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Don Jackson is a fantastic photographer who’s accumulated numerous awards and acclaim for his work since his first gallery show in 1985. Over the past few years, Jackson has channeled his talent into large-format and fine-art printing as well.
Don Jackson's first 60 in.-wide print on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene on his Canon iPF9000 printer.
Though he’s still very active in photography – primarily capturing landscapes, wildlife imagery, and event imagery, including an assignment to cover Burning Man for Rolling Stone – his adoption of inkjet printing has paid off. Plus, he thoroughly enjoys bringing his customers’ images to life, whether it’s for an exhibition, a special event, or corporate branding.
“I love printing, and I appreciate clients who are looking for high-quality printing. I can help and guide them to get the best quality for their project,” says Jackson. “And I’m probably more invested in the output than most photographers. I want each piece that goes out, whether it’s a banner or a photograph, to be fine-art quality.”
Jackson runs Canon iPF9000, iPF8000, and iPF5000 printers, and says, “Having the ability to print up to 60 inches wide by virtually any length opens up many doors since most print shops can only print up to 44 inches wide. And, there’s demand for and good margin in prints over 44 inches wide. The Canon printers offer speed and quality, which makes a huge difference.”
Beautiful banner printing on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene with Jackson's Canon printer.
Jackson’s insistence on quality over quantity has actually created more demand, and more profitable demand for his work. For instance, a jewelry manufacturer saw his work and called for a quote. They told Jackson that if he could match the price of a local printing company he could have the job. “Though my pricing is most often very competitive, I told him I wasn’t even going to try to compete with their price,” says Jackson. “He ended up calling back and asked me to submit a bid anyway because he knew they would get better quality printing. My bid was 50 percent more, and they decided to go with it.”
Jackson says that the range of quality papers and printable media available to him from LexJet, as well as LexJet’s willingness to produce quality custom profiles, has made a big difference in executing his work. Whether it’s Hahnemuhle’s Bamboo 290 g for a unique environmental exhibition, 3P fabrics, LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, or Sunset Photo Semi-Matte for photo reproduction, Jackson matches the material to the application.
“I enjoy helping the client choose the right product for the right job. I don’t just say, ‘Pick one, and tell me what to print.’ I just printed for a company that creates natural clothing. I wanted to match the texture of the material to the texture of their product, so I chose a 3P fabric. For a great product with no texture, and for outdoor banner use, the polypropylene is a natural choice,” explains Jackson.
“For an application like the Burning Man exhibition, I ended up printing on Water-Resistant Satin Cloth because I wanted to do something different. So, I will hang things from the ceiling and backlight them in unusual geometric shapes, instead of hanging conventionally-framed pictures on the wall. The versatility of all the different materials available at LexJet lets me play in ways I’ve never considered before,” adds Jackson.
Moreover, Jackson recycles as much of his material as possible. The Water-Resistant Polypropylene odds and ends that are trimmed off the prints and left over during the production process, for instance, are collected in a bin marked Recycle 5.
“I try to batch my waste material, but it takes me a long time to fill up a recycling bin. Even if I’m not printing full width, there’s very little waste, so it can take a month to fill up a bin,” says Jackson. “I also tell customers that if they can’t find someone to recycle the materials, they can send them back to me, and I can recycle the material.”
Don Jackson with one of his fine-art photo prints.
Don Jackson may be reached at don@donjackson.