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At 'Om' with the Beatles

(March 2008) posted on Mon Mar 03, 2008

Circa 1968 photographs adorn Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Angela Prues

Touring the airport with Pakey, Saltzman suggested the departure lounge on a high ceiling for the images, and then he contemplated display options. If the pictures were front-lit, Saltzman thought, they would all be washed out from so much light. "It struck me that the images would be a bit over-lit during the day and need additional lighting to be seen well at night." And then it hit him: "Lightboxes-the images would look fantastic backlit."

With the space chosen, Saltzman and Pakey decided that they would need seven images. They then chose the seven that would work best in the panoramic format the wall space allowed. And a project was born.

It all works out

To put the airport project in motion, Saltzman turned to two shops in Toronto. He first took his transparencies for scanning to Toronto Image Works (, which had done the initial scanning of the transparencies for the book project. Then, Jones and Morris Photo Digital Imaging ( picked up the ball, taking on color-correction and detail work.

Says Jack Seary, digital manager at Jones and Morris: "We edited the files to match proofs that Paul had done previously, starting out with curves to get the correct tone ranges and highlights. We had to go into select files to modify individual colors, tweaking on an as-needed basis."

Seary and his crew produced 16 x 20-inch proofs onto photographic paper, using his shop’s Durst Lambda. When they wanted to verify at final-print size, they would produce a 2 x 5-foot strip and then "stand back and see how the grain and structure of the image would hold up. Some images were grainier, and we especially printed these to see how they would look. This allowed us to see which images would have the most issues."

Once the images had been digitized to Saltzman’s satisfaction, he delivered them to Pakey and the airport, which then forwarded them to longtime printing partner P&K Signs and Designs. Headquartered in Stockport, less than an hour’s drive from Lennon’s hometown, P&K is a six-year-old company with seven employees, operating out of a 15,000-square-foot facility.