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About Benrido Collotype Atelier
Established in Kyoto in 1887, Benrido brings over a century of experience to image making. Collotype printing was the state of the art for photographic reproduction at the turn of the twentieth century. However, due to the high level of expertise needed to obtain consistent results, it was quickly replaced by the faster, cheaper and more mechanized process of offset printing. As one of the world’s few remaining producers of collotypes, Benrido offers rare access to this lost craft, providing opportunities for today’s international renowned photographers to collaborate with master artisan printers in making singularly beautiful museum-quality prints.
One of the collotype’s distinguishing characteristics is the ability to display extremely fine tonal gradations and a practically infinite range of values. By approximating the full array of perceptible tones – from deep shadow to brilliant highlight – collotype prints faithfully render photographic images in exquisite detail.
Collotypes originated in France in the early decades of photography. In 1855 the Frenchman Alphonse-Louis Poitevin discovered the hardening effect of light on metallic salts suspended in gelatin. In the 1880s, the process was exported from Europe to such distant locales as the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto.
By 1905, Benrido had begun producing collotypes, thereby inaugurating what was to become a distinctive legacy in printmaking. Along with local papermakers and bookbinders, the Benrido craftsmen have upheld a tradition of superior Kyoto artisanship for more than a century, creating and preserving thousands of Japanese national treasures and cultural artifacts. Now that new technologies have all but driven collotypes to extinction, the Benrido studio provides photographers of the digital age with a unique opportunity to realize their creative visions using this rare process.
Collaboration between The Gallery Club and Benrido Collotype Atelier
Photographers Candida Höfer, Charlotte Dumas, Masahisa Fukase, Masao Yamamoto and Saul Leiter, among others, produced exceptional prints and (mini) portfolios in collaboration with Benrido Collotype Atelier. Benrido has been an established name at photography fairs such as Paris Photo, Photo LA and Haute Photographie for years. As the Japanese team cannot travel abroad this year, the collaboration with The Gallery Club offers a unique opportunity to view their prints and portfolio’s in Europe, including the brand new mini-portfolio’s by Saul Leiter and Masao Yamamoto.