"Queen of Darkness" - Chromaluxe® Print
When I first saw a Chromaluxe print of a buffalo by David Lloyd at Genesis Imaging in London, I knew immediately that I had to have one made. The richness of the colours, the depth of the blacks and the beautiful tonal range of this process makes the image leap out at you - almost as if it is real. For Fine Art wildlife photography, I think it has a multitude of possibilities, but for me it really suits photographs with high contrast and rich colours, although it looks equally punchy with David's black and white pictures. I thought it was perfect for one of my favourite images "Queen of Darkness" - Pula the leopard at almost life size. Although it is expensive, for the right picture, I really think it's worth it!
The method to create these prints is quite something: ChromaLuxe printing uses a process called ‘dye sublimation’ to fuse images on to metal. The term ‘sublimation’ describes the transition of a substance (in this case, the special inks) directly from the solid to the gas phase without becoming a liquid first.The 8 dye sublimation inks they use consist of a solid and heat intensive dye. The image is first printed as a Giclee print using these inks on to transfer paper, which is then applied to a specially coated 1.2mm aluminium panel. Using both heat and pressure the dye particles change into a gas, bond with the polymers in the aluminium, and then change back into a solid state; fusing the image and aluminium together. This produces images on aluminium with an outstanding depth and intensity of colour – comparable to traditional Cibachrome prints or photographs produced using Kodak Kodachrome or Fujifilm Velvia colour-reversal or transparency films – that really has to be seen to be believed.
These prints are archival, highly resilient and require no additional glass, acrylic, lamination or coating to protect them. They are waterproof, abrasion resistant, fire resistant and chemical resistant – making it suitable for almost any interior or exterior environment, even underwater, although I don't recommend getting them anywhere near the most destructive force on Earth, which is an airline baggage-handler! Read about that sorry episode and its happy ending here.