Jon Shimizu: Book project using Asuka inkjet papers

Art student Jon Shimizu shared with us his experience printing on the inkjet Asuka papers for his book project, and how much he loved working with them. Below is Jon’s artist statement. Thank you, Jon!

(We always appreciate any feedback about the papers, so please let us know!)

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This book project is for a class entitled Photography + Experience, taught by Franco Salmoiraghi at Pacific New Media in Honolulu. The purpose of the project was to experience the story telling process by selecting a series of ~15 images, from either past or present work, and create a story that is evocative and amplified by the words and images. As a very close friend passed away near the start of the class, I chose to write about our experiences fly fishing. Our history of fly fishing together spanned a long period of time, so for the purposes of the class, the project was focused on just the past six years of fishing for bonefish.

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The majority of fishing images I already had were more documentary in nature, taken with a small waterproof point and shoot camera. These images were basically of the environs at various times in the day, my friend or others fishing and the fish or other ocean inhabitants seen or caught. However, after discussing the intent of the project in detail with Franco, he recommended to also metaphorically convey what I was feeling – the surreal experience of losing a friend, the lack of clarity that followed and how I am reconciling the loss. We spoke of supplementing the existing images with new images using a  plastic lens camera to help convey the feeling.

This is a wonderful class, the second time I’m taking it. The idea of hand making word and image projects was emphasized in the first class but, to ensure timely end product, I opted to just make a photo book using a national consumer photo bookmaker. However, curious about handmade books since, I’ve learned to make hard cover stab bound books. We also discussed that, as a handmade book, the paper used would be important to the presentation. I started to browse online and found Hiromi Paper Inc.

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Although I’ve wrapped hard covers with Japanese paper before, I wanted to print a fish scale pattern for the covers rather than use the paper alone. Hiromi Paper Inc. had the perfect fit with a line of washi inkjet paper. After inquiring with Hiromi Paper, they recommended that the Asuka line of papers would be a good candidate as it is printable and available in a variety of weights. After testing a few prints, it seemed that the 75g/m2 paper would be the best suited – enough strength for wet gluing and enough flexibility to easily fold around the cardboard hard cover.

Just using a regular multipurpose inkjet printer for the tests, I was impressed with the quality of printing on the Asuka paper. Although I originally planned to dry mount prints made with a photo quality inkjet printer, the quality of the test prints made me curious to also test the regular printer with the Asuka paper for the image pages themselves.  I was really impressed with the test results. All three Asuka paper weights printed the images well but the thinnest 48g/m2 paper gave the images an exquisite luminosity when lifting pages up to turn. The paper’s translucence also gave a hint of the following pages. The thickest 150g/m2 paper is great for opaque double-sided printing or for full bleed images where the printer lays down a lot of ink. The texture and softness of the paper were also immediately noticeable and complement the viewing/reading experience. Quite impressed with the paper’s quality, I ordered enough to complete the book along with digital and inkjet samplers to test for future projects.

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Thank you Hiromi Paper Inc. for making these exquisite papers available in the US!

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