I got a Facebook message from Bandol, today, IPML printers in Phnom Penh.
She sent a picture of the books packed up and ready to ship, but wanted to talk about the offset printing.
Unfortunately her team had not told her that some of the black and white photographs had a slight colour cast, and the overall result is inconsistent. Bandol was obviously not happy with her team, as the digital print was consistent. She herself said that such a result for a photography book was not acceptable.
There is a green cast on some photographs.
I had been able to check things at every step along the way – except this last one. Photographers are often present at the printers for the first offset run to check the colours, so personal lesson learned. The perils of printing on the other side of the planet.
We agreed a course of action.
- Bandol will DHL one copy of the book to me to look at the shades of grey and decide what the correct target should be. I should get this in 3 or so working days.
- She is also going to ask Mak Remissa, arguably the top photographer / artist working in Cambodia today to look at the prints and advise on the black and white. I know Remissa and would trust his judgement 100%. Remissa will be super busy as the Phnom Penh Photo Festival is currently in full swing, and he is the leading organiser & curator. Bandol hopes to meet him tomorrow. If Remissa can’t find time this week, which will be understandable, Bandol will ask others. If this works, it’s a demonstration of both real collaboration and the power of the network.
- IPML will then print a revision with the correct blacks.
- This will probably not be the full order – perhaps two shipment boxes which will be about 70 books.
- Bandol will aim to ship (if necessary by the fastest means, not cheap) to be in the UK by December 4th, the day we hang the show.
- As fallback, Sarath is flying from Phnom Penh on December 1st, and could bring a few copies.
I am grateful for Bandol’s very correct, professional approach to this. This is a very expensive mistake for her company.
As she said, this is not what either of us wanted today.
Update: November 22nd. The printed book arrived, and the issue is (unfortunately) obvious in a few images, although many are just fine. Thank you DHL.
Update: November 23rd. I have just been in video conference with Bandol and Sovan Philong, the co-organiser of the Phnom Penh Photo Festival. We agreed on a target for the black and white images. Philong has offered to go through each image to make sure that the final printed image is consistent and the best it can be. I am hugely grateful for this.
Philong also said that he is happy to do this, and at no charge, because he believes that the project is important to Cambodia. I have no words. I have asked him if I may credit him in the book.
Here is a link to some of Philong’s photography.