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Karl Backus

About Karl

Karls’ introduction to large format photography started in High School when a teacher loaned him a 5″x7″ wooden view camera. That opportunity led him to shoot portraits, team photos and large groups of people for his High School yearbook. His interest in photography grew when he assembled his first color darkroom in school and has been printing all his own work since.

“Shooting a good photograph and being able to then bring out the best qualities in the film to the final print is the biggest challenge” says Karl. “Whether you’re shooting film or digital the print is the zenith of the photographers art. The Artists vision will then have come full circle.”

Ever since Karl was a wee lad he had shown a interest in print making. From linoleum block prints and silk screening in elementary school to photography and airbrushing in Junior High and then to color darkroom and color offset press work in High School, Karl became proficient in putting images to paper. He was attracted to the impact made from shooting black and white as well as color infrared film. Karl also made color separations and printed his work in his school newspaper. As Head Photographer of his yearbook he spent countless hours in the darkroom preparing photos for publication. Karl’s centerfold photo of the football team, taken with a 5″x7″ camera, was the sharpest image the yearbook had ever seen!

After some college vocational printing courses Karl realized his love was in shooting and printing color films. For many years there after, Cibachrome printing became the mainstay of Karl’s photographic work. After thousands of darkroom prints he started to get “burned out” from the nasty chemicals and the bleary eyed late night print sessions. Karl became aware of digital printing in the 90’s and by 1995 the quality of the digital print had gotten good enough to look into further. Not even knowing how to turn a computer on at that time, Karl , who at times wishes he had never learned :), now knows everything he needs to minimize frustration in the making of his large Giclee prints. He currently is waiting for better scanner resolutions to print even larger and clearer images in the future. Karl’s print shop is currently run off the grid with solar power up in the cool Pa’auilo uplands.






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