What is a "giclee" and why is it better than a "photograph"?


Don Lane has been a landscape photographer in Newfoundland for 40 years. Prior to 2004, all his prints were made “photographically” - that is they were exposed on light-sensitive paper using an enlarger, and processed in chemicals - much the same way it had been done for over 100 years. In 2004, he, along with most of the professional photographic art world, began the conversion of the printing process to digital. After almost 30 years in business, it was a significant event, and required a big investment in the technology, but “having made the decision, I would never go back. Digital printing is amazing.The photographic art world has changed.”

All his valuable negatives have been scanned on a high resolution film scanner, in full 16-bit colour depth, creating a 300 megabyte file for each image (a 64-megapixel equivalent) which can then be used to make prints up to six feet long in sharp true colour. He does his own scanning, digital work and printing in his workshop and studio which are located in the basement of the Sheraton. The newly coined word for this kind of printing is “giclee” (pronounced zhee-CLAY).

A "giclee" is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-colour-fidelity, long-lasting reproduction, made one at a time on professional printers, blending eight different colours of ink.

Colour richness and contrast in the traditional photograph was limited mainly by the original lighting and exposure on the film. Giclee colours are brighter, and the pigmented museum inks last much longer than the dyes used in traditional photographs. They are truly continuous tone because of the way the inks are sprayed on the paper, actually mixing the colours to create millions of beautiful shades and hues.

Don now makes all his images as giclees, printing them one at a time in the size required. Each image sale is recorded and quantities of each image are limited. Most of the sales from his gallery in the Sheraton are shipped around the world. “We have customers from six continents; everybody loves Newfoundland and her scenery and people.”

But the giclee method of printing photographic images is only part of the technology that goes into a Lane image. A "normal" giclee, when finished, is easily damaged by moisture and fingerprints, and it can be scratched. Other prints and giclees require glass and matting when framed. But Lane giclees are “sandwiches”; they are mounted on foam core board and covered with an ultra-thin crystal clear acrylic laminate into which is embedded a subtle linen texture.

The laminate seals the surface of the giclee, making it waterproof and scratch resistant, and adds to the life of the image. “They look spectacular!”

The “galleria” laminate actually makes the image look sharper and eliminates glare that glass would cause. Glass is not required. It can be cleaned with a damp cloth or glass cleaner. It is framed with a wooden liner-and-cap style frame, like an oil painting. It is very lightweight and will not break in shipment. This is why the Lane Gallery can guarantee worldwide safe delivery of all our images.

The Lane Gallery has always prided itself on making products which were the “blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology”. With our new digital giclee printing and galleria lamination, the signed and dated Lane print is a vibrant, permanent and durable piece of Newfoundland art of which we are very proud.