After numerous requests via email and repeated comments on Facebook and Instagram asking for IRON MAIDEN Limited Edition prints I have finally gone and done it! With amazing support from the band and management we have selected 6 (for now) that best represent the Legacy live show. Don’t worry we haven’t forgotten individual prints of Nicko, Janick, Davey and Adrian. Hopefully if everything goes well with these 6 we can roll out some further prints next year, including a few shots from previous tours. https://johnmcmurtrie.bigcartel.com
Firstly I have to explain a little bit about what makes these prints so special and why they may appear a little expensive. They aren’t exactly cheap are they? Sorry about that, but the paper I use is the best quality material I have ever used and unfortunately it is a premium. Yes I could have outsourced this job to an online print house and just thrown these out, but the quality would have been poor and after a year or two they would have faded. I also wanted to personally oversee the entire process from start to finish.
These are GICLEE printed on a monster 8 ink machine and will be archival for 200 years! The paper has a semi-gloss satin finish that feels exactly like a silver gelatine print. They are designed to be framed, put on display and I hope cherished. Obviously they are not for everyone, if you just want any old picture of IRON MAIDEN tacked on your wall then print one off the internet and you are good to go, I honestly won’t be offended. These are specifically designed for someone who wants a very special memory from the Legacy of the Beast tour and a very collectable piece of memorabilia on their wall. If you google ‘Limited Edition Music Prints’ there are very few under £500 and I have done everything to keep the price viable on both sides.
It is such an honour working for the greatest metal band on the planet. they have taken me on an incredible journey over the last 15 years. My pictures have been used all over the world in magazines, album artwork, promo posters and everywhere on the internet. After all these years I still get a buzz from seeing my shots published officially, so when the band suggested I should produce some official IRON MAIDEN prints I jumped at the chance, but only agreed if I could make the best possible Fine Art Prints.
I asked my printer Roo at KANGAROOZ who has been producing fine art and display prints for the last 30 years to find the best paper to print live concert photographs. For most of my previous portrait limited editions I have used an incredible 100% cotton heavy weight paper which I love. The texture and quality is similar to a screen print but I knew this wouldn’t work for these Legacy tour pictures. Firing off a test print on standard photo paper produced blacks I didn’t like and the colours looked dull compared to how the image looked on screen.
We test printed on the 100% cotton paper and we lost the contrast and saturation as expected. There was also less shadow detail which is something that I have tried to champion in live music photography for a number of years. A lot of live pictures you will see massive areas of black and blown out high lights. I like to see the detail in the shadows and high lights, something that makes a photograph look real. I wanted to produce prints that had the impact you see on screen with good blacks, whites, saturation and plenty of detail in the shadows. Without this I wouldn’t continue the project.
I left the problem with Roo in his studio in Sussex, England and made an image selection for IRON MAIDEN to approve.
I wanted to produce the prints with a good sized border that had room for the IRON MAIDEN mast head and Legacy of the Beast tour title and enough space to hand sign and number each print. The way I have designed the border allows you to frame the print in one of two ways. You can flush mount a card border just under the numbering and signature or you can full mount the print and show-off the band and tour name.
Each photograph was then re-edited from the original RAW file in preparation for CMYK test printing. Screen images are viewed in a colour space which is RED, GREEN, BLUE. Printing with inks the image is converted to CMYK (CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW and BLACK). Often the image colour and density will change when converted, sometimes drastically and this is why the print has to be tested, tweaked and tested again and again.
Roo did a shout out to every premium paper supplier in Europe and called excited about a brand new fibre based Pearl paper he had managed to get a sample. The material was recently used by a celebrated photographer for a one-off Limited Edition of DAVID BOWIE and the feedback was very good (each print sold for a substantially higher price than £105) . Along with the Pearl Fibre paper we also got rolls of a Titanium material and 4 other high quality papers.
We tried them all but there was only one material that stood out from the rest and that was the Pearl Fibre that sat head & shoulders above the others. You can see the colours, the blacks, the shadow detail, clean whites and the texture of the material is virtually identical to silver gelatine prints. There is a slight silver effect when you view at different angles.
Then there is the saturation of colours that at last looked realistic This whole process sounds simple but in total it took close to 3 weeks. The printing studio is in deepest Sussex and I live just outside London so at least one to two days a week were spent driving across the county border to check sample prints. Roo is an amazing printer and we both had a shared goal on this project to make these prints the best they could be and he really has knocked it out of the park. Considering how difficult to please I was during the testing stage I am lucky I can still call him a good friend.
Test printing is an exhausting process because you are constantly tweaking colours, saturation, shadow and contrast and trying to judge when a print is better or worse. Some days you become snow blind and it is best to take the print away and judge at a later time. We then had to show IRON MAIDEN the prints and defend our decision to use such a premium paper.
These 6 prints are without doubt the best I have ever produced. I am genuinely proud to put my name and IRON MAIDEN on them. Each one is signed and numbered by myself in gold metallic pen, issued with a certificate of authenticity and wrapped in tissue paper. The size is 20″x16″ (50.8 cm x 40.6 cm). As I write this they are being shipped all over the world (in heavy-duty thick protective tubes). So far CANADA, USA, SWEDEN, FINLAND, DENMARK, CHILE, GERMANY, POLAND, MEXICO, NEW ZEALAND, SPAIN, NETHERLANDS and of course the UK. Just a few ‘Aces High’ prints left in stock. Get yours at https://johnmcmurtrie.bigcartel.com