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Author Topic: Frank discussion re: print permanence and printer/ink recommendations  (Read 11533 times)
deanwork
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« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2011, 11:17:14 AM »
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Exactly, depends on the client and the buyer. I do work for museums and galleries all the time time and they damn sure do care about what the known science is. They would be fools and not doing their jobs if they didn't care.

If seen a lot of my friends type C and Polaroid portfolios turn to crap withing the last 20 years and that stuff isn't coming back.

The bottom end is being taken care of by Walmart and Kinkos so that is not my concern and there is nothing I can do about that even if I wanted to.

Doing ad work that will be trashed in a 6 months is another story as well. (and there is nothing wrong with specializing in that either)

Doing portraits of people who may what them to last as long as a drawing or painting  would under similar conditions, to pass down as something to preserve, is another client base factor.

Lumping all this stuff together as one thing, like the manufactures tend to do, is not realistic.

To say a client can just reprint a  portfolio or image they have purchased 50 years from now when they don't even have the file or the original materials or the artist around is just silly.
j



I think it depends somewhat on where one is in the market too. If I were selling 8x10 prints for $50 I wouldn't much worry about their longevity. But I am selling 8x10 prints for $400 and the prints to a degree are investments for the collector. So I do get into educating my clients about print longevity-it is part of the marketing and my pride in craft.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2011, 11:21:55 AM »
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If seen a lot of my friends type C and Polaroid portfolios turn to crap withing the last 20 years and that stuff isn't coming back.


Yes, it's true. But depending on how bad and other circumstances not all may be lost -  it can "come back" - by scanning the original film in the case of the Type C prints, and using digital rescue applications on the Polaroids. Then one would print the new digital files using today's long-lasting inkjet technology.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2011, 12:50:10 PM »
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Ernst, I didn't say 'the first' pigment inkjet printer, I said the 'first mainstream' inkjet printer.  That would have been the Epson 2200 and the introduction of (I believe) the first Ultrachrome inkset; with all its wonderful flaws.  I know the 7500/9500/10000 came out a few years before but price and end user takeup would, to me, not make them 'mainstream'.  By 'mainstream' I'm talking widely accessible in terms of availability and price and widely taken up by end users; in this case photographers.  Many printers have used pigment black inks for far longer, including desktop document printers. 

Kirk, I think that's a bit misleading.  Not every photographer can sell an 8x10 for $400 (or more).  And there are a variety of reasons for that.  Market they work/sell in, how well known they are, etc.  But there's no reason the person selling the 8x10 for $50 should care any less about the quality of what they're putting out than the person selling the 8x10 for $400. 
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2011, 01:01:17 PM »
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The first desktop pigment PHOTO printer was the Epson 2000P - if my memory serves me correctly - mid-2000. I was concerned about longevity by the late 1990s when I was scanning film and wanted to make inkjet prints. There was nothing for the desktop but dye-based printers offering nothing more than several years of unfaded prints.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2011, 01:25:00 PM »
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Kirk, I think that's a bit misleading.  Not every photographer can sell an 8x10 for $400 (or more).  And there are a variety of reasons for that.  Market they work/sell in, how well known they are, etc.  But there's no reason the person selling the 8x10 for $50 should care any less about the quality of what they're putting out than the person selling the 8x10 for $400.

I sell 8x10s of my commercial work for $50. Nobody asks because nobody really cares how long they last. If they last just a few years fine. A $400 investment (and that is nothing in the art world) is still another playing field altogether and buyers always have questions about permanence.

I don't understand your point in this discussion. You seem to be questioning why anyone would wring their hands over this issue and then say everyone should care about it.

BTW The tests have not been completed comparing inkjet papers/inks and traditional B&W photography. The results will be enlightening. And also if you look at the data there are some ink/paper combinations that are terrible and will not outlast C prints. These tests are important. Wilhelm's estimates are exaggerated because they are based on a gross amount of fading that no FA printer in any price range would find acceptable.
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TylerB
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« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2011, 01:46:15 PM »
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there are countless examples of photographs that, when they were made seemed utilitarian or artistically meaningless or whatever, that later became historically/culturally significant. This tends to be left out of these discussions, and may be one of the more important arguments for the importance of the topic.
Tyler
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2011, 01:56:34 PM »
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The first desktop pigment PHOTO printer was the Epson 2000P - if my memory serves me correctly - mid-2000. I was concerned about longevity by the late 1990s when I was scanning film and wanted to make inkjet prints. There was nothing for the desktop but dye-based printers offering nothing more than several years of unfaded prints.

The 2000P was introduced together with the 10000/9500/7500. We were already running 9000's with Mediastreet Generation pigment ink at that time. Not the quality and gamut of today's pigments but way better than the original Epson dye inks of the 9000's. 100 years on Photorag according to Wilhelm. I do not think it would still get that result in the upgraded tests but at least we tried to use the best.

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

330+ paper white spectral plots:

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm



« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 01:58:22 PM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2011, 02:14:26 PM »
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The 2000P was introduced together with the 10000/9500/7500. We were already running 9000's with Mediastreet Generation pigment ink at that time. Not the quality and gamut of today's pigments ...........

Then again, the 2000P with Epson's own pigmented inks didn't have the gamut of today's Epson inks either - quality has come a long way in a very short period of time.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2011, 02:26:14 PM »
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The issue of print/negative permanence has been around ever since the beginning of photography.  On only needs to go back and look at how both negative carrier and the chemistry developments progressed since the first glass plates were prepared in the 1800s.  One can find lots in the scientific literature of photography on film stock and processing chemicals as concerted efforts were made to improve the stability and permanence (if one can call it that given that we continue to rely on limited data sets).  Huge efforts were made by both Kodak and AGFA in the 1920s to improve the reliability of B/W processing and you can find countless developer/fixer combinations that were tested.  The development of ink jet printing is really no different but it's fair to say as Mark Segal pointed out in a post, that manufacturers have made huge steps in a relatively short period of time.  We do know some of the contributors to image deterioration:  UV light, non-conservation mat and framing materials, and pollutants in the air.  These are things that can be controlled and it's useful to tell your customers this (e.g., don't hang a $400 print on a wall with lots of direct sun exposure or if you are shipping rolled prints tell them to get it properly matted and framed).
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2011, 12:06:23 AM »
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Interesting discussion, of course there are several threads about it, and to each their own. My maxim is I'm not going to sacrifice how great a print looks for the next 20 or 30 years just so it might look better in 100 years ... because I just don't think anyone will care then.  They do care now.

Interestingly enough there are those who should care about how their work will look down the road, because they really have established some sort of "collectibility" factor, and yet they persist on chromogenic prints (Peter Lik, Rodney Lough are two examples that come to mind).

I always felt this was an interesting read about the subject from a different perspective.  If I ever accomplished #1 on the list, I might feel differently.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2011/06/eight-ways-to-preserve-your-pictures.html
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2011, 07:37:23 AM »
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No, that's not what I'm saying, Kirk.  Not even close.  And yes I know there are current ink/paper combinations that don't match up to wet prints.  But I'm not going to get into a pointless urinating contest along the lines of 'well these three papers with these three inks....'  My point was that we have a plethora of options that can give very high quality prints that should last a very long time.  And that when test estimates put the life of those prints at as long as or longer than wet prints then whether one particular combination is expected to last for 200+ years and another is expected to last 300+ years doesn't really matter.  None of us here, I'd wager, are going to end up in the permanent collections of the Louvre or the Tate or the MoMa or other similar institutions.  So that extra hundred years really doesn't matter because in all probability, what we produce today will likely have been sold in whatever the next century's version of a garage sale is.  Some may be arrogant enough to think otherwise but the number of those whose value will be as long lasting as the prints is very, very few.

Of course no 'actual' tests of inkjet prints compared to wet prints have been done because there hasn't been the time for inkjet prints to be tested in real time.  But based on the estimates and past knowledge of the life of Cibas or other traditional colour prints it's a reasonable statement to make.  Similarly the current estimates of digital b&w prints compared to traditional b&w prints.

Mark, again, I didn't say first.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2011, 08:26:14 AM »
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Of course no 'actual' tests of inkjet prints compared to wet prints have been done because there hasn't been the time for inkjet prints to be tested in real time.  But based on the estimates and past knowledge of the life of Cibas or other traditional colour prints it's a reasonable statement to make.  Similarly the current estimates of digital b&w prints compared to traditional b&w prints.

However, one can do such tests.  I have had 12 prints hanging in the hallway of my old office (been retired for 16 months now) for just over three years.  They are exposed to light for 12 hours (maybe more depending on the last one out of the office) a day.  Visually there appears to be no fading at all (Epson K3 ink with both color and B/W prints on display; papers include Ilford Gold Fiber Silk, Museo Silver Rag, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth).  I've taken a couple of identical prints that have been stored in a closed archival box to compare.  Although this is not as exact a test as the color patch testing that Aardenburg uses, it does at least give some indication of how prints can stand up in real life situations.  Clearly one would want to know a little more about the wavelength and intensity of the lights the prints are exposed to. 

From a chemistry point of view, I discount some of the estimates given to B/W prints.  A properly fixed and selenium toned silver gelatin print is darn stable and only discoloration of the paper would be expected.  Third party carbon black inksets might offer the same level of stability but I suspect the Epson B/W prints using small amounts of colored pigments might not be quite as stable (though it is arguable whether deterioration would be visible or not).
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« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2011, 09:21:37 AM »
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Oh sure.  I think a decent number of photographers do just that, Alan.  I've done similar.  But we're still a long way from the 50, 60, 100 or more years that some of the tests indicate for longevity.  That was really all I was getting at.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2011, 09:27:10 AM »
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Oh sure.  I think a decent number of photographers do just that, Alan.  I've done similar.  But we're still a long way from the 50, 60, 100 or more years that some of the tests indicate for longevity.  That was really all I was getting at.

Bob, I think it's fine to approach certain things with *healthy* skepticism - a questioning mind wouldn't do otherwise; but at the same time, with this particular domain, I also think there's a great deal of state-of-the-art science behind the history of work that's been done on this topic, not only by Wilhelm and MMCH, but other serious scientists as well - to the extent that if you think we're so far away from numbers such as 60 to 100 years before *significant* fading shows-up, the onus is on you to explain how you know that notwithstanding the papers that have been published on this subject.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2011, 10:39:41 AM »
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The other scientific basis that can be extrapolated from is the use of pigment colors in painting which has an extremely long history.  There is a lot of literature regarding what causes color deterioration (and in some cases it is the varnish that was used to overlay the actual painting.  We clearly know that pigments are much more color fast than dyes for the most part and in the case of Epson inks we know that yellow is the weak link in their color set (I don't know if this is the same for Canon or HP inks).

I don't have anything hanging in museums and probably never will but I do want those who have my prints hanging in homes and offices to have the best possible print that I can make which means that OBA content has an impact on paper choice.  Even though I can reprint, I don't want someone in California complaining to me about OBA burnout three or four years from now (depending on the paper and where the print was hung).
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2011, 11:07:30 AM »
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None of us here, I'd wager, are going to end up in the permanent collections of the Louvre or the Tate or the MoMa or other similar institutions.

Museums are actually the last place you have to worry about light fading as 99.99% of the time they are stored in complete darkness and only pulled out once or twice in a generation for a show and hung even then in dim light. Very few museums ever hang art that is potentially light sensitive for very long or often. That is why a museum isn't afraid to pay millions for a Gursky C print. What you have to worry about is when they are hanging in homes and offices year after year and perhaps in the case of a home collection passed down with generation after generation in light.

Having said that. For my own pride in craft, I do pay attention to it regardless of the end point. Since long before injet, archival processing and materials has been integral to the art of photography. If I can make a print that is stable for a stressful environment then good environments like museums are well covered. I have nearly 200 prints purchased for and in museum collections (not the Louvre or Tate or MOMA)-the vast majority silver prints, a few Cibas and for the last 6 years inkjet. Not once was I questioned about the archival properties of a print before purchase, because (I think) they assume if you are an accomplished photographer you know what you are doing and use procedures and materials that are archival.
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« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2011, 02:58:43 PM »
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Museums are actually the last place you have to worry about light fading

You've missed my point entirely. 

Quote
Having said that. For my own pride in craft, I do pay attention to it regardless of the end point. Since long before injet, archival processing and materials has been integral to the art of photography. If I can make a print that is stable for a stressful environment then good environments like museums are well covered. I have nearly 200 prints purchased for and in museum collections (not the Louvre or Tate or MOMA)-the vast majority silver prints, a few Cibas and for the last 6 years inkjet. Not once was I questioned about the archival properties of a print before purchase, because (I think) they assume if you are an accomplished photographer you know what you are doing and use procedures and materials that are archival.

I'm not suggesting you don't take pride in your craft or that you shouldn't.  What I am saying is that someone who isn't as well known as you or doesn't/can't sell for as high a price as you shouldn't take the same pride in what they produce and sell. 

Quote
Bob, I think it's fine to approach certain things with *healthy* skepticism - a questioning mind wouldn't do otherwise; but at the same time, with this particular domain, I also think there's a great deal of state-of-the-art science behind the history of work that's been done on this topic, not only by Wilhelm and MMCH, but other serious scientists as well - to the extent that if you think we're so far away from numbers such as 60 to 100 years before *significant* fading shows-up, the onus is on you to explain how you know that notwithstanding the papers that have been published on this subject.

Mark, I'm not questioning the science.  I'm not saying now, and haven't anywhere in this discussion, said that we're so far off those numbers.  I've said the exact opposite actually.  I think the numbers are valid.  As valid as they can be based on lab testing.  And yes, I think that's pretty damn valid.  There's no standardised test though; as is clear by the difference between, as noted in this discussion, Wilhem and Aardenburg numbers.  But it's not real world.  Lots of things test well in a lab but don't perform up to the test in real world conditions.  Medications are one example.  But that's getting off topic.  Despite all that, I'm still not going to tell someone a print I sell them will last 100+ years.  Simply not going to do it.  Why?  Because, as Kirk rightly points out, we have no idea what happens to that print once it's left our hands.  If the buyer decides to reframe it, we have no idea what kind of materials will be used.  We may use nothing but conservation grade materials but have no idea what they or their chosen frame shop may use. 

What I've been saying in this discussion is that we now have methods and materials that will allow us to make prints that will last as long and/or longer than wet prints.  So if longevity is being compared to a traditional wet print, we're already better than that (depending on paper/ink combinations).  If we're already better than that, then it matters little whether we're talking about 100+ years or 200+ years.  The reason it matters little is despite what Lux noted in his opening about the print 'being around longer than we'll be alive' not mattering and that 'the print needs to be around as long as the buyer is around'; when we're talking century or two century lifespans, I think we're pretty well covered on both fronts.  Plus the fact that, as I've pointed out and as, I believe, Wayne pointed out, what the vast majority of us sell is going to be scrapped long before it fades away. 
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2011, 03:26:01 PM »
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Hi,

I see that some art is sold as decoration. That kind of art would hang on display, possibly in intense lighting, but not for very long times (like > 50 years).

Art that is sold to collectors would probably stored in dark conditions, hardly continuos 400 Lux lighting assumed in the aging tests. So I guess that the humble permanence figures for the Epsons actually quite OK.

Best regards
Erik
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deanwork
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« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2011, 07:24:51 PM »
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That's not necessarily true. I wish we could control where people display prints but we can't. Unfortunately "collectors", aka, the wealthy people who buy expensive photography, more often than not, in my experience, put them on the wall right beside a big window or under a skylight. They usually have a house full of color work hanging in fairly bright light, and certainly enough to burn out these brightening agents in short order. The issue, as Mark has pointed out a million times, is the it is very common to have much, much greater intensity than 450 lux for short periods of time than it is ever as moderate dosages. Short bursts of real intensity can really quickly damage them, like from here in Atlanta, or California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, etc, etc.  I've seen it happen, and I've seen the C prints and Iris prints go green or red right there in their homes. It isn't  a theoretical issue for me, I've seen it first hand. And I've seen friends Epson Ultrachrome prints turn gray in the whites on the old "archival matte" garbage right in the middle of a show in a  public space under sky lights, in a couple of weeks.  And these were for sale. I also recommend uv glass for any client that is going to have anything in bright light for any period of time. That is the easiest way to cover you self.

john


quote author=ErikKaffehr link=topic=60227.msg486025#msg486025 date=1323897961]
Hi,

I see that some art is sold as decoration. That kind of art would hang on display, possibly in intense lighting, but not for very long times (like > 50 years).

Art that is sold to collectors would probably stored in dark conditions, hardly continuos 400 Lux lighting assumed in the aging tests. So I guess that the humble permanence figures for the Epsons actually quite OK.

Best regards
Erik
[/quote]
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MHMG
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« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2011, 07:48:57 PM »
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there are countless examples of photographs that, when they were made seemed utilitarian or artistically meaningless or whatever, that later became historically/culturally significant. This tends to be left out of these discussions, and may be one of the more important arguments for the importance of the topic.
Tyler

Very well said. Thank you Tyler.

Add to historically significant photos, photos that are merely sentimental family photos but having enduring value nonetheless even if only to one's own family. Many are in albums but many are framed and continuously displayed, and still handed down from generation to generation. I'm visiting family in Portland, Oregon this week. I'm surrounded by prints on display that span 5 generations. They are a joy to look at and many are in excellent condition after 25, 50, 75, and even 100 years. They connect me to my family's past and give me a sense of my own place within my family tree. I value very old prints as do many others who care for family photos, and I strive to make prints that will be viewed and appreciated by my great grand children in much the same way. One of the tools I rely on is accelerated testing results to help me make more informed choices about which modern print processes to use, and to evaluate whether the processes I choose will age gracefully or not.  I do my best to share my information about print permanence with fellow photographers and printmakers. There are days where it seems to me like no good deed goes unpunished, but every now and then I know I've connected with someone who feels similarly about these matters as I do.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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