While touring Germany to visit my wife’s family, we stopped by the world famous Hahnemühle paper mill. I have been using Hahnemühle’s fine art papers over the past several years to print my photography portfolios, so it was my pleasure to be invited to tour the headquarters in the Relliehausen district of Dassel, Germany. Our scenic ride took us through a beautiful landscape filled with pastoral farmlands and fields, old medieval castles, and speeding Supercars driving past us with such force and velocity, I quickly gained a new level of respect for driving–and surviving– on the world famous Autobahn. Upon arriving, we were greeted by Norbert Klinke, Director of Sales, and , Head of Marketing. After a wonderful lunch my family and I were led on a tour to witness the entire process of paper-making and printing, from pulp to print.
The most fascinating part of the tour was seeing the freshwater baths they prepared the paper in from surrounding springs and mountains. Although paper-making is not organic, it is evident that Hahnemühle cares about their natural surroundings and works hard to be environmentally conscious of the process. You can see the pride and commitment of the staff just by walking around the factory–their dedication and spirits were wonderful to be around.
Viewing images on a screen has become a constant in our lives–it is easy to forget the power an image can have once printed beautifully on paper. To print a photograph gives a unique tangibility to a moment and is a testament to the craft of printing. Traditional photography portfolios are the preferred medium to experience photographs, however with the onset of digital, iPads have become an alternate to portfolios due to the ease of use and ability to access thousands of images. However, there is a special presence paper evokes more so than an illuminated screen.
Many thanks to Hahnemühle and their staff for giving my family and I such a wonderful eye-opening tour.
An image from my Mississippi Juke Joint series, shot in 2001 in Clarksdale, MI, with fashion director Kevin Stewart and model Kwame, as the new fine art pearl paper promotional image.