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Onne van der Wal Perfects His Prints with Canon

November 2, 2017

Photo © Onne van der Wal

While van der Wal, a former transoceanic boat racer, spends time at sea to photograph new work, his wife, Tenley, oversees his in-gallery Canon printer as it churns out limited-edition prints and requests from customers.

Step into Onne van der Wal’s gallery in Newport, Rhode Island, and you’ll be greeted by walls of breathtaking photographs of regattas, yachts and sailboats. Just steps from the city’s historic harbor, the gallery is also run like a tight ship. The key to its success is hiding in plain sight: a Canon imagePROGRAF inkjet printer.

“It makes quite an impression on our clients when they walk in,” van der Wal says of the printer. “It’s the heart and soul of the gallery.”

Most days, the former transoceanic boat racer is on the water in his 25-foot chase boat, Onnesignment, tailing racing boats in Naragansett Bay or circling 300-foot yachts easing out of the Newport Yacht Club. While he’s out shooting the sun and the surf, the gallery is in the expert hands of his wife, Tenley, with his printer humming along.

All day, the printer effortlessly cranks out his most popular photographs in limited edition sets of 250, as well as custom images for his corporate clients like luxury boatmaker Hinckley Yachts and outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia. The printer switches between media and styles, from an artsy matte rag paper to a high-gloss plexiglass, with ease.

“I’m a pretty driven person and I like perfection,” van der Wal says. “The colors are always right on the money—never over-cranked or over-tweaked.”

A Scow National Championships on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. Photo © Onne van der Wal

van der Wal in his Newport, Rhode Island, gallery with his prints. Photo © Onne van der Wal

Van der Wal used to send his images to be printed at a lab. When a friend suggested that he try printing in-house, he admits he got worried about the amount of work he and his wife would have to take on.

“I’d heard about color profiles, paper profiles and monitors. I didn’t know about any of that stuff. I thought it would be a nightmare,” he says.

But a Canon representative helped install the printer on-site and the company’s support team has always been available to answer questions over the phone. The Van der Wals soon got the hang of the printer, working together to test settings on his newest limited-edition images. They locked in color profiles that meant a high standard of quality for every print in the edition—and they haven’t looked back since.

“When you have to send images to a lab, it’s a much longer process to get the prints to look right. The luxury of having your own machine is that you can get it right then and there,” says van der Wal. “It’s so worth it.”

That responsiveness comes in handy with the high-rolling clientele that sail to Newport every summer. When they stroll into the gallery in between ocean adventures, the massive prints instantly impress. And when they decide their favorite van der Wal image isn’t on the walls, Tenley sets the printer to deliver a customized print on the spot. The print goes from the printer to the table where van der Wal signs his name, making sure every client goes home with exactly what he or she wants.

“Everyone should have their own printer,” says van der Wal. “I know what kind of impact it’s had on our business.”

See Canon’s new line of imagePROGRAF PRO printers at usa.canon.com/proprinters.

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