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The "Land of Make Believe Map" Restoration Project

Four thousand hours of pixel by pixel repair.


Twenty five years ago, the inks and papers we used in digital reproduction of art work were not that great. In fairness, our trade was in a major paradigm shift from analog and wet process, to digital and digital direct processes. I was blessed at being a member of the first generation of photographers to ride the digital wave.

Wave, well not just one, new waves came two or four times a year. The first digital printers utilized to print artist work where originally designed for printing press proofs. The paper and ink sets used in creating the press proof print had to correlate and closely match the paper and inks being used on the print press. When artist started to print digital work to paper, our inks were unstable and most printing papers were poorly made. Today, there are a hundreds of printing substrates, paper silk, canvas which are today very archival. Many ink sets are now available and most are highly stable and water resistant. 
Today the products we use have longevity and stability and will last well into the next century without image damage. Ratings today are a minimum of 75 years and a common 200 + years of stability.

This brings me to the topic of, “The Land of Make Believe Map”, This work has long history of being reproduced by multiple entities. The craftsmanship of the plate maker and press operators have a direct effect on the quality of the press output. Over decades, Lithographic film can become damaged or out of registration. In the past if film became damage the original would have to be reshot.

When the "Land of Make Believe Map" arrived in my studio is was showing the wear of a hundred years of some what rough handling. I confirmed my need to make repairs with the owners of the image at that time. During the first two to three years I held reproduction license for the art work I repaired numerous registration error in the print. Four years ago I was inspecting my working file when I began to realize how much detail had been lost in the map. Errors and the actual process of reproduction can wipe small detail for works of art. After serious contemplation I decided I would attempt to add back detail which had become lost.

At the time I had obtained ownership of the image, yet I didn’t want to violate the artists intent in creating the work. I began to feel that repairing the map image would be respectful to Jaro Hess and would provide an improved image.
To date I estimate I have spent 4000 hours redrawing ever square inch of the work of art. I want to release this news. My upgraded web site has a number of the selections from the new version L. In the coming weeks I will add examples of the work I have completed and describe some of the challenges encountered during my work.

I would be happy to answer question related to this effort.

Copyright Information

Copyright 2017 Allan Rosen-Ducat © All rights reserved

Artist Jaro Hess

Jaro Hess (1889-1977)
Jaro Hess was perhaps the most original artist of fantasy working in Grand Rapids from the 1930s through the 1960’s. His art was a rarity, created solely out of this imagination.

Hess savored the differences

They were the product of an idiosyncratic and eccentricity, “according to Hess. People come to see the painting, “the artist said, “and they ask how I got such an imagination to do them. I just tell them that I studied mathematics in school and it teaches you to think abstract thoughts. They are different,” Hess savored the differences – the absurdity.