pick it up, the bulk of it, the quality of the paper, etc, even how it smells. Paper quality seems to be where ‘art object’ versus ‘art reproduction’ diverge the most: paper that is interesting to the fingers and the eyes is often not much good at holding images. And paper that is good with images – a prime example being Hello, a paper whose name is possibly derived from Hello! magazine – may just be thin, flimsy, shiny and unpleasant.
Then there’s the added question of whether the paper is ecologically friendly. And the quality of the printing – printing presses and processes vary.
What did we do? Changed our paper and our printer, and put a spot coating over the images. We’re very pleased with the results. We probably pushed more towards ‘art reproduction’ than ‘art object’, but I think it’s OK on both measures. I had been worried that good printing would just reveal deficiencies in the quality of the photographic images – how artists take photos of their work is a whole other topic – but no, it all seems to have turned out well. See for yourself.