On Press: Out of Gamut; A Touch of Black

Alex Webb, Matthew Pimm signs off, Hong Kong, 2011

Working with Matthew Pimm, head of production at Aperture, who is on press with us in Hong Kong, is always an education.  He’s made me much more aware of the possibilities — as well as the  limitations — of four color printing.  The limitations come up somewhat regularly with my photographs, which are often taken in extreme or mixed light, sometimes producing colors that are unusual or surprising.  As I understand it, the four color dot system simply can’t reproduce certain hues, certain tones that may exist in a continuous tone photograph.  Now, having worked with Matthew on two books, I smile to myself a bit when he tells me, as we’re looking at a particularly deep Kodachrome red — or a strange, intense blue — that the color is “out of gamut.”      Over the years, I’ve learned to translate this phrase of Matthew’s describing those colors of mine most difficult to reproduce, as  — in my best  Brooklynese — “Fuhgeddaboutit, Alex!”

Most of the time, however, a small adjustment will make the image sing, which is what happened with this image (below) of the child with cotton candy (the cover of the Istanbul book) after we added just a touch of black.–Alex Webb

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3 Responses to “On Press: Out of Gamut; A Touch of Black”

  1. Matthew Goddard-Jones Says:

    Good luck Alex. One of the scariest things for me was putting my signature on test sheets at 3am.

  2. danielbelenguer Says:

    Alex, your photos have always similar hues and texture. I suposse that happens for using always the same film.
    I have four books from you and love the grain and colours, and the consistency.
    May be will be more difficult achieve that on digital?
    I’m working with an m9 and is good, but the main problem to me is maintain the same hues and colours.
    It would be nice hearing your opinion about digital photography, I don’t want to emulate film, but I try to avoid too much photoshop.
    regards and congratulations.

  3. Shea Naer Says:

    I like this video clip. Several people contributing their perceptions, but in the end, you need to make the final call. This could be both thrilling and a bit nerve-wracking.

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