Like many successful businesses, stroon was born out of a need. In early 2005, founders Garry and Sharon wanted to print some of their own images onto canvas for their home.
They discovered it wasn't easy to find a good quality local printing service for canvas prints.
So they founded stroon to provide a high quality image to canvas service so people could make prints of their own photographs.
With many contacts on the local photography scene, Garry was soon able to secure an arrangement with some of Manchester's leading photographers, including Ian Tilton, Stephen Wright & Paul Wolfgang to print and market their work as well.
Now music fans could own an original, high quality piece of photographic artwork featuring bands such as The Stone Roses, Morrissey & Oasis, and it didn't have to cost a fortune.
Originality at high quality
Garry feels strongly about what they are offering: 'Why do people go to some large furniture store or the like and buy a generic canvas print that thousands of other people have in their homes, when they could pay just a little more (or less in some cases) and have an individual art work by a leading photographer or one of their own pictures?'.
Originality at high quality is at the core of what stroon has to offer.
But making a good quality canvas print isn't just a matter of pressing a button on a printer.
Garry explains: 'To get a good quality canvas print, you have to use the best of everything, from the printer to the canvas and from the inks to the wood. You see lots of cheaply produced canvases around, and you can always tell. For instance, the wood used by other suppliers may be square cut, not bevelled as it should be, to ensure the canvas sits free away from the wood'.
The same sense of craftsmanship and dedication goes into the making of framed prints too. These are all printed and framed individually to order. A photographic print is cheaper to make than a canvas, but the frame (depending on whether wood or metal is used) generally pushes the price up.
A fresh way of exhibiting an image
Garry: 'Canvases are an excellent way to portray an image. It leaps out at you, rather than being embedded within a frame and mount. With an image under glass, you need to stand in front it to avoid reflections, whereas a canvas can be viewed from any angle. As the image is wrapped around the edges of the frame it gives a 3d feel. Framed prints are the traditional way of showing an image and will remain important. Canvas prints are just a sign of the times, the result of advancing technology. They're a fresh way of exhibiting an image.'
Over the past few years, demand for large format canvases has been steadily growing, but finding a good reliable local service can be difficult.
I'm very pleased now to be able to offer my photographs both as large format canvases and framed photographic prints made by stroon. I can also recommend them if you'd just like one of your own photos printed at large size.
For more information go to the stroon website stroon.co.uk.
And I will soon be offering a premium selection of images by selected photographers and artists from Manchester and further afield.