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Galleries

44 Wide

Posted by Derek Flack / Posted on May 4, 2012

44 Wide Toronto Gallery44 wide is printing operation first and a gallery space second — but thanks to that skewed power dynamic, this might just be the perfect space for early-career photographers to exhibit their work. As anyone who's ever shown before knows, it can be a rather daunting and expensive process. Not only is one faced with the challenge of getting his or her photos to look as good as they do on a computer screen when finally printing them out, but finding an appropriate spot in which to exhibit can be nearly impossible when starting out.

44 WideGallery owner Thomas Moran takes a hands-on approach to both of these issues. Unlike most photo printing shops, the staff work closely with photographers to ensure that they achieve prints that match up with their photos as they appear on screen (something that's more challenging than you might think). That's quite a bit different that the usual process of renting a work station and fending for yourself when it comes to soft-proofing and colour correction. I've botched my fair share of prints over the years, and the thought of someone actually working with me on the final product is really quite comforting.

44 Wide GalleryOn the second front — finding gallery space — 44 Wide makes its 900 square foot space available at a discounted rate to photographers who print on site. Spend enough money on printing, in fact, and they'll give you the gallery for a week free of charge. That particular offer doesn't start until you're spending some decent coin ($2500), but that's quite easy to do when preparing a significant number of pieces for a show. By way of example, at last year's CONTACT festival, I spent about $1500 in printing and framing just five works for exhibition (it's probably better if you don't ask how many sold).

44 Wide GalleryNone of this would be attractive if the services on offer at 44 Wide were lacking, but based on what I've seen, this is one of the best places to get prints done in Toronto. Started as a primarily print-on-canvas operation back in 2009, thanks to some highly successful group-buy offers the shop has blossomed into a full service shop, teaching facility and gallery, complete with workshops and community initiatives like the Liberty Project, which helps local photographers — many of whom have photos in the blogTO Flickr pool — to gain some well-deserved exposure.

44 Wide GalleryI have to admit when I first heard that 44 Wide specialized in canvas-based printing, I wasn't impressed. I'd never thought much of work that I'd seen printed/displayed this way. Moran had a similar experience before he encountered prints on Breathing Colour Lyve canvas (thanks to, among others Michael Reichmann of the Luminous Landscape), and he quickly changed his mind. I can understand why. Unlike what he calls the "Ikea checkout canvas" that most people have seen, this material is of the highest quality and every bit up to the task of fine-art printing.

44 WideAlthough 44 Wide also offers other printing platforms (Hahnemuhle Bright White, Canson Baryta) and have started doing what they call retina resolution 9x12 prints on face-mounted acrylic, Moran estimates that canvas makes up 90 per cent of the gallery's business. A lot of this comes in the form of online/mail orders from amateur photographers not the least bit interested in the complexities of print execution — they just want a nice-looking finished product. In an effort to distinguish his business from other print shops, Moran applies the same standards to these prints as he does to those for established artists. There's even a full-time image editor whose job it is to ensure that these orders look as good as they can.

44 Wide GalleryMoran admits that 44 Wide isn't the cheapest option out there, but passionately holds to the notion that the gallery's focus on quality prints will set them apart from other outfits. So far it seems to be working. With 1000 square feet of space devoted to production, he's left the early days of a single 44" printer far behind. Throw in a 900 square foot classroom area that would make any Mac lover drool, and you have all the makings of Toronto photography hub.

Photos by Tom Ryaboi

Discussion

15 Comments

Melody / May 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm
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Thomas is a printing genius. His passion and drive for the perfect print translate into his client service, as he spends the extra time looking over the fine details of the photograph to ensure his clients will be more than happy with their prints. He is an expert in his field and I highly recommend 44wide for your printing needs. I've been nothing less than satisfied with every photograph I've printed there.
Brian / May 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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I love Thomas. I work in Liberty and this man is so passionate about his work you can't help but get on board. His dedication to perfection is amazing. I get all my printing done here.
Hamish Grant / May 4, 2012 at 01:09 pm
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Absolutely cannot recommend 44wide enough. So awesome. I've done several large canvasses through them and every one has been marvelous. Staff are friendly and very helpful.
Delilah / May 4, 2012 at 01:16 pm
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This place is AMAZING...... Go to it!
Calvin James / May 4, 2012 at 02:21 pm
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As Hamish has already stated, I highly recommend using 44 Wide for printing your images. I've worked with James with printing my images and his service as well as the high quality finished print result was outstanding. James even put one of my images in a frame I dropped off with him :-). I very much appreciate their attention to detail, not only with printing images but also with the excellent service they provide.
The Other Neil / May 4, 2012 at 02:36 pm
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I am glad they're continuing with their support of the Toronto Liberty Project! Such a great idea that has helped out several up-and-comers display their work!
mike in parkdale / May 4, 2012 at 03:22 pm
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I've never been inside the shop, but even walking by the window and looking inside is rewarding enough.
Josh / May 4, 2012 at 06:10 pm
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44wide is like a photographer's candy shop.
Pat / May 7, 2012 at 03:28 pm
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Can anyone provide a comparison between 44 Wide and Toronto Image Works? I've done both canvas and large paper prints with TIW and didn't have any problems with them, so I was curious if this place offered anything worth switching for.
Mike @ 44 Wide / May 7, 2012 at 05:57 pm
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Pat,

We have nothing but respect for almost all of the companies that work in the photographic business. The fact of the matter is we learn a lot from competitors and work closely with a number of companies on a regular basis. TIW is a great company that we have tremendous respect for. If you find that we're offering something our competition doesn't then we would be happy to be of service to you. Our core competency is canvas production and large Giclee paper print production. If you have any further questions feel free to contact either Thomas at: thomas@44wide.com or myself.

Cheers

Mike Moran
mike@44wide.com
Michael Bedard / May 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm
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This is a giant toy box for anyone with a passion for photography. Thomas is a tech geek with the soul of an artist.,and probably the best damn teacher since since Professor Sidney Bloedstucker.
Tom Ridout / May 10, 2012 at 04:46 pm
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Thomas has a depth of understanding of the finer points of printing beyond the vast majority of places. He knows exactly what to look for in an image and how to print it in the best way. From black and white to colour it's the same story. He's done a number of prints for my gallery shows and in all cases I couldn't have found anything to improve on and I'm one picky pixel peeper. Highest recommendation here.
Kopelev / February 24, 2013 at 10:34 am
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Very intresting.
Decorative Art / April 3, 2013 at 08:21 pm
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This looks like a great place to get nice photograph print on canvas. If your instead interested in getting nice looking art on acrylic or canvas online French Kiss Art(http://www.frenchkissart.com) has a great selection which I think compares to 44 Wides for photograph. If you're interested, go see for yourself...
Peter Emms / January 31, 2014 at 02:50 pm
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I am very unhappy with this company. I used them on the recommendation of a good friend. I uploaded an image of my daughter's family whilst on a visit to Vancouver once we had returned to the UK. My daughter is very disappointed that the image (a photo of the whole family with our 4 young grandsons) is blurry. I contacted 44 Wide expecting them to help in some way but have been told it's not their fault that the image was blurry. Their argument is that they get asked to print blurry images deliberately by some people. I find this excuse unacceptable, particularly when I read reviews about how careful they are to help people chooses the right image etc when they visit the shop personally. If they don't bother to even check by a quick email whether a blurred image is required or not, they shouldn't be selling online. Furthermore their guarantee on their website states as follows " If for any reason you are unhappy with the production quality of your artwork we will replace or fix it at our cost..." That states "any reason" which I took to mean what it said as I was buying online and on trust from a highly recommended and supposedly reputable company. Get it sorted 44 wide!,,

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