A train journey in 2011 from his hometown in North Carolina to Virginia, inspired fine art photographer McNair Evans to explore contemporary America through the country's passenger rail system. For over three years, Evans has embarked on biannual two-week long Amtrak trips, what the artist calls a "public artist residency," using the time to meet and converse with fellow passengers, record their stories and photograph the people and the landscape.
Presented for the very first time by the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries, Evans' epic project, In Search of Great Men, combines compelling original photography and first-person, passenger-written journals that capture the unique cross-section of train travelers, offering the viewer a poignant and empathetic view of their lives. The images are printed on Juniper Baryta Rag 305.
How did you choose Juniper for your gallery?
For years I had worked with the Moab Colorado Fiber Satin, which is an excellent paper. Legion Paper’s printing expert Evan Parker and I had been discussing the papers performance and suggested that given the warm, moody quality of my photographs, that I might like Juniper.
How did the Juniper paper portray your artwork/ personal style?
Juniper produces a rich black point while holding detail in the shadows much like a traditional C-print. This, along with the papers warmer stock, help me produce images with depth and rich colors in the darker print tones.
Who did the printing for the exhibition? Which printer did they use?
I do all my all own printing, and always have. Many people think that Inkjet printing, because it is computerized, is automatic. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With the introduction of such control comes the responsibility of precision of vision. Because of the sheer volume of the show, San Francisco’s Rayko Photo Center dedicated a brand new Epson 7890 and studio space to my printing. I’m generally most productive in the evenings and night time, so would print until about 3 Am, and then literally sleep beneath the Epson.
Any advice for other exhibitors choosing a paper for their gallery?
When choosing an exhibition quality paper, it’s helpful to consider the visual characteristics of your imagery. Do most of your picture occupy the highlights? Are there regularly large areas of shadows? Does your vision run cool, or are there more warmer tones. Understanding the pallet of your project or work will help you pick a paper the performs well in those specific areas.