This setup was originally written in 2012.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Keith Taylor and I was born in England but I’m now living and working in Minneapolis, MN. I’m a photographer and printmaker and I specialise in making photographic prints using processes dating back to the 1860s and the earliest days of photography.
As well as my own photography and gallery shows, I make custom prints for other photographers for exhibitions, books and portfolios, I also write for photo magazines and teach workshops on these processes.
What hardware do you use?
For going between home and the studio I have a 13″ MacBook Pro with two hard drives. I replaced the optical drive with an OWC Data Doubler and an OWC solid state hard drive, so I have an SSD for the operating system (Mountain Lion) and applications, and a regular 7200rpm 500GB drive for user content. With 8GB of RAM, this makes for a pretty fast setup. I use this at home with an Apple 27″ LED display.
Most of my editing is done at the studio where I have a Mac Pro (Quad Core) with 16GB of memory, an Apple monitor and four internal hard drives. My main image hard drive is a Newer Technology Guardian MAXimus mini with two 1TB drives set up in a mirrored RAID 1 configuration. For backups I use lots of onsite and offsite G-Tech Firewire 800 hard drives as well as locally-based Code 42‘s CrashPlan for online backups. I also use an iPad (2nd Generation) and an iPhone 4S.
For cameras I’m still using film, at least for the most part. Three medium format Rolleflexes from the 1960s, a Mamiya 6 and Mamiya 7 outfit, all with Ilford Delta 400 black and white film. For scanning the film I use an Epson flatbed scanner. I also use a Fuji X100s.
I’m an inveterate list maker, whether it be using Moleskine books (only squared, mind you) or Apple products. I love my black Pelikan M200 fountain pen that uses a fine-size nib customised by Richard Binder and filled with black Aurora ink. The best rollerballs are the Uni-Ball Vision Micros and the best pencils are Palomino Blackwings. But they’re so wonderfully soft that a box won’t last you long. I can’t believe I’m writing about a pencil…
For exposing the platinum prints and polymer photogravure plates I use a 5KW Burgess Industries ultraviolet light source with a 33″ x 44″ vacuum frame. For photogravure I use a custom built Conrad etching press.
And what software?
I use Adobe’s Creative Cloud, primarily Lightroom for maintaining image catalogues and Photoshop for editing images. Even though the final print may be printed using a process from the 1860s, everything goes through Photoshop either as a RAW file or film scan and a new, large inkjet negative the same size as the final print made using Epson 3800 printers, Pictorico OHP film and QuadTone RIP. This is because all these processes require a negative to be exposed in contact with the paper to ultraviolet light rather than projected via an enlarger in the darkroom, so the negative has to be the same size as the final print. For iPhone images I’ll use Snapseed or Hipstamatic.
I built and maintain my websites using a mix of apps that includes Dreamweaver, Espresso,TextWrangler, SourceTree, GitHub and Transmit. The code isn’t necessarily pretty — certainly not poetry — but it works for me. Hosting is by the wonderful MacHighway.
As much as I love the Victorian-era processes I’m working with, I’m also a bit of a geek and I love trying to learn different technologies, such as setting up local servers using MAMP. Most of the time they’re completely irrelevant to my day-to-day work, but rewarding when I get them to work properly.
Other apps and services I couldn’t live without are CrashPlan and Carbon Copy Cloner for backups plus 1Password, Dropbox, WeTransfer and of course, Spotify. MarsEdit for writing my weblog and Reeder for reading others. I use Pages, Nisus Writer Pro or Byword for writing, and Wunderlist, Evernote, Readability, Things and Omnifocus to try and keep me on focussed and on track with projects. I’m always looking for the next best task management app for organising my life.
What would be your dream setup?
A Mac Pro or a MacBook Pro with the maximum amount of RAM possible and loaded with fast SSDs, and a calibrated Eizo monitor. All this would sit on a nicely ergonomic and correctly adjusted desk with plenty of space and a good set of studio speakers. My body would thank me.
— The Setup can be found at www.usesthis.com.