Jonathan Ross Holography Collection

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2.5” x 2.75

Various embossed holographic stereograms

Sizes up to 2.5” x 2.75

I am defining Commercial Holography here as images that are primarily  designed to be mass-produced. Applied Holography would be another way of describing it as for the most part they have some functional aspect.

When I had my first gallery, The Hologram Place, the only mass-produced holograms we had access to were Dichromate Gelatin  (DCG) pendants, produced by Richard Rallison at Electric Umbrella (subsequently IDC), and even these were really hand made.  They sold fantastically well and were, for many people, their first introduction to holography.

No one in the UK made DCG to begin with and when Pilkington had a go it didn’t last long.  British companies specialised in reflection holography with companies like Third Dimension, Op-Graphics and Laza, who you will find listed under Display, but most of their output was for the gift-shop market rather than any real mass market applications.

The mass-production of holograms really took off with the development of the embossed hologram in the United States, by Mike Foster, Steve McGrew at Light Impressions, and Ken Haines at American Bank Note Holographics (ABNH). Deriving from Steve Benton’s invention of the Rainbow hologram, embossed holograms are generally recorded in photoresist, electroformed  to make nickel shims and then embossed into polyester, PVC or hotstamping foil.  The advantage of this process is that a lot of work can be put into creating the master and reproduction is then a mechanical process.

As a result some embossed holograms display a great deal of creativity and it is not surprising to discover that many of the holographers responsible began their careers hoping to be artists but, unable to make a living at that, ended up in the commercial sector.

My own company, SEE 3, began by producing movie films for Multiplex style holographic stereograms, then went into reflection holograms and finally, when Nigel Abraham and David Pizzanelli developed a technique for silver-halide relief masters, into originating embossed holograms. Having spent three months making 300 hundred 30x40cm reflection holograms, making one hologram that could be used to generate 100,000 copies or more seemed a good move.

Initially the uses were for novelties and promotions, magazine covers and trading cards, but eventually security printing became the dominant market and these days holography is used for little else than security and packaging materials. I think I got out of the commercial sector at just the right time for my soul, but probably the wrong time for my bank balance.

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