Little do most of you know, but this weekend Shanghai hosted the “2012 Battle.net World Championship” where 18 year old Korean player Won “PartinG” Lee Sak took first place in Starcraft2, winning a whooping $100.000 in prize money. And that’s just the tip of the E-Sports ice berg that is emerging in Europe and North America at the moment (Korea had like a 10y head start).
Berlin-based photographer Valerie Schmidt and yours truly are following the professional Starcraft2 gaming scene since more than a year, photographing backstage at events, capturing portraits of the players. Right from the beginning, when we got together and started talking about the project, it was clear that we wanted them as photogravures, as a kind of an analogue counterweight to the digital world these athletes compete in.
Now, about a year in the making we’re finally at a stage where things start manifesting in the printshop - I’ve spent some time at Trykkeriet in Bergen, Norway, producing the first 17 photogravures of the project, and am now back in Helsinki, pulling prints.
For those of you who work with copper plate photogravures that etch through a sensitized gelatine resist the video linked above might be a bit long-winded and overly descriptive (and, I’m beginning to fear, it might also demand a lot from the supposedly faster-wired attention spans of the gaming community), for those new to it or not in the know, I hope you’ll get something out of it.
I very much prefer to print my photogravures en collé on fine gampi or other Japanese and Korean papers (some woodblock papers work surprisingly well) - the results are far superior to pulling a print on mould made paper alone - the gampi especially gets all the information in the plate.
Am currently trying to get sponsorship for German mould made paper to use as backing paper, and would love to get some fine silk to pull a few prints on. The prints will be exhibited in Helsinki in February, but I’ll post about that in due time.
Anyway, promised myself I wouldn’t write a three page essay for once, so keeping this one short and sweet.
The usual suspects:
Valerie Schmidt - http://valerieschmidt.de/
Patrick Wagner - http://nymphomation.de/PRO.html
Interview from back in the day, when we were shooting at Assembly in Helsinki: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJFtKnEYvGM
The Battle.net World Championship:
Working on a project like this it is crazy to think how many people I owe thanks to already - David Stordahl for all his photogravure excellence, all the players that were kind and understanding enough to participate despite the stressful conditions at the events, the event admins and staff from Assembly in Helsinki and Dreamhack in Stockholm, Trykkeriet Bergen, KUVA Helsinki, and many more.
How’s that for the stereotype of the grumpy printmaker that likes to stay and work on his or her own? ;)