Video report: Making-of for the photo book "Metropolis"
25.1.2024

Video report: Making-of for the photo book "Metropolis"

Cover | © teNeues Verlag

Metropolis

240 pages

27,5 x 34 cm | 10 5/6 x 13 3/8 in.

158 b/w photographs

€ 85 | $ 100 | £ 75
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"Metropolis" is the first photo book by street photographer Alan Schaller. On around 240 pages, the London-based photographer wants to explore in his photo book what makes a city a city at all? In a unique way, Alan Schaller depicts the urban contrasts that big cities such as New York, London, Havana, Kyoto or Istanbul harbour in their architecture and everyday life. He plays with light and shadow and creates a world in black and white that casts a spell over the viewer.

The 8-year development process of "Metropolis" is completed in one of the most legendary print shops in the world. The Italian company EBS Editoriale Bortolazzi Stei is located in the heart of Verona. The print shop combines a love of books with state-of-the-art production. International publishers and world-famous photographers such as Elliott Erwitt have their coffee table books produced here. Many illustrated books from the famous Magnum Photos agency are produced in the print shop owned by Jonathan Bortolazzi. EBS is a typical Italian print shop with a real Italian soul.

Join Alan Schaller on an exciting journey to Verona and immerse yourself in the final stages of his book production. In an exciting short film, we get to know the work processes, employees and production areas and experience unique insights into traditional craftsmanship:

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Concept

Each illustrated book undergoes individual checks and phases in order to achieve the highest level of quality. From software and computer systems to pre-press, printing and binding. The printing press contains a total of four element colours, which are divided into black, magenta, cien and yellow. In the process known as offset printing, the printing plate is first moistened by dampening rollers with each revolution of the cylinder and then inked by the inking rollers. The areas that have previously absorbed water remain free of ink. The other areas take on colour and are inked in the typical character colours of the photographer.

Printing plates

This special process works through the repulsion between colour and water. In offset printing, the printing and non-printing areas lie in the same plane. The printing elements on the printing plate are prepared in such a way that water rolls off them. The non-image areas are prepared in such a way that water is retained. Before the final print, EBS has to convert Alan Schaller's photographs in order to determine the exact colouring for the print. For "Metropolis", the colour spectrum focuses on black and a unique, custom Pantone colour. A special shade of grey that is unique in the world is mixed for the book. A computer then prints the aluminium printing plate. The colour-bearing areas are formed by a photopolymer - a type of laser that hardens the colour. 

Ink

EBS is one of only three printing companies in the world to offer the production of an individual colour tone. For Metropolis, the result was an intense, deep black and a shade of grey that contains many different shades of grey.

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Paper

The many shadow tones in "Metropolis", which flow from black into grey, contain fine details that would be lost on low-quality paper. Alan Schaller's illustrated book is printed on GardaMatt 170 g. A thick, high-quality paper that emphasises the depth of the black. The paper is stored in the print shop in a large room with a relative humidity of between 50 and 55 per cent to ensure an optimum room climate. In this way, paper jams and deformation can be avoided.

Printing

Alan Schaller's assistance and decision-making process at EBS takes a total of three days. The pure printing process of the paper for "Metropolis" takes at least 15 hours. The machine prints new sheets of paper from hour to hour, which the photographer has to approve individually. His freedom of choice makes him the full creator of the work. With each new print, Schaller and the EBS team assess the fine-tuning of the page. Once again, particular attention is paid to the black tones and how the grey tones fall within them. After the sheets come out of the printer, they have to be cut and bound. This process takes a further 4 weeks. The detailed finishing work is a collaboration between the publisher, the printer and the artist. Each party brings their perfection and passion to the process. This is how a true masterpiece is created with every printed book.

Alan Schallers Youtube-Kanal

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