How to Print like Peter Lik

Can you produce a print in Peter Lik’s style?

There is a lot of interest among photography enthusiasts around the way Peter Lik finishes his prints. Lots of landscape photographers set this style as a benchmark of the ultimate print style. I have done lots of prints in this technique and think its time to share some of the lessons learned.

print like peter lik

If you look up the subject you are most likely to run onto the video made by Lee Morris on YouTube, where he sets the print into a mirror frame purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond in an attempt to obtain a Peter Lik styled piece on a budget. This, of course, is an extreme attempt to minimize expenses and to get more or less comparable results you’ll need to focus on learning the process and get your hands on some specialized equipment.

The process

The technique Peter Lik uses for his prints is called acrylic face-mounting. It involves three main steps. Print production, acrylic face-mounting, and framing. Each step is important to obtain the desired result and here I will try to explain some approaches and walkarounds of each stage.

acrylic-face-mount

The print production.

Here, depending on size and your intentions to continue along this road you may want to look into investing in a photo printer or use the services of a commercial print shop. If it will be a one-off project to mount one print, it makes perfect sense to seek the services of a professional print shop. Many shops these days offer direct-on-acrylic prints as well as face-mounted prints. Direct-on-acrylic prints lack that luminosity that you may be after and the only choice, in this case, is to order a metallic print that will be then mounted on acrylic.

print like peter lik

Paper Options

Peter Lik produces prints using a traditional chemical process with silver halide papers.  Such as Fuji Crystal which is also known as C-Type prints. This technology may not be readily available everywhere and if you’d like to use this technology your choice is limited to a select few print shops which offer this service. The second option that offers very much comparable results is the inkjet on metallic media that is more widely available. The modern inkjet produces nearly indistinguishable results to the C-type technique at a fraction of cost. More on comparison between C-Type vs Inkjet prints can be found in my article on this subject.

If you’re tight on budget but want to continue making acrylic mounted prints it may be best to purchase a desktop inkjet capable of producing 17″ wide prints.

inkjet-printer

This way after an initial investment you can produce a sufficient number of prints to experiment with at a lower cost than it would be if you involve a commercial print lab. The cost for the printer would be in the range of $1000 to $2000. Of course, this machine won’t get you to the large format but you need to start somewhere before going bigger.

Recommended media for face mount application is any glossy photo paper. And if you’re really after that classy Peter Lik style, look into metallic glossy media.

Acrylic face-mounting

This is the most difficult part of the process which requires a specialized adhesive, acrylic sheet material, and a roll laminator. Acrylic sheets can be found in hardware stores like Home Depot in the plastic section. Depending on the cut and thickness the piece of acrylic may cost from $20 to $150. Make sure to buy acrylic and not polycarbonate. Although they look the same, polycarbonate will yellow with time while acrylic will not.

The problem with the face-mount adhesive is the cost. You can’t buy it in small quantities and you may have to invest in a $500 roll of 100 feet of adhesive film.

The process involves running the print on a sled into a laminator while applying an adhesive on its face.  There are plenty of informational videos online and you can familiarize yourself with them before diving in. Even though the process itself is straightforward it is quite easy to mess things up if you don’t apply the correct pressure, overlook a dust particle or skew the adhesive film during the application.

acrylic-facemount

 

The cost of a simple laminator varies in a wide range. From $300 for a manual drive contraption to several thousand for a proper electrically driven unit. I would recommend staying away from manual laminators. It’s a good idea to have all hands on deck during the process to take care of feeding material and keeping the dust away.

You can use a similar technique to adhere the backing to your acrylic print. You may want to use a less expensive pressure-sensitive adhesive. There is a wide range of options when it comes to the backing. You may use another sheet of acrylic, composite panels, or Comatex (Sintra) board.

Adding the hanging hardware

Once your sandwich is complete you will need to clean the edges and add some mounting hardware to be able to hang it on the wall. Commercial facilities use CNC equipment to rout the edges. In a small DIY operation you may use a hand router and a straight edge to achieve the same objective.

Frameless acrylic print

Having completed the panel you will need to add an offset frame to the back. Or set the print into a proper liner and a frame. There are multiple options for the offset frame. Options may vary from the wooden or MDF profile to plastic and aluminum.

acrylic-facemount-backing

You can use any industrial adhesive to attach a back frame to the artwork from silicone to contact cement. Industry-standard though is an industrial VHB tape.

Framing

the custom frame is arguably one of the most important aspects of the visual impact the artwork will have on the viewer. Frame material selection shall match well with the room interior and the image color palette.  One of the signature elements of Peter Lik’s framing style is a wide linen-wrapped liner.

Custom Linen liner

If you’d like to tackle liner production from scratch you will need to have medium-level carpentry skills. Production starts from manufacturing a beveled profile like the one shown below.

Linen-liner

You can relatively easily produce this profile on a consumer table saw. If you’re looking to use them in larger quantities then a local woodworking shop will be happy to help you with manufacturing.

Liner wrapping

Once the profile is ready to will need to wrap it with the black fabric. Fabric selection is only limited by your imagination and available stock in your local fabric shop. You can apply fabric with water-based glues or spray adhesives. White school glue for example will work perfectly well. Here some trial and error is, unfortunately, a necessary thing before you figure out proportions and timing.

Alex Gubski limited edition prints

To set the print into a liner you’ll need a tab gun. Either manual or pneumatic will work equally well.

Once you assemble the liner it’s time to look into framing options. Peter Lik often uses Italian-made ROMA Tabacchino frames. These are quite expensive and you can usually find them through ROMA distributors. Prepare yourself for the price shock if you’d like to get authentic molding.  If you’re on a budget there are plenty of other options that may work equally well.

Frame assembly will once again call to test your carpentry skill. Consumer miter saw will be adequate for 45-degree miter cuts. To join the frame you will need either a specialized underpinner or a v-nail gun.

Alex Gubski Custom Framing

This is pretty much it. Once you went through the process you will be looking at a gorgeous acrylic-mounted print set in a custom frame and ready to go on display.

Peter-Lik-Style-Art

 

 

 

Peter Lik for Sale

How Does Peter Lik’s Art Valued on Secondary Market?

In this short article, I will attempt to answer a question I get asked a lot. Does the limited edition fine art photography appreciate with time?
I have found nothing better than to turn to the best-selling photographer of all times – Peter Lik. I have searched all Peter Lik for Sale ads, and below, I will show you what I have found.
Here I will also attempt to cover the options to become an owner of Peter Lik’s photograph other than buying it in one of his official galleries.

Spirit of the EarthLimited Edition print by Alex Gubski

As the number of Peter Lik collectors or just enchanted buyers grows, so does the secondary market supply.

I suppose the main question many people ask is – does it make sense to buy it on the secondary market? Are those sellers making an extra profit compared to the original purchase price? In other words – do Peter Lik’s prints appreciate with time or become available for less?

I have done a random sampling trying to compare identical prints available on the secondary market and through Peter Lik’s official website, and this is what I have found. Those finding are by no means scientifically representative as they reflect only a snapshot of today’s state of the market.

“Enchanted Jetty”

Peter Lik “Enchanted Jetty” 1.5M Limited Edition Acrylic Mount
Available on eBay for $5,250 or best offer.

Peter Lik currently offers this piece for sale on his official site for $12,150.

Peter Lik Enchanted Jetty

“Summer Dreams”

Peter Lik “Summer Dreams” 1.5M Limited Edition Acrylic Mount
Available on eBay for the same $5,250 or best offer.
Peter Lik currently offers this piece on his official site for $10,950.

peter-lik-summer-dreams

“Dark Side of the Moon”

Peter Lik “Dark Side of the Moon” 1.5M Limited Edition Acrylic Mount
Available on eBay for $5,000 or best offer.
Peter Lik currently offers this piece on his official site for $7,350.

peter-lik-dark-side-of-the-moon

“Autumn Mist”

Peter Lik “Autumn Mist” 1.5M Framed Limited Edition Acrylic Mount
Available on eBay for $6,500 or best offer.
Peter Lik currently offers this piece on his official site for $11,250.

peter-lik-autumn-mist

How about the titles that are marked as sold out?

Peter Lik “Ghost”

Here is the famous Peter Lik’s “Ghost” 1.5M Framed currently available for sale on eBay for a whopping $39,950.

Peter Lik Ghost

 

The seller is an original buyer and not a gallery, so that we can dismiss the markup. This piece most likely was purchased for less at the gallery since it is a regular Limited Edition print and not an Artist Proof.
Peter Lik is currently not offering this title for sale and marks it as sold out.
I have added this listing to the watchlist to follow it through and see if it sells eventually and will update this post when it does. Which I estimate this piece has the perfect chance to do.

In conclusion, I would summarize my findings in these words. The art of Peter Lik can appreciate in certain conditions. Despite Peter Lik’s own words quoted by The New York Times – “It’s like a Mercedes-Benz. You drive it off the lot. It loses half its value.” The publicity behind some of the most spoken about titles is capable of steering collector’s interest and fetch potential sellers excellent profits. But you shouldn’t probably expect every print to follow this path and buy fine art photography as an investment only if you have a good artistic sense.

Peter Lik Style – New Take on Photography

Peter Lik Style – New Take on Photography

To this day pretty much every photographer in the world must have heard of Peter Lik. And not just photographers. Millions of vacationers in major coastal American cities must saw attractive vibrant pictures displayed in modern luxury appointed galleries. In this article, I will attempt to direct the Peter Lik Style and touch on some technical aspects of what made it so unique.

Disclaimer

Since Lik USA wouldn’t allow me to use original images of Peter Lik in this article I will be using my own for illustration purposes.

Peter-Lik-Style-Art

 

Let’s briefly go back in time and see the moment Peter Lik took his first shot. Peter Lik originally from australis from Australia. Lik was born in Melbourne to Czech parents who moved to Australia after World War II. The story tells that Peter took his first step in photography around the age of 8 after his parents gave him a Kodak Brownie box camera just like the one below for his birthday.

Peter Lik first camera

The camera had a fixed focus F/11 lens and was shooting on 127 roll film with a frame size of 1 5/8″ x 1 5/8″ inch square. Would be handy for modern Instagram bloggers 🙂

Interestingly this echoes the story of the most famous US landscape photographer – Ansel Adams. The small difference is that young Ansel got an earlier version of Kodak No 1 Brownie.

Ansel Adams first camera

As a photographer, Lik is self-taught, learning mostly by trial and error. Unfortunately, there are not many of his photos available from his early days and the main body of what is known now is from his mature period. Peter opened his first gallery in 1997 in Cairns, Australia. He opened his first US gallery in Lahaina, Hawaii, in 2003, and his first in Las Vegas in Caesars Palace in 2005. After the initial success, Peter was opening new locations with admirable regularity and at this moment there are 13 galleries across the USA.

Peter Lik For Sale | Fine Art Gallery Locations

At the time of this writing, artist Peter Lik operates 13 fine art galleries across the US.

  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Caesars, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • The Forum, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Key West, Florida
  • Lahaina, Maui
  • La Jolla, California
  • Madison Avenue, New York, New York
  • Mandalay, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Miami, Florida
  • Soho, New York, New York
  • The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

What Camera Does He Use?

Not Kodak Brownie for sure. At least not for his commercial work. Lik is best known for his panoramic photographs captured with a Linhof 617 Technorama and using Fuji film. He is featured in several photographs with this monster in his arms. Peter is more of an athletic type but I doubt he enjoys carrying this monster around on long hikes.

Linhof 617 Technorama

Peter Liks Linhof 617 Technorama

Linhof 617 is a panoramic 6 x 17cm frame size camera. It uses 120 and 220 roll films. Linhof has been making these since at least the 1970s and continues to make them today with some upgrades. The camera has no autofocus and no rangefinder and you will have to find a way to focus it accurately. 120 film offers plenty of resolution, however, with only four frames per roll you are always changing rolls.

Technorama is now available at around $7k new or around $5 to $6k used and it is clearly for enthusiasts. Although there may be a rare situation where this camera is preferable on technical merits to the latest full-frame DSLR panned three times for panoramic capture but I wouldn’t bet at those odds.

Phase One

Another camera Peter Lik used is a Phase One. This brand is known for its modular XF medium format design.

Peter Liks Phase One

The idea behind this design is that you don’t have to replace the whole camera when technology advancement produces better image acquisition electronics. You just swap the backing like you would re-load the film on the analog cameras and you immediately will obtain upgraded capability. This beauty is not for everyone though. The current listed price of the latest Phase One 100MP camera with an 80 mm lens is 48,990 USD.

FujiFilm GFX100

The next one on the list is FujiFilm GFX100. This baby is a much more affordable alternative to 100MP Phase One. With the price tag of approximately $10k for a body, it comes closer to the professional full-frame systems but not quite there yet. Prepare to shell out another $3k for a lens and you’ll be ready to hit the road.

Peter Liks FujiFilm GFX100

 

Nikon D850

And lastly, Peter Lik also used Nikon D850 and I’m sure his backpack was much lighter when he did. The 850 is a magnificent 46MP full-frame camera that is capable to produce amazing images with a very wide dynamic range. I personally forgot when was last time when I had to do bracketing using this camera. Even on the most contrasting scenes, it masters to capture the full range.

Peter Liks Nikon D850

Which camera would you choose to do your landscape photography? Medium format is amazing for certain types of work. For example, shooting the Grand Canyon standing on the rim without any front plan. Like the one below.

Guardians of the Sun by Alex GubskiGuardians of the Sun – by Alex Gubski

The medium format would be unbeatable. For a scene like the one below, I would choose the 35mm camera system.

Summer Dream by Alex GubskiSummer Dream – by Alex Gubski

The reason is the optical properties of the large format cameras. In order to get the sharp image across the wide focal length, you will have to focus stack way more than you would with 35 mm. Even at similar aperture and focal settings, the depth of field of large and medium format camera is going to be squeezed much more than on 35mm.

Anyway. Enough about the camera’s specifics and back to Peter Lik.

Famous Photographs by Peter Lik

There is a number of landmark photographs of Peter Lik that often decorate the main feature walls at the storefront of his galleries. I wish I could post actual images here to illustrate but Lik USA is strictly against using their images on my website. Therefore, I will have to just list the titles and you feel free to Google them up.

1. Phantom – A photo made inside of Upper Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.

2. Tree Of Life – A photograph of a Japanese Maple tree located in the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon

3. Sacred Sunrise – A photograph of the sunrise bursting its rays under the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

4. Endless Summer – A seascape featuring the Scripps Pier in La Jolla, California.

5. Spirit Of the Universe – A lavender field under the Milky Way spanning above the sun-lit clouds shortly after the sunset. How did Peter manage to capture all of them together? Don’t ask me.

6. Ghost – Another photograph of Antelope Canyon with a similar subject as the Phantom.

7. One – A photograph of autumn trees reflecting in the water.

What Does Peter Print On?

Peter Lik mentions on his website that he mainly uses silver halide material for his Limited Edition images. FujiFlex Super-Gloss, this paper is a favorite of Peter Lik and many other photographers around the world. There is a very small number of shops that still use this technique and you may not find any in your city. To be honest with the advent of the pigment inkjet process there is very little sense in going out of one’s way to print on a medium that will have to be chemically processed.

I did few tests myself and you can’t really tell the difference between modern pigment ink metallic prints and silver halide by Fuji. Only at a very close range and looking at a sharp angle to the print’s surface you can see the somewhat smoother surface of the FujiFlex. To get more information and comparative analysis of the two competing media please read my post on the subject.

Peter Lik Style

So, what do we mean when we say – Peter Lik Style? Lik’s signature style that fascinates so many guests visiting his galleries and many photographers around the world is a spectacular presentation technique.

Firstly – Peter Lik likes to present his work in large format.

Secondly – Peter Lik chooses to face-mount his prints on acrylic.

Thirdly – if framed, Peter Lik prefers to set his prints in wide linen-wrapped liners and expensive frames.

And finally, if it’s a color print, it will sport a particularly high level of color saturation. Don’t take me wrong. This is beautiful and in part that’s what makes these prints play with the light the way they do. If you’re interested in learning about prices on some of Peter Lik’s images and their availability on the secondary market, please read my post on this subject.

Here is a simple recipe for the Peter Lik style. And not being able to offer you an actual photo of Peter Lik’s piece I will post some of mine.

Tree-of-Zen

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