Focal Points
The idea for Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' photography exhibition, The Black List, began at lunch with his friend, journalist Elvis Mitchell. They started talking about African American achievement and the people that Greenfield-Sanders had photographed. "By the end of our meal, we'd listed over 175 more names and a title for our project on table napkins," said Greenfield-Sanders, one of today's top portraitists whose work is seen in magazines and museums worldwide. Many of his exhibition prints are created with the latest Epson inkjet printmaking technology.

Twenty-five photographic portraits and interviews later, The Black List is now a traveling exhibition to 10 museums nationwide, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; a film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; an HBO documentary; and a book with Simon and Schuster's Atria. The Black List celebrates the faces, characters and personalities of 25 influential African Americans, including Toni Morrison, Chris Rock, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Serena Williams, Colin Powell, Slash and Sean Combs.

"The Black List project was tough, but it was also exciting, fascinating and fun," said Greenfield-Sanders. Each subject's session consisted of a taped interview conducted by Mitchell followed by a portrait sitting. "I constantly switched hats as director of the film and photographer of the portrait series," said Greenfield-Sanders.

He photographed each individual using an 8x10 view camera for the highest quality possible. Depending on his subject's schedule, the sessions lasted any time between 35 seconds, with personalities like hip-hop artist Russell Simmons, to 20 minutes, with comedian Chris Rock. He then transformed his original captures into high resolution 1.6 gigabyte files to create extremely detailed, life-sized 58x44-inch exhibition prints. Relying on photographic tools of the highest caliber for the project, he chose printing technology that would deliver the same quality standard. Each Black List print was produced on the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 ink jet printer on Epson Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper.

The Black List project was tough, but it was also exciting, fascinating and fun"

Impact of Fine Art Papers

"The focus, of course, is the photograph itself and what it is trying to tell you," said Greenfield-Sanders. "But the paper that a photographer chooses for an exhibition really does make a difference in the overall effect of the prints. The paper selection is often an emotional one because it's directly linked to the impact of the work."

With Epson Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper, the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 brought new levels of extreme detail, and sharpness along with superb skin tones to The Black List exhibition. "The look, the touch and the feel of the Stylus Pro 9900 prints on the Epson Hot Press Bright paper was irresistible," said Greenfield-Sanders. Using advanced ink jet coating technology and 100% acid-free cotton Epson Hot Press Bright yields richer blacks, smoother tonal transitions and an expanded color gamut.

Inspired by the hand craftsmanship of artisans who developed the first watercolor papers, the newest additions to the Epson line of Signature Worthy papers include two Hot Press (smooth surface) and two Cold Press (textured surface) Fine Art Papers. "Combined with the Stylus Pro 9900, the Epson Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper, with its luxurious weight, texture and finish, was a great choice for The Black List exhibition," said Greenfield-Sanders.

New Approach to Photographic Printing

Impact is what The Black List is all about. Champion Serena Williams boldly faces the camera as if ready to swing at a tennis ball. Actor-comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans turns toward the photographer with wry amusement. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks with a wide grin pulls back her long locks like a stage curtain. Actor Lou Gossett Jr. gazes deeply into the lens with his hand over his heart.

No matter what personality or what print, the dramatic effect is enhanced by the Epson UltraChrome® HDR Ink Technology, Epson's latest generation of pigment inks. With ten colors including a new Orange and Green, the ink set allows photographers like Greenfield-Sanders to print details and color as never before. "The Epson prints highlight what large-format portraiture is all about, with its unsurpassed quality, sharpness, tonality and unique look," he said.

Combined with Epson AccuPhoto™ HDR screening, the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 produces exceptionally fine photographic blends and transitions, and highly accurate highlight-to-shadow detail. A 10-channel, high-precision MicroPiezo TFP™ print head produces high quality prints at speeds almost twice as fast as previous models. The printer is capable of handling virtually any media type, in roll or cut sheet, up to 44 inches wide. "Even next to basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the 58x44-inch exhibition prints looked big," said Greenfield-Sanders.

Bringing Images to Life

One of the objectives of The Black List project was to find thought-provoking ways to re-define the word "blacklist." "We wanted to convey the individualism and achievement of the personalities behind The Black List," said Greenfield-Sanders. Combined with the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 printer and UltraChrome HDR Inks, the Hot Press Bright paper played a big role in helping him create a successful exhibition highlighting the "stories, triumphs and joys of black life in the United States."

What better way to share a positive message about culture and identity than with life-sized photographs of truly superb composition and print quality? While Greenfield-Sanders captured the essence of prominent athletes, writers, actors, musicians and politicians, the latest Epson printmaking technology helped bring his images even more to life for audiences everywhere.