This is my little soundtrack for the documentary short "A Story of Ink & Steel" by Fritz Schumann. vimeo.com/128152913
Imagine being the last one in this world to continue, what others have started before you.
Osamu Yamamoto is working for the printing company Benrido in Kyoto, Japan. He is in charge of the collotype - a technology almost extinct today.
He and his studio are working for the office of the Japanese Emperor, making copies and reprints of scrolls, paintings and letters, many centuries old. They are saving Japanese artworks and cultural heritage for the generations to come.
Collotype is a 150 year old printing process from Europe. Around a hundred years ago, it was the leading technology, every country had a great number of collotype studios. You quite possibly own something printed by collotype without knowing it.
In the last five years, the remaining collotype studios in Firenze, Italy and Leipzig, Germany, closed down their daily work. Now there are only two companies printing with collotype left in this world. Both are situated in Kyoto, with Benrido being the bigger studio and the only one which can print in color.
The quality of collotype prints can hardly be matched by today's printers, the colors are extremely endurant and stay vibrant for decades. It's a printing without relying on dots, hence it's almost 1:1 in resolution when compared to the original.
With prior appointment, you can visit the workshop of Benrido. They also offer collotype printed artworks and postcards at their shop in Kyoto.
Text and original photograph by Fritz Schumann (www.fotografritz.de