An inspiring artistic exploration is often the perfect union of materials and image. Bruce Monk uses high quality Japanese washi to create some of his most stunning photographs.

Bruce, is a photographer, and has been creating fine art photography since 1987. His works are in many personal collections, exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. Bruce’s work has been featured in campaigns for both Leica and Hasselblad cameras and used in films as diverse as “Vanilla Sky” and “Two For The Money”. Here is what he has to say about his process...

"After 30 years of traditional and alternative darkroom printmaking I have been on the receiving end of numerous discontinued photographic papers, I switched to a paper that has both the beauty and durability required for photographic reproduction. Most interesting of the 20 or so fine art papers that functions well as a photographic paper is Gampi tissue {12-20 gsm}, with careful treatment it can withstand coating, drying, development, clearing, washing and drying and finally produces an image with more clarity and depth than conventional papers.

The paper does present some challenges on its route to beauty, in particular it needs to be supported on mylar sheets throughout the wet processes, plus getting the paper to dry flat after a 20 minute wet cycle is challenging and requires a book making press or large perfectly flat weights.

To further enhance the dynamic range of the image, the paper is backed with 24kt Gold leaf. Light penetrates thru the image and is subtly reflected off the Gold on the back of the print and bounces back to the viewer, behaving more like a gemstone than an opaque surface. The resulting image has a depth and resonance that is unmatched by any other process.

This process was originally called an Orotone and was discovered over 100 years ago, when photographs where often printed on glass plates and then backed with gold. My version of this process does not reinvent the wheel but hopefully makes it less fragile."

Bruce Monk, a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, is a choreographer and a former dancer with the Company and has been teaching in the RWB School Professional Division for 23 years.