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 😉