POSSIBILITIES OF POLYMER PHOTOGRAVURE
by KARI HOLOPAINEN
Polymer photogravure is a method based on the innovation of Danish printmaker and artist Eli Ponsaing, 1989. Ponsaing's main innovation was to understand that polymer plates produced for letterpress printing could successfully be used in intaglio.
In polymer photogravure traditional pigment paper and copper is replaced by light-sensitive photopolymer resin plates (Toyobo printight KM). The polymer plates are printed in the same manner as traditional etching plates. The process requires a darkroom, a high quality etching press and a good UV vacuum frame. If darkroom conditions are not available, it is possible to make positive originals on plastic foils or on glass surfaces.
In my own work I have concentrated on developing the qualitative possibilities of the method when photographical images are used. In many countries, polymer photogravure is still a new method and rarely used although it can give brilliant printing quality with a full range of tones from white to velvety black. Compared with traditional photogravure (heliogravure), the new method is much faster and more secure. This is because there are much less variables in the new polymer photogravure method.