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Author Topic: Carbon Gelatine, Silver Halogenide, Inkjet: "What is THE ultimate print?"  (Read 13631 times)
Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« on: November 06, 2010, 09:29:39 AM »
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As the title says:

Concerning IQ only, not speed, not difficulty, not durability ...

How does a well made Carbon Gelatine Print stand against a well made carbon based Inkjet Print with multiple shades of grey and black (e.g. Piezography inks) or a well made traditional Silver Halogenide Print ? Huh ?

No guesswork please !
Only answers of people who actually have seen the difference ...

« Last Edit: November 06, 2010, 10:31:11 AM by Christoph C. Feldhaim » Logged

Robt
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2010, 09:52:50 PM »
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I have not seen the difference nor am I likely too but; I would send the question to Mark Holbert at Nash Editions.♦

Can't think of a better source.

http://www.nasheditions.com/

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Robert Collins
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2010, 11:32:51 PM »
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In comparing my old silver-gelatin, selinium-toned prints to my Epson using all the colors (not gray inks), I like the quality of the properly crafted Epson prints better. I think it is because I can control the info going into the print.

Once properly crafted, they are better than I could have created in a darkroom and with much less effort and in nearly any tone since I'm not limited to a few grays and to dedicating a printer to just b&w.

Perhaps it's the original image wasn't quite there or that I only did matt-dried double-weight glossy paper. Maybe it was slight fogging with the safelight. I just don't know since it's been nearly twenty years since I seriously printed b&w in the darkroom.

My guess is that it's because I can craft the image in real time without having to fully process and dry the print to properly evaluate it and the ability to tweak the tone to my pleasing, rather than a hit-and-miss approach I once got with different grades of paper coming out slightly differently when toned.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 12:01:22 PM »
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I'm with Larry on this.

I have scanned and reprinted many of my best darkroom prints recently on my Epson 3800 using the ABW mode and I find I can deal with nuances and subtleties much better now than I could after forty years of darkroom work. It took a while to get to that point, but by now there is no way I'm ever going back.

Eric
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 03:52:41 PM »
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Irrespective of whether people have seen the difference, you're still asking for an opinion.  To some, no matter what the advances in digital b&w printmaking, a traditional wet print will still always be better.  To others, like those who've replied so far, at the personal level, they get superior results from well made inkjet prints due to, what we might call, less advanced wet printing skill.  I too fall into that category. 

Having seen both well made wet prints (silver halide) and well made b&w inkjets side by side, personally, I prefer the inkjet.  I think advances in ink and paper technology as well as print head design and ink flow have brought us to the point where a well made inkjet is as good or superior to a well made wet print.  Having never seen a carbon gelatin print, I can't toss that in for comparison.  Like dye transfer and a few other older printing methods that have pretty much faded away, I suspect that the likelihood of seeing a carbon gelatin print today is pretty rare.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 03:32:00 AM »
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Thank you very much everyone for answering and donating your thoughts to this thread.

My impression is, that the question of ink jet printing vs. wet prints (silver halide, carbon gelatine, platinum-palladium, etc) seems to be no more a question of image quality, but more a question of durability (though carbon based inkjet prints definitely are extremely durable) and craftsmanship, which some would call snobbery.

Actually I don't think wet prints are snobbery, but I ask myself what one could do, to excercise the process of capturing and printmaking in a way such, that the slower pace and higher density (mental, not log(D)) of the old procedures (film, wet print) could be saved into the modern digital workflow.

I still stick with film for other reasons, which are specific for the medium, but I less and less see the need for wet prints, except it might be a funny exercise.

To me (as a non-pro) a hybrid workflow (film - scanner - inkjet print), as I use it seems optimal, but maybe, once the sensors get really large (6*6 cm ) and affordable I might switch to digital, though I still mistrust digital archives.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 02:01:46 AM »
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I would try wet plate collodion on glass/metal.

A friend of mine has been some for a few months on 8x10 and it beats the crap out of inkjet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collodion

A bit less convenient that my Epson though. :-)

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
feppe
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 05:01:03 AM »
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...though I still mistrust digital archives.

Not to derail the discussion, but one usually has only one copy of a slide, while making multiple backups of digital shots and distributing the files in physically diverse locations is a trivial exercise. Even if one makes in-camera copies of shots, there will never be more. And digital files don't fade.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 05:04:05 AM by feppe » Logged

tim wolcott
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 11:52:33 PM »
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Its a matter of skill levels.  It takes extreme skill to make a amazing inkjet as well as any analog image.  Its just different techniques but similar exercise.  For many years I have been inventing processes, some for the Smithsonian proving what couldn't be done or so they said.  There are so many factors leading to a perfect print or to make one.  I believe they are both great, but do you want to spend many many hours in the dark or have the ability to make many perfect copies that are the same and be able to scale the images to any size anytime you want.

I personally love silver and platinum, but the ability to make inkjets at anytime and size on many medias is better for my pocket book and gallery.  But if you really want to make silver prints and get great remakes everytime.  Then learn to make negatives to scale so you can make contact prints in the process you want.  I have not written up what I invented at the Smithsonian, but will be happy to share this with you if you want to go this direction.  I am not a writer, but am willing to share nearly everything I have invented.  Tim

I would not send anything to Nash, they made very fadable dye based Iris prints. 
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 08:12:58 PM »
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I would not send anything to Nash, they made very fadable dye based Iris prints. 

Wow...that's really out of line.

Yes, Nash Editions pioneered the use of an Iris printer for fine art printing-the story was it took a rock star and a hacksaw to void a warrantee within 15 minutes of the printer being setup.

Yes, those early dye based prints were fugitive (I don't recall they ever touted their Iris prints as "archival"). They have also worked very hard at advancing print longevity both with Iris and later with Epson.

But to denigrate Nash Editions just because they used, which was at the time state of the art, dye based printers is to completely forget/ignore the way this technology was developed and advanced. The Iris is an old, old tech–which Nash Editions gave to the Smithsonian-perhaps you've seen it on display there?

BTW, who do you suppose was a test site for Epson's early pigment printers? Who do you suppose tested the 600, 800 and 900 series printers?

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tim wolcott
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 11:46:37 PM »
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I do remember them touting them as archival.  I have had accounts where they did that.  Because when we released Evercolor they decided to cut the light down by 8 times so they could multiply the testing data to compare to our pigment prints.  

When they were working with the Epson's they were dye based at that time.  We were using inkjet and converting them to Pigment based printers.  Even Epson at that time was dye based.  It wasn't until we showed how good a pigment based print could look and we altered not only Epson's but others that they finally started to think that way.

Nothing get me more upset, when credit is given to those who did not deserve it.  So maybe Jeff it sounds harsh, but I have spent 19+ years pushing pigment based photographs.  I have been throw out of galleries because the pigment prints discredited many other processes that galleries had invested alot of money buying cibachromes and other dye based images.  I have dedicated nearly my entire photographic career to this endeavor.  Its time for the entire inkjet industry to step forward and make a move to clean up the photographic market.  WE have many galleries selling very fadeable prints.  When as you will attest to inkjet has far better longevity and ability to make great photographs more accurately.  I'm not saying that Nash did not make great looking dye based prints.  But selling short longevity prints is like selling antiques filled with termites.

The inkjet industry as whole has not educated and displayed images to promote the photographic market and move them forward in the standards of what a photograph should be.  

Tim
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 11:57:20 PM by tim wolcott » Logged
Dallison
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 01:36:48 PM »
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I joined this website to reply to your uninformed criticism of Nash Editions. I was a customer there in 1993 and they always referred me to Henry Wilhelm when it came to permanence information. I had several frank discussions with both Jack and Mac and neither of them "touted" their prints as archival. What I do know is that they worked with several ink manufacturers to create much more permanent solutions. In 1997 I returned a dozen prints to them that had faded and they happily reprinted them at no cost with the most permanent inks they had available at the time. There are many digital printers out there that have been irresponsible and have made outrageous claims about their process. Nash Editions is not one of them.

Why don't you some basic research before you start denigrating a company that did so much to advance the art of digital printmaking?

Frankly, I wish more emphasis was placed on the quality of images rather than how long they will last.

Regards,

Duncan Allison
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Schewe
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 01:48:53 PM »
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I do remember them touting them as archival.  I have had accounts where they did that.  Because when we released Evercolor they decided to cut the light down by 8 times so they could multiply the testing data to compare to our pigment prints.  

I dispute that statement...

I just talked to Mac Holbert and he stated that Nash Editions have NEVER touted their prints from Iris printers are EVER being "archival". He also said that the ONLY time longevity was ever talked about, Nash Editions directed people to Henry Wilhelm's site. Nash Editions never ran longevity testing on their own and never promised anything to customers other than a guarantee to reprint, free of charge, any prints that faded. Nash Editions did a lot of testing of a variety of inks for the Iris including extended longevity inks from American Ink Jet Company. They were early adopters of Epson pigment printers particularly the original Epson 10000 large format printers.

So, I don't know where you got your information about Nash Editions, but it flies in the face of my experience and knowledge.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2010, 12:45:25 AM »
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Archival terms are thrown out all the time, means a lot of things to a lot of people.  We can look back and argue about what he said or not what he said.  So whether it was the gallery making up the age testing of the prints being sold by Nash Editions.  I can't be sure absolutely because it was a long time. But if Mac says he did not say it then it was the galleries that said it.  So I always stand by my word, then I personally apologize to Mac.  But I do remember 80 years be thrown out.  I will say the Mac is a great printer.  But when we were inventing the pigment printing process in inkjet and Evercolor.   

WE need to focus the discussion on what we want for the future.  WE need (The Pigment Printing Photographers) to focus and clean the profession up.  Many galleries are opposed to inkjet prints and the buyers or collectors of photography need to educated of why they should be buying pigment photographs as opposed to dye based prints like (Lightjet, ciba's, Chromira, ect).  As these prints fade they will hurt the profession to move forward.  T



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Schewe
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2010, 01:15:30 AM »
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Tim,

I don't disagree that we need to forcefully deal with galleries and dealers who barely understand the technology they are selling to willing dupes...but in order to deal with those galleries, we do indeed need to be mindful of what has come before. Nash Editions/Mac Holbert is really one of the "good guys" not the enemy...

If you want to collect a fine art medium, it's useful if the medium can last at least the lifetime of the buyer...which until recently has been no sure thing.

Dealers and galleries will tell buyers anything to make the sale. That is indeed atrocious and needs to be addressed by the image makers that end up contributing to the system.

The term "archival" is actually quite meaningless...print longevity is more useful.

A quick trip to Henry's site will be enough to grasp that any image on paper has GOT to be considered as a very delicate medium.

And that is one of the problems...a unique painting on canvas or sculpture in stone can last a lot longer than the art dealer selling it.

Stone lithographs seem to have withstood the trials of time. Photographs however have historically been a problem not only because of longevity issues but because "photographs" (either chemical or digital) can be reproduced ad nauseam which impacts on the scarcity and therefore the value of the print.

It's really hard to sell a print based solely on the merits of the image...most dealers and galleries want to deal with prints in terms of scarcity (such as some sort of goofy "limited edition" status)...and as we all know, one of the benefits of a photo (either chemical or digital) is the ability to reproduce images–a lot.

To the OP, you are barking up the wrong tree...in the grand scheme of things, a great print of a bad image is still a bad image. This reminds me of Ansel Adams quote that there's nothing worse that a sharp print of a fuzzy concept–regardless of how that print was made...(the last part is from me). What you want to be concerning yourself with is great imagery...screw the print!
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 01:17:33 AM by Schewe » Logged
tim wolcott
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« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2010, 12:30:41 PM »
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Jeff your points are well taken.  But my point is that the industry must push what's is best for the profession.  If all the prints last a very long time.  Then the great images will  come to the forefront as the great images.  What sad is when we have prints out there being touted as non fading images when they all are produced with dyes.  AKA all the photographic galleries in Vegas.  I have had many chats since early 1990 with Henry and John Paul, Bill Atkinson, Joseph Holmes, Michael  and many others, if we push the industry and educate as much as possible what is photograph that has longevity to it then we all win. 

The galleries your right will sell anything, but some have morals.  What I'm trying to say, there old processes that have lasted and few new ones.  Its up to us as a whole and lead the way.

By the way Ansel's quote, that one of my favorite.  I've known Mac since 1991-92.  If Mac said it wasn't so then I believe it was the galleries.  The quality of the print is what the printer does to it.   If the images sucks then it still will always be a bad image.  In the print realm I'm only talking about longevity, the rest will fall out over time.  Thanks Jeff
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2011, 03:15:14 AM »
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To the OP, you are barking up the wrong tree...in the grand scheme of things, a great print of a bad image is still a bad image. This reminds me of Ansel Adams quote that there's nothing worse that a sharp print of a fuzzy concept–regardless of how that print was made...(the last part is from me). What you want to be concerning yourself with is great imagery...screw the print!

I'd say yes and no at the same time ....

I strongly believe that longevity is a natural part of any artistic process to some extent, since art is something, where we tell something to others - and that not only in our time. Of course there might be different concepts.

There are child drawings of myself from 40 years ago. The paper is slightly yellowed, but for the drawing attempts of a child thats pretty good longevity. And I'm happy about that.

I agree, that the image is more important than its longevity, but if I am taking myself for serious I think its valid to strive for longevity. In any case we can't defeat death of course.

I want to thank all posters to this thread so far and to me it seems pretty clear, that longevity is an important and also highly emotionally charged topic.

~Chris
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2011, 07:59:46 PM »
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HP offers a way to combine digital imaging with platinum and palladium contact printing.

BOBW!
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2011, 01:29:33 AM »
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Although this is an interesting article we did this with using Lightjet negs back in 1997 to create the same process.  We designed this process back in the day as a response to the Smithsonian saying it was impossible to do.  But with any challenge if there is a will there is a way.  Smithsonian said we could not make Evercolor Print either as well as double contact carbon prints and we proved them wrong again.  The main key to every thing is to use a standard the 27 step grayscale is the best.  Because if you can make the grayscale perfectly everything that is the image comes easily and fall within the boundry of what the grayscale produced. 

But love the fact minds come together and make processes better to create a better outcome.  Hats off.  T
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mediumcool
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« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2011, 02:21:22 AM »
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HP offers a way to combine digital imaging with platinum and palladium contact printing.

BOBW!

Apparently this was a pet project of one HP software engineer.

Only takes a bit of enthusiasm ...
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