After I bought my first box of Adox MCC 110 last year I searched for a matte version, but Firstcall said it wouldn’t happen till late last year, by which time I had forgotten about looking and thinking about using matte paper to experiment with.
A tutorial with the college tutors a couple weeks ago reminded me of my search for matte Adox paper from last year and it got me searching the web for a retailer of matte paper by my favourite company: Adox. Firstcall didn’t stock it so I trawled the net looking for a stockist. Eventually I found FOTOIMPEX based in Berlin, where the Adox factory is so that got me excited, I tried to buy a box there and then but the German PayPal wasn’t being nice with the UK version; they probably got annoyed with all the Hitler jokes and decided to inconvenience export trade. Anyway, so after some friendly communications with a salesman from FOTOIMPEX and being informed there were only 4 boxes left I bought a box and waited 2 weeks for it to be delivered, German efficiency and Royal Mail don’t go hand in hand.
After the arduous wait the box was delivered and I got to play with the paper today, I conducted some test contact prints for my final show. The matte finish opens the images in a way, they have an added depth and greater visibility compared to glossy prints: where you’re constantly moving to see the part of the print that is covered by the glare of the gloss. It makes for a nice change since I’m usually looking at glossy prints and craning my neck to see the print.
When I got to using the paper I wasn’t sure which side was the sensitised side because of the lack of gloss, but after asking Kev he said, “the one way to be fully sure of which side is sensitised is to put it in your mouth, which ever side sticks is the sensitised side.” Bizarre but cool. I also found that once I cut the 16×20 sheet down to 5×4 it curled a little and when the corners curled inwards that’s the sensitised side. Not as weird as whacking it in your mouth but it works too.
One thing I found with this paper is that it’s a very insensitive paper compared to the Adox MCC 110. I’m not used to contact sheets taking 16-18 seconds to produce adequate results, even at f/8; my preferred aperture. (Even though I know it makes no difference to contact sheets.)
I have to say that these images do not do the prints justice, metering on an iPad is next to impossible and replicating the same exposure parameters is.
Dry down is usually only an issue when you haven’t used that specific paper before, and it was a bit of a problem today, I overexposed a piece by a few seconds and it looked alright in the wash but once I dried it, it was obviously too dark in the shadows. Highlights weren’t affected as much which was peculiar, usually dry down affects the print uniformly but I have only played for a few hours so I’ll only know for sure as I carry on playing and exploring.
I enjoyed playing with matte paper and I reckon it’ll become my primary paper choice from now on. Having said that it’ll probably change once I try another paper, as long as it’s not Ilford; not a fan of their FB papers.