Last year Epson sent me a few pieces of paper from their Signature Worthy range, one of the pieces being their Exhibition Fibre paper. While I really enjoyed printing on a fibre based paper, the fact that the paper was so incredibly white, was a slight worry to me. I did find out after doing a bit research that the Epson paper has optical brightening agents. While this great way of getting a really white paper, the downside is that after time the paper might start turning slightly yellow. This is where the Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Baryta and others in the range steps in.
Hahnemuehle have been around for hundreds of years, and have become one of the top-most authorities when it comes to fine art inkjet papers. In the Hahnemuehle range of papers they have a few baryta style papers. Baryta papers gets their name from the special Barium Sulphate layer that’s added to the paper. Traditional fibre based darkroom papers had a barium sulphate layer. The benefit of a barium sulphate layer is greater detail and definition, extended tonal range and excellent archival properties to the print. Along with these added benefits baryta papers have a unique feeling about them.
The one I got to do a test print on was the Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Baryta. A slightly warmer paper to their others, the Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Baryta has a pure cotton base, is acid and linen free, fully archival and has no added brightening agents. The paper also has a very slight texture which is all rather pleasing. Unlike some of the other baryta papers in the Hahnemuehle range, the Photo Rag Baryta looks less glossy. While not the heaviest paper in the Baryta range the Photo Rag Baryta is still considerably thick which doesnt cause the print to roll up after printing if you’re using the paper on a roll.
I ran a colour image on the paper sample and the colours came across rich and saturated. This could be due to the added barium sulphate layer.