I was lucky enough to win a trip to Italy with the Guild of Photographers, courtesy of GraphiStudio to visit their facilities over in the north of Italy. A trip like this doesn’t come along very often (well, not for me anyway), so I wanted to make some kind of record of what happened during the trip (although what happens in Venice stays in Venice, am I right Lesley? ;) ) and put the trip into a few words.
I joined Steve and Lesley Thirsk, Julie Oswin and Shane Young on the trip who are, how shall I put it, a lot more established in the Guild of Photographers than I am. ;) I’d met Steve, Lesley, Julie and Shane checking in bags at an airport, and by the time the plane accelerated down the runway, I already felt like they’d been my friends for years. If you’re reading this and, like me, are shy or not confident enough to post on the Guild’s Facebook page then take it from me, do it, the Guild is a family and you will be made to feel part of that family so quickly. If my words aren’t good enough (not often that they are) then I would encourage you to meet fellow ‘Guilders’ through attending Guild training days, meet ups and especially the awards evening. No way am I missing that next year. If you're reading this and wondering what the Guild is, then check their website out.
Visit to the GraphiStudio Factory, Arba, less than 60 miles north-east of Venice, Italy.
Jeremy Price and Francesca Fontanin from GraphiStudio met us at the airport after the rather short flight from the UK and took us to our hotel where we were staying for the night. After lunch and a quick walk around the very picturesque town of Maniago we headed to the GraphiStudio factory where we were given a guided tour of the Factory and were able to see at first hand the time, care and skill that goes into making each and every album produced by the factory.
There was such a family atmosphere around the factory, workstations were covered in photos of loved ones, a member of staff had even brought their new born baby in to meet their colleagues! As the workforce coo’d over the new baby we continued around the factory to the printing department. GraphiStudio have numerous printers which, impressively, never all work at the same time. This is due to the constant calibration which the technicians undertake.
Technicians who’s idea of a good time involves taking the manual for the printers, ripping it up, and writing a new one! A process which breeds creation and innovation and leads to some of the cutting edge printing seen in the GraphiStudio range of products. It was impressive. Very impressive. But Jeremy and Francesca had saved the best to last. The newly installed Canon Dream Lab printer was now in front of us.
Shiny, blank and a little bit bigger than my first home’s kitchen, it looks the business. The other printers were industrial looking compared. Technicians wore casual clothes and overalls whilst maintaining these bulkier printers. I expect them to be wearing their Sunday best whilst operating the Dream Lab. But the printing. Oh the printing. It is honestly like no other photographic printing you will have seen before. In fact I’m not quite sure of the words to describe just how bloody amazing the printing is. (Yes. Bloody. And I mean it) The clarity and vibrance (are just 2 of the sliders I can name from Lightroom) ;) of the prints are jaw dropping. Lesley summed it up perfectly, saying that comparing standard prints to the Dream Lab prints is like the jump from standard TV to HD (or words to that affect) An album printed by this beautiful machine has been produced and was recently on display at the Guild of Photographers stall at the Photography Show in Birmingham so more people will have had the chance to take in the wonderful prints the Dream Lab can produce.
It was a fantastic experience, having the opportunity to tour the GraphiStudio factory, giving a real insight into the company ethos, their commitment to work with photographers, (who GraphiStudio call their friends), and to supply exceedingly high quality, bespoke, products to clients. Something that I, as a photographer, will strive to do as I develop my business.
In part two: Count Ceconi Castle