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Author Topic: Print Longevity testing at a crossroads  (Read 8476 times)
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2012, 07:50:59 AM »
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I second Mark Segal's points here.  As one who worked with you an a big submission of Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smoot samples, it would be good to have a little better estimate of the cost per unit paper in the testing process.  It may be that some users are in a better financial position to help out in this regard (don't take this as a promise Cheesy).  I know that I have made some conscious decisions about what paper to print on based on the published data.

Alan
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MHMG
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2012, 10:09:51 AM »
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... it would be good to have a little better estimate of the cost per unit paper in the testing process.
Alan

Assume that I continue to contribute my time supervising the testing program for free, but I hire one employee to carry out the day-to-day testing responsibilities. That staff member could comfortably (but busily) handle about 100 new samples per year while maintaining 300-400 others ongoing in test as they run out to as much as 200 megalux hour exposure levels.  At a modest skill level wage in Massachusetts, that employee is probably $40K per year. Then equipment depreciation, calibration, maintenance, and operating costs probably run another $10K per year. So, a bare-bones, no-frills light fade testing program is at the very least a $50K per year line item for a small company like AaI&A. $50K per 100 new tests per year works out to be $500 per sample. It's easy to see why other testing labs charge well over $1000 per sample for this type of expertise. Further engineering steps could be taken to raise the number of test samples manageable by one person. However, in the infinite scheme of things a $50K per year budget to provide this kind of comprehensive light fastness information to printmakers everywhere seemed like it was achievable just by "word-of-mouth" advertising. I was wrong about that.

best,
Mark
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 10:12:52 AM by MHMG » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2012, 10:24:41 AM »
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And then you need to be sure that volume would be sustained, or that the employee is paid on the basis of piece work rather than a salary, otherwise the break-even unit cost could be higher.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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MHMG
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2012, 11:15:50 AM »
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And then you need to be sure that volume would be sustained, or that the employee is paid on the basis of piece work rather than a salary, otherwise the break-even unit cost could be higher.

Yup, no matter how the sample volume is scaled up or down, print permanence testing is labor intensive which means cost per sample will always be a significant factor unless it remains strictly a volunteer effort. I did my best to tackle the information vacuum in the imaging industry re: lightfastness of modern media.  With other printmakers' help we did at least make a dent in that wall.

thank you all,

Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2012, 07:05:54 PM »
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It's not surprising that "word of mouth" hasn't gotten you very far.  Fundraisers know that you have to "do 'the ask'."  This is hard for many people.  You need to identify specifically who you want to give you money, and personally (in person, or by phone) tell them exactly how much you want them to give, and then actually ask for it.  As an example, after specifying how much you are looking for from them, you say something like, "Could I count on you for that?"  Then, as in negotiating, you STOP TALKING.  You enter the pregnant pause in which they must respond.  I understand Getty Images has just changed ownership.  How about asking them?  Although, if you haven't been taking this approach, I would suggest practicing on some smaller fry first.
     Your posts have sounded dejected, and you may be feeling actually depressed over all this, which is not very conducive to taking the initiatives and outreach that will be necessary to fund your efforts.  As to initiatives, I thought the suggestion by Enduser to adopt some kind of rating system had merit.  And doing "the ask" takes a lot of initiative, but is needed for the results you want.  Good luck.  --Barbara
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MHMG
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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2012, 10:08:28 PM »
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...And doing "the ask" takes a lot of initiative, but is needed for the results you want.  Good luck.  --Barbara

Good advice, thank you Barbara,

best,
Mark

P.S. AaI&A does provide a lightfastness rating. When a sample reaches its allowable light exposure limits for "little or no noticeable fading" then the rating is posted in the column called "Conservation Display Rating" in the AaI&A light fade testing results database. That said, the AaI&A conservation display rating (CDR) is not a "years of life" rating because rating products for "years of life" is just marketing hype, IMHO.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 09:35:38 AM by MHMG » Logged
BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2012, 08:13:27 PM »
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Mark, thanks for your addendum to your note.  I am interested in print longevity.  In fact, if anything lasts, I am convinced it will be prints, rather than the digital "files" ensconced on our personal electronic devices (iPads, computers, iPhones, etc.).  In this connection, about two weeks ago one of my sons told me he'd just completed a half-century ride on his bicycle, causing me to remember and pull out a photo of his great-grandfather, with his own bicycle, taken in a studio.  This great-grandfather, whom I never knew, did century or half-century rides between Washington, DC and Baltimore.  The photo was taken in 1896.  Who is going to be keeping our digital files intact for the next 116 years and more?  I also have a print of my grandmother, taken when she was 18 years old, with a note on the back in her handwriting that that was the day she met my grandfather, having his picture taken (with his bike and his biking group) the same day!
     I noticed in your bio information on your website that you spent a good part of your professional life in Washington, DC with the Smithsonian.  I spent my whole life in the DC area (DC, Arlington, and Chevy Chase) until moving out here to the Pacific Northwest. 
     So I do want to wish you the very best with your efforts.  I know in your first post you weren't looking for encouragement, but I think we all need some of it, especially when things aren't going easily.  So all the best, Barbara   
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2012, 11:16:47 PM »
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Good advice, thank you Barbara,

best,
Mark

P.S. AaI&A does provide a lightfastness rating. When a sample reaches its allowable light exposure limits for "little or no noticeable fading" then the rating is posted in the column called "Conservation Display Rating" in the AaI&A light fade testing results database. That said, the AaI&A conservation display rating (CDR) is not a "years of life" rating because rating products for "years of life" is just marketing hype, IMHO.

I suppose it may be "marketing hype", but understandable by average Joe photographer, something which is difficult to do looking at the data you currently provide.  If they are not your intended audience fine, if they are you might want to consider something far simpler and easy to use for comparisons.

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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2012, 01:30:56 AM »
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Barbara,

Your observations are wells stated and interesting, both on the fundraising part and the concept of what might survive longer, prints or files.

Prints have been around a long time now, and sadly very few survive.  We get concerned about "UV" and paper longevity, but the real cause of most images not lasting is disinterest. Truth be told most prints aren't valued enough to receive special treatment and without it they will be discarded, or ruined by storage in a place where they will get flooded, burned,

Some get wrapped up in the longevity of our work and worry about whether a paper/ink combo will last 200 years instead of 150 ... forgetting that the work will only last as long as there is someone around to see value in it.  Of course one can't generalize too much because there are different levels of importance ... an image of a person such as you describe may be treasured for many generations. Works of highly known and respected photographers may be regarded for some time in historical perspective as much as anything.  But only those images have a chance of surviving ... and even those are not exempt from disaster or future disinterest.

Whether digital version of those will survive longer ... who knows.  It hasn't been around long enough.  But I do know that I don't have a single snapshot of myself growing up (I assume somewhere there might still be some) but my kids all of digital versions of scanned photographs of themselves - every one my wife and I ever took (thousands).  And all three kids have them.  And they don't take up any space.  They watch them on their TV's and one of them has made little composites to give to their own kids.  But that means there are several copies of the digital files scattered around, all good enough to reproduce the original in various locations. Whether technology might make the obsolete I don't know, but it seems as long as there is any value at all someone will take the time to convert them.  Add cloud computing to the equation.

does that mean the are more survivable?  I don't know ... perhaps.  But again unless their children and their children's children actually value them, probably not, so in reality they probably are no more or no less likely to make the cut of time.

As far as what I do now and what this website is named after, landscape work, the importance of the longevity of my work is something I sort of came to grips with a while ago.  Some of my early work may be valued for some time ... I was a portrait and wedding photographer.  However, my landscape work may only be valued for a decade or two as it's placed on the wall for it's current beauty.  No disrespect to myself, just a realist.  That's why I don't get too wrapped up in all of the longevity tests ... I can't see any print not making it several decades, I'll be long gone and most likely the image will have served it's purpose and will also be long gone.

I suppose if a museum ever contacted me about a piece I would feel differently and then plunge into all the data to try and figure out exactly what I should do to insure an "archival" print.  But as was described earlier in this thread, most of us just feel like most current inks and papers are really quite good and will last a long time .... certainly things are much different than they were back when I started in all this (early 70's).
« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 01:37:56 AM by Wayne Fox » Logged

BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2012, 03:19:09 AM »
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Wayne, I enjoyed reading your post, and cannot help but agree with the points you made.  I also have contemplated the likely limited interest in my landscape photography when I am gone (may that be a while from now!).  My husband kindly suggests that the three kids may be interested in having some of it, but I'm not going to delude myself, and it doesn't matter anyway, as I'm doing it for myself.  I smiled when I saw your reference to cloud computing.  You may have noticed that my comment about digital files was with respect to personal devices.  My oldest son is quite involved with Amazon's cloud storage, certainly far more used by business than individuals, but quite impressive with the resources that can be brought to bear on issues of data security/integrity.  And congratulations to you on getting your family photo archives divvied up in multiple locations for the security that can mean.  I need to do the same.  --Barbara
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2012, 07:19:46 AM »
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Given the history of digital storage media over the past several decades, the longest lasting accessible media is still likely to be a print on paper, and the longer you think it should remain free of fading or discoloration, the more important the "data" on print "permanence". On a more subjective note, perhaps I am not alone in thinking that a "real photograph" is still a print on paper - even though digital files are no less "real"; I am well into putting my stuff on my website, appreciating good photographs on my calibrated and profiled display and sharing the family photos over the internet. What my kids do with our collection of prints after we're gone is their business. I don't even consider it useful to think much of that. They may find some of it worth having, they may think it disposable clutter, but that will be their call. I'm reasonably assured they will have the option, because I am being careful about my choices of paper and ink.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2012, 09:10:59 AM »
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Just joined and donated.
Now to try and understand the documentation
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MHMG
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« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2012, 11:40:41 AM »
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Just joined and donated.
Now to try and understand the documentation

Walt, thank you for joining the AaI&A digital print research program and for the very kind donation. I suggest getting started by downloading one of the test reports for Fuji Crystal Archive II paper (e.g., ID#75 in the database). Now cycle through the pages in Adobe reader and visually watch the "fading" taking place as the exposure dose increases. I believe that this test result sets the bar for any other printer/ink/media you may choose to compare to "traditional" silver gelatin color prints which are still available today, mainly from commercial color labs.

I suppose it may be "marketing hype", but understandable by average Joe photographer, something which is difficult to do looking at the data you currently provide.  If they are not your intended audience fine, if they are you might want to consider something far simpler and easy to use for comparisons.


Wayne, I appreciate this criticism, and I have heard it more than once, mainly on the dPreview printers and printing forum. I could quickly dumb the AaI&A conservation display rating down, and so can anyone else. Just take the Lower CDR limit (this data can be found in a column in the AaI&A database) and divide by 2. You now have a "prediction" based approximately on "Wilhelm Display years", in other words how long the print can tolerate being displayed if the light level is assumed to be 450 lux for 12 hours per day. For example, the AaI&A prediction for Fuji Crystal Archive II paper is then about 9 years, much lower than the 40+ years predicted by Wilhelm Imaging Research. The main difference between AaI&A and WIR is the testing criteria used to judge the "endpoint in test". Wilhelm Imaging allows up to 35% fading for some of the multiple criteria it uses to make the prediction. WIR's liberal criteria set which was derived during the consumer photo finishing era allows for "easily noticeable fading" at the predicted 40 year endpoint. AaI&A uses a more advanced colorimetric approach thats constrains the measurable fading to "little or no noticeable" fading which largely accounts for the more conservative  9 year prediction for Fuji Crystal Archive II. AaI&A's "Little or no noticeable fading" criterion assures that pretty much everyone will be happy with the visual appearance of the print at the 9 year mark if they display at and average 450 lux/12 hours per day. They very likely won't be able to perceive fading even though instrumentation can measure it.  WIR's 35% densitometric fade level failure criterion means everyone would notice the fading. Thus, some people may accept the print quality at 40 years, but others would be unhappy about any amount of "noticeable" print fade occurring possibly well before the predicted forty year mark.

Why do I challenge the industry's conventional wisdom about lightfastness ratings expressed as "years on display"?  Because the light intensity variability about the 450 lux assumption used to make the conversion from megalux hours exposure in testing to years on display has a three order of magnitude range in real world display conditions. Thus, for example, those Fuji crystal Archive prints could fade noticeably in just a year or two on display (like on display in a bright hotel lobby) while other prints will be placed in display conditions (as in an interior hallway lit only with low intensity incandescent lighting) that pretty much guarantee light fading is not going to cause the demise of the print.  Other things will but not light exposure in that environment.  A "years on display" rating is always subject to this kind of real world error, but a megalux hour rating holds true no matter what light level the print is displayed at in the real world. The biggest error in a megalux hour rating occurs from the differences in the spectral distribution of the the chosen light source(s) used to illuminate the print in test versus on display. If we include or exclude UV in the light fade testing condition, the rating could be off as much as a factor of 2-3, but that's a whole lot more precise than the 1000-fold error occurring when the industry assumes the real world lux level conditions on our behalf.

All that said, AaI&A does make things a little less intuitive by providing both a lower and upper exposure limit in its conservation display rating. Members will need to read some background documents on my site to understand why this makes sense. Nevertheless, I see obvious parallels with EPA fuel efficiency ratings. EPA fuel efficiency ratings are also expressed as a two-value city/highway range because a more simplified single score leads to less informative and potentially misleading results when two cars get the same upper, lower, or averaged score.  Similarly, the sun screen manufacturers use an SPF (sun protection factor) score to rate the effectiveness of sun screen lotions. They wisely avoided the trap that the photographic manufacturers fell into by trying to go one step further and give customers a "how long will it last" rating. It's a similar problem.

Neither the AaI&A rating nor the WIR rating comes close to marking the ultimate "end of life" of the print because even prints faded to a ghost-like faint image may still have some functional image information content value left. As such, if those who ask "how long will my print last" don't care to inquire a little more about the environmental and endpoint criteria assumptions being made by the expert answering the question, then I can confidently dumb this print permanence subject down even further. I can declare with good authority that any modern media, even highly fade prone litho inks printed on acid and lignin-filled newspaper stock, can last well over a century on display. All it takes is appropriate temperature, humidity, light, and air purity levels to assure this outcome which is exactly what museum specialists typically provide when exhibiting very delicate works of art.


I realize I'm beating this light fastness rating issue into the ground here, but I am surprised to hear opinions that so many photographers would have a problem learning to interpret megalux hour light fastness ratings. Any serious amateur or pro photographer needs to know about the reciprocity law (i.e., f stop and shutter speed relationships), some color theory (e.g., how to achieve gray balance and make other RGB color channel color corrections,etc), and so on. Hence, our craft requires some minimum amount of technical aptitude that I don't personally believe is exceeded by the term megalux hours of light fade resistance. It is after all just an extension of the reciprocity law which states that exposure = intensity x time.

I had promised to make only one final post after the thread had run its course. This may be that time. I also said it would be hard for me not to interject before that point, and it was Smiley.

best,
Mark
 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 12:18:51 PM by MHMG » Logged
davidkachel
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« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2012, 03:34:05 PM »
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The data you present will always appeal to only a very small audience in the form in which you present it.
Like it or not, most photographers are not technically inclined and are not going to go to the trouble required.
They want a simple A,B,C,D,E rating system and don't want to take the time to understand the technology required to delve further.
You know this kind of rating is meaningless, and I know it is meaningless, but think Consumer Reports! At the very least, you need to draw people in. The oversimplified rating approach will do that. Then follow the simple rating with a more detailed description that gets closer to the truth; not facts and charts but an actual description... "This paper/ink combination will do well under X lighting circumstances, lasting YYY to ZZZ years, but will crumble and blow away in two weeks if exposed to W for even a few minutes." Then, finally, offer the data you already offer.

Also, you need to think of what you are doing, as selling a product. It must be marketed. People must be "sold" on using your 'product'.
If they don't know they need something, they won't take an interest. And when they do take an interest, they don't want to be bored, overwhelmed or embarrassed. This brings us right back to A,B,C,D,E.

Also consider that you are in "competition" with Wilhelm. He provides a simplified rating of sorts, though a more disjointed web page I have never seen (sorry Henry). He is also widely respected. After all, he brought down the big yellow box Goliath, a tough act to follow. You cannot gain any ground by pointing out the defects in his method and touting your own because of his reputation. Therefore you have to present a plausible case why your simplified rating is more informative than his, and more readily digested. (This is where the written description mentioned above comes in.) Only then can you point out that you also offer more in-depth information. In short, creating an appealing and entertaining read.

But there is a bigger aspect I don't believe anyone has yet touched on.

The photography world has changed drastically since the advent of digital photography. It is as if everything learned and taught for 150+ years was simply discarded or lost. There was once a tradition that could almost be described as apprenticeship. New photographers learned from older photographers, studied the history of photography and did not make the same mistakes over and over again. Now it is as if new photographers intentionally refuse to learn anything from the past, rushing ahead in total ignorance. They are trying to make their photographs look like paintings (Stieglitz is rolling over in his grave), printing on canvas, dry mounting again, hell, they're even mounting photographs on planks of wood(!), they are printing so-called fine art on RC paper, ignoring image quality, using their phones for capture, and more to the point, acting as though they never even heard the word "archival". They are completely ignorant of the history and traditions of photography and even proud of it, so not only is your data impenetrable to them, it is UNDESIRABLE!

To put it simply, you are up against a massive wall of willful ignorance.

Add to this the fact that the big longevity problem of the past was always color, not B&W. Now, for the color photographer, inkjet prints have dramatically improved print longevity over silver-based color papers, and therefore photographers tend to ask the question "what problem?" (The voices of those of us who work in B&W have been drowned out by the cheers over color.)

To the current generation of photographers, photography never existed before them. There is no wisdom to be gained and no tradition to follow.

So the problem is first, causing them to feel they lack something, and then making them desire it. And now, we're right back to marketing!


« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 03:40:55 PM by davidkachel » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2012, 03:55:52 PM »
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Quote
The data you present will always appeal to only a very small audience in the form in which you present it.

I think this is very true. As a non-scientific type, but a lifetime photographer, I know for myself it took me along time to figure out the numbers. Even now if I don't visitt the site for 6 months, it takes me awhile to get back up to speed and figure out the system again.........I would love to have the results presented in a more easily consumable manner.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2012, 01:27:39 AM »
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As a photographer I'm interested to a point in things like this but I have no technical expertise in the area, and have far too much on my plate to invest a lot of time trying to understand it.  Thus I would hope anyone providing this data would understand that and provide the informaiton in a concise and easy to relate manner ... as it stands now I really don't have the time to try and absorb the information, or spend my time "dumbing" it down since I have no real clue how to dumb it down. I have to trust the source for that ...

I dont' need the data to have any correlation to other testing facilities ... but it should provide direct comparisons against itself and offer a simple explanation as to why it might contradict those other tests.  Then the challenge would be to validate in an extremely simple way what is wrong with those other methods. This seems to fall back to some industry standard that for various reasons has eluded this effort for a very long time.

So tell my that paper A can expect a 50% longer life than paper B before significant image fading and I can wrap my head around that.  But then let me know whether that's 100 years vs 200 or if its 9 vs. 18 based on some "typical" scenario.  Even tests based on home "incandescent" lighting maybe coming sort of irrelevant, as CFL's are getting more common place and now LED's.  I have no clue how much UV is in those light sources vs incandescent (and I should learn since I need to recommend to customers ways to protect the piece when they display it, probably LED lights are far better than CFLs, but maybe not as good as halogen)

I have hundreds of images printed over 30 years ago on Kodak paper that still look just fine ... some of them have been hanging on my wall for at least 20 years.  Now perhaps side by side with the original there might be obvious differences, but that really doesn't matter ... they still look good.  So perhaps some testing for this allow more degradation than you are comfortable with but perhaps in reality there can be more change over the course of a very long period of time that is allowable than you personally feel.

I realize the challenge is there are a myriad of image printing parameters as well as presentation situations - but what I would find useful is to let me know that if a museum calls then x paper with my printer will yield the most archival print I can probably make, where as if I'm selling a print to hang in a lawyers office which I doubt will hang there more than 10-15 years then perhaps another paper that offers a more compelling image but may not last as long as the museum choice would be a great paper.

Just rambling thoughts ...
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2012, 05:40:31 AM »
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But there is a bigger aspect I don't believe anyone has yet touched on.

The photography world has changed drastically since the advent of digital photography. It is as if everything learned and taught for 150+ years was simply discarded or lost. There was once a tradition that could almost be described as apprenticeship. New photographers learned from older photographers, studied the history of photography and did not make the same mistakes over and over again. Now it is as if new photographers intentionally refuse to learn anything from the past, rushing ahead in total ignorance. They are trying to make their photographs look like paintings (Stieglitz is rolling over in his grave), printing on canvas, dry mounting again, hell, they're even mounting photographs on planks of wood(!), they are printing so-called fine art on RC paper, ignoring image quality, using their phones for capture, and more to the point, acting as though they never even heard the word "archival". They are completely ignorant of the history and traditions of photography and even proud of it, so not only is your data impenetrable to them, it is UNDESIRABLE!

To put it simply, you are up against a massive wall of willful ignorance.

Add to this the fact that the big longevity problem of the past was always color, not B&W. Now, for the color photographer, inkjet prints have dramatically improved print longevity over silver-based color papers, and therefore photographers tend to ask the question "what problem?" (The voices of those of us who work in B&W have been drowned out by the cheers over color.)

To the current generation of photographers, photography never existed before them. There is no wisdom to be gained and no tradition to follow.

So the problem is first, causing them to feel they lack something, and then making them desire it. And now, we're right back to marketing!



Considering the development of analogue photo print papers, B&W and Color, I do not see that much positive influence on the "Archival" aspect in photographer's tradition over the last century. OBA use in papers including fiber qualities was accepted 50-60 years ago and used in praised papers like Brovira. I can not recall an analogue photo paper base specified as having rag or alpha cellulose, though I am sure the last was used in the better papers. Mediocre fade resistance properties in both color film and color paper were accepted. At a time that we did not have any other means like digital archives to store our images. Cibachrome was seen as the best possible and we know now that it was not that much better. The big companies actually dictated what was good and their product quality fluctuated in time for various reasons. Some alternative B&W "Archival" photographer's niches were concentrating their efforts on reducing bad development practices and improving an in itself already stable silver process with more exotic metals. In a few cases using papers from the graphic arts world that was much more concerned with the "Archivability" of their products. I think the attitude changed when Henry Wilhelm got involved after Kodak and Agfa made their worst products ever. That Fuji learned more from that episode than Kodak or Agfa shows that newcomers can do wonders to what is seen as a traditional industry. What followed was the digital revolution in photography and photo printing and Henry Wilhelm already there to guide the industry from their limited (traditional) dye chemistry to pigment inks. Mark followed that up with a better testing method and we still have to get other aspects of "Archival" tested like the bond of inkjet coatings, the quality of buffering etc. This development was not seriously undertaken by any party in the heyday of analogue photography; not by magazines, not by guilds, hardly by companies and not even by the people using alternative processes though their intentions were good. I think that next to what Henry Wilhelm  and others did for the fast improvements of fade resistance in inkjet media and so for photography, there is in this industry an amalgamate of users, photographers and people from the graphic arts and commercial printing industry with their tradition and knowledge of inks and paper that helped to improve inkjet's fade properties as they set some goals like what was possible in lithography and silkscreen printing. Art reproduction happened there before the digital era. Not to mention what the textile industry contributed to the knowledge on dyes and pigments in inkjet inks.

So where I see "Archival" becoming a familiar term in photography now, it is due to much more influences than traditions in photography.

Newcomers come and go and they can contribute or have to be educated. New and old technology will be mixed and we have to sort out what is usable. Clinging to traditional esthetics is a choice and should not be confused with good or bad properties of media. Odd paper textures, templates, photo edges, paper colors, image colors were seen over two centuries of photography, they come and go, like fashion. So with style. We can look back in nostalgia and recall the wonderful properties of papers like Portriga but that paper more or less disappeared from the market long before digital photography and inkjet printing became available. Happened with more papers like that. True there were environmental issues but my impression is also that the cry for better papers was not so widespread then that it caused a turnaround in the industry. The ease of paper processors, fast rinsing and drying and short periods in the darkroom was more widespread than we like to think. I am going to read again the map with 30 articles on photo papers and their development that I clipped from Popular Photography and other magazines in the 70's. Richness of a paper was in the first place a high black density and I see in a short check little reference to paper white reflectance or optical brighteners. An article on Barbara Morgan's print processing belonged to the few concerned about archival properties. I recall that I build my own print washer based on that article then. I was not really educated in photography and in my twenties then, switched to silkscreen printing soon after.

I live by Simone Signoret's "Nostalgia is not what it used to be" and can admire both Pulp Fiction and Le Quai des brumes. Time will sort out quality in all its aspects but it is good if we get a hint on what to expect of the carriers of that quality, that is what makes Mark's efforts important. New and old print makers will show an interest or not but it is not divided on their age or the times we live in.

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

340+ paper white spectral plots:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
update july 2012: Moab changes, paper sorting by name
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enduser
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« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2012, 07:52:38 AM »
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Perhaps if I suggest how we would like to use the ratings it might help and might show a way to monetise the work of Mark.

I would like to market my images with a card which might say, "THIS WORK IS RATED HIGHEST IN COLOR PERMANENCY BY AARDENBERG IMAGING, USA"

The ratings could be LOW, AVERAGE, HIGH, HIGHEST, or something like that, in other words a four or five scale, not because you and I need a dumbed down system, but because the customer does.

I would pay AaI&A for the right to use that text, and it might include a suitable AaI&A logo.

Those of us who sell to the actual public are often looking for ways to legitimize our work, have it taken seriously or give it a pedigree or something similar
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davidkachel
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« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2012, 09:29:01 AM »
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>>I would pay AaI&A for the right to use that text, and it might include a suitable AaI&A logo.


I would too.
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davidkachel
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« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2012, 09:34:10 AM »
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Ernst,

You missed my point. The "tradition" of the materials doesn't matter. I don't care about tradition for tradition's sake either.
My point was, photographers cared about print life. They cared about understanding how to get the best performance and the best longevity out of their materials. They cared about not trying to mimic painters. There is a great deal there that was very good that newer photographers ignore, not the least of which is what distinguishes the photograph as art from other media. Newer photographers don't have the slightest clue or they wouldn't be dry-mounting giant canvas prints on plywood.

Somewhere along the line the switch from analog to digital caused this disconnect. I'm not at all sure how.
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