Polymer Photogravure​

Polymer Photogravure uses light-sensitive polymer plates to create a photographic image that is inked and printed using traditional etching techniques.

The advantage of polymer photogravure over other photo-printmaking techniques such as photolithography is that the polymer plates give much finer detail and a significantly wider tonal range.

Process one

The photograph is printed digitally onto transparent film at a relatively high resolution. This is then exposed onto the polymer plate, a light sensitive plate with a fine steel backing. Once exposed, the plate develops in water.

A man placing a transparent film onto of the polymer plate to expose the plate to light
A man placing ink onto the polymer photogravure plate
Process two

The plate is inked up in a similar manner to a traditional etching plate, using oil-based etching inks. The plate is covered in ink, which is then cleared from the surface, leaving the ink in the image only.

Process three

The plate is put on a traditional etching press and dampened paper placed on top. The pressure the press exerts pushes the ink from the plate to transfer the image onto the paper.

The finished polymer photogravure print being removed from plate, with the fresh print being exposed