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Photographer Linda Rutenberg's midnight flora blossom with Shiraz Focus

Press release from the issuing company

Versatile print and image control software solutions manufacturer Shiraz Software has recently supported Canadian photographer Linda Rutenberg's exhibition Eden at Night, which is currently showing at Cornwall's The Eden Project. Through use of RIP software package Shiraz Focus, an application built for photographers and fine artists who are reproducing their work on a wide-format printer, Rutenberg has been able to create work of wonderful clarity, definition and vibrancy from photographs taken in challenging nocturnal conditions.

Rutenberg's current exhibition explores the rarely witnessed life of plants after dark in The Eden Project's famous biomes. The innovative work leads on from two books, The Garden at Night and After Midnight, which were shot in North American public gardens.

"The only logical path to follow was to do the third book in England," Rutenberg observes. "It is the quintessential place for gardens and flowers. I did a lot of research on which gardens I wanted to include, and Eden kept on coming up as a unique and extraordinary place. When I arrived, it was obviously different from all the other gardens I had ever visited. The amazing biospheres, the ideas, and the sheer scale of the concept were astounding. I liked their mission and the fact that they are so keen on the idea of art and nature combined."

As an expert with high expectations of quality, it was imperative for Rutenberg to choose the correct RIP. She was attracted to the Shiraz Focus software because of its combination of assets for the professional photographer; while it boasts the complex technical engineering required for wide-format output, the needs of artistic users are kept at the forefront, such as precise colour management. Consequently, Rutenberg was pleased to note the accuracy attainable through the package, which helped her to bypass many of the problems inherent in producing images taken after dark, all within an accessible, easily controllable interface.

"These photographs have extreme contrasts, a huge tonal range and the darkest blacks against the multiple bright colours of the flowers," explains Rutenberg. "Given that my blacks need to be very saturated and that the luminosity of my colours is key, Udo Machiels of Imaging Experts felt that Shiraz Focus was the only RIP that I should consider," she explains. "As the images rolled out of the printer one after the other exactly as I wanted them, I grasped the power of the software."

Shiraz Focus incorporates numerous features to ensure optimisation of quality, as well as cost- and time-saving. The nesting tool aligns multiple jobs to ensure maximised use of media, which for photographers is often expensive, while job queuing facilitates simple and unsupervised operation. Central to Focus's popularity is its usability and accessibility for all types of digital artist, reflected in its clear and coherent design. This combines with the robust software engineering expected from wide-format production houses. Other notable functions include advanced pre-print image editing and the option to work with multiple jobs simultaneously. Colour and contrast manipulation capabilities are integrated into the software, as are useful effects, such as sepia and greyscale.

Shiraz Software worked in conjunction with an East Sussex-based company specialising in colour and imaging management to help Rutenberg achieve vivid results with the rich hues and contrast that she sought. Imaging Expert's team calibrated Rutenberg's hardware enabling her to print images that were consistent with those seen both on her computer monitor and also through the lens. As Rutenberg notes: "No help was needed from then on – everything ran perfectly."

"Shiraz Software is delighted to have been supportive to Linda's vision of producing crisp and striking images of such unusual subject matter," enthuses Ramin Shahbazi, business development director at Shiraz Software. "The Focus package was engineered with challenging applications in mind in which reliable image management was paramount. The sharpness of the achievable results makes it an indispensible product for artists and photographers. We hope that Linda will use Focus on her forthcoming work."

Rutenberg did all her own printing using an Epson 9800, a product favoured by photographers, designers and artists for its consistent ability to print at resolutions up to 2880 x 1440dpi. Combining this technology with Shiraz Focus, she was able to produce larger photographs than she had in the past, and with great ease. She also found that there was no need to make adjustments to her computer and printing settings; instead, once the basic editing process was complete, she could leave the machine to run autonomously.

"The Focus package has had an enormous impact on my work. I think that historically, the most frustrating area for photographers was the consistent variables in printing that did not allow for revisualization," reflects Rutenberg. "What you saw on the monitor was not what you ended up with. Software like Shiraz RIP changed all that. I think the largest impact has been speed, reliability and the ability to reproduce with confidence."

"Although I had no prior experience with Shiraz Focus, I would definitely work with it again," she concludes. "It was a real pleasure to use and made my project so much easier. The types of results enabled by this package open up entirely new opportunities for photographers who wish to push their creative boundaries."

The Eden Project is an internationally renowned garden complex which opened in March 2001. Its main goal is to develop the public's understanding of the special relationship between humans and plants. Over a million visitors enjoy its attractions every year, which include the world's largest greenhouse. Three biospheres -- the Tropical, Mediterranean and Outdoor domes -- house flora and fauna from different global regions and the gardens play host to numerous events, such as concerts and exhibitions.