Chicago Cultural Center-The Exhibition:In the Company of Black

by Camellia Staab March. 02, 2019 513 views

There were several exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, when I visited. The first one that really grabbed my attention, primarily because it had to do with photography and secondly because the pictures were extraordinary was called "In the Company of Black" by Cecil MacDonald Jr..

Each of the photographs told a story. The details were amazing and the colors even more so.

Over the course of seven years, artist and educator Cecil McDonald, Jr. photographed people he describes as “extraordinarily ordinary.” As the artist explains, “When it comes to Black people, America is fascinated with extreme poles: either showing victims of violence, pain, and poverty (Black misery) or famous athletes and entertainers, and icons of popular culture (Black exceptionalism). This false dichotomy denies Black people the individuality and full spectrum of humanity that is so readily offered to the white population in this country." The photographs of In the Company of Black live in the space between, including tender moments with McDonald's daughters, informal portraits of his friends and collaborators and references to music, art, history and popular culture.

Next to each of the photographs was a tag indicating that it had been "pigment printed". Not knowing what pigment printing meant, I had to research it when I got home and here is what I found :

The term "pigment print" is generally used to define any type of printed image that uses strictly pigments, rather than dyes. Image stability of pigment printing is superior to that of any other method of printing, including traditional gelatin silver process printing.
Digital inkjet printing has seen a surge in the use of the pigment ink as ink sets have been refined to be compatible with the latest in high-resolution inkjet technology.
Where archival dye-based ink sets exhibit excellent color gamut, pigment inks excel in permanence. A dye is molecularly soluble in its vehicle, but pigment is not. Pigment particles tend to be large enough to embed into the receiving substrate making them water-resistant. The particulate nature of pigment inks ensures their archival superiority. A particle of pigment is less susceptible to destructive environmental elements than a dye molecule.
Many digital papers have coatings which enhance color gamut. However, these delicate coatings are susceptible to scuffing and scratching, and diminish the archival properties of the print. Prints made with coated substrates are not considered true digital pigment prints.


Hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed looking and studying them. I have not done justice to what the photographer captured with my photos but trust me when I say his work is incredible and awe inspiring!

Off to the next exhibition 😉

Join the conversation
There are 10 comments , add yours!
Jay Boggess 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for sharing these powerful images of ordinary Black Lives we seldom Caucasians....
Fantastic camera work, capturing these & presenting them, Camellia!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Andi Saw 2 years, 6 months ago

WOW. I really needed this.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Russell Smith 2 years, 6 months ago

Beautiful exhibit. I am going to hazzard a guess that they were shot on film and digitally converted . Is that a safe guess?

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Heike 2 years, 6 months ago

Amazing photos! The style is stunning, something between paint and photography. It's fantastic how he 'plays' with light, color and shadow. Thanks for showing his works and for introducing him.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Heike 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Heike, it truly is a great exhibition.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 2 years, 6 months ago

Would like to visit that. We also get here a very extreme view of black people in the US. Never they show the midclass, normal working people.Who live a normal live like you and me. About printing,maybe something for the blog,an article about printing. Thanks for sharing.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Berckmans Peter 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for stopping by. It really was an incredible exhibit.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Laurie Madsen 2 years, 6 months ago

Super COOL Camellia!
What an interesting article to accompany your excellent collection!
I just purchased pigmented ink for my bulk ink system on my large format printer to use on rolled canvas. Your description of pigmented inks rivals the company that sold them to me! Interesting!
I want to try printing some of my panoramas on canvas. I haven't set it up yet though.
Thanks for sharing the info and wonderful photo collection!

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Laurie Madsen 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Laurie. smile Would love to see the behind the scene of your printing when you get it all set up.

2 years, 6 months ago Edited
Laurie Madsen Replied to Camellia Staab 2 years, 6 months ago

It's Just an older (expensive) Epson printer and it accepts rolls of paper or canvas. I had to purchase the paper roll holder and cutter attachment. Then I purchased a Bulk Continuous Ink system, as I not only had problems with the printer not accepting cartridges, but they would show empty when they were full. Also, it saves a LOT of expense on ink! The bulk system has an auto reset button, so the ink monitor is reset to full when it monitors ink to empty level. (system was designed to monitor ink on # of prints, rather than actual ink levels). I can buy ink refills in pints or quarts.
It has an attachment that comes out of the front like a hammock to catch the paper as it comes out.
So here the components sit, and I haven't tried it yet.
When I get it set up, I will blog a post with pics and let you know....

2 years, 6 months ago Edited