At first, I was surprised when Mark Maio reached out and asked us to help design and print his calendar for 2020. But as I thought about it, I realized there was a lot of mutual respect between us, and Mark was developing a calendar idea he had thought about for a couple of years.

Mark is an immensely talented photographer, as well as an imaging consultant in the field of ophthalmology. That’s probably a good explanation for the calendar’s first image: a compilation of 20 retinas Mark photographed and put into 1 composite picture, for the 20/20 or 2020 calendar (great play on numbers).


I first met Mark when I went to Silo City in Buffalo, NY for a photo workshop where we photographed a complex of abandoned grain elevators, a malting house and numerous grain silos. Mark was responsible for the idea of the workshop, as well as for telling the story of the many old time “Grain Scoopers” along the East coast. Since then I have come to really understand, appreciate and respect his work.

On this particular day, Mark wanted us to help him design and print a small calendar, with (12) 5” x 7” sheets, each with one of his photos and a month on it. The design was straight forward: Use a nice font, come up with a simple calendar template, and place a photo on each page. The photos were a bit of a challenge, though. Mark shoots a lot of black and white, and he likes to push the limits. Deep blacks and bright whites, but with detail in both. We had picked out a 130# satin coated cover so that it would hold the integrity of a 90% black and a 8% white dot with detail intact.


To make sure the prints met Mark’s high expectations, we printed an actual proof on the selected paper and overnighted it to Atlanta where he lives. We made adjustments after a round of feedback and then repeated the overnighting process to ensure we had it perfect before finalizing the proof. Thanks to our HP Indigo print technology, we could hold the exact setting and replicate the ‘just right’ look we had achieved over and over again.

We didn’t stop there. I went back and forth with Mark on the calendar’s packaging, and he ended up finding a nice wooden base that would hold the cards, and a box, that with some packing could be put together and ship as a beautiful piece. He might still have some available for sale – you can check here.


I’m looking forward to working with Mark more, and hope to get back to Buffalo again this year, as this will be the last workshop for Silo City; it’s being re-developed into an urban living and arts complex.