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Author Topic: Monochrome print options - platinotype and gold-toned silver gelatin prints  (Read 4493 times)
shadowblade
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« on: June 21, 2013, 05:36:13 AM »
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I am having a number of photos printed in black-and-white for a Hindu temple, and am trying to choose between having them made as platinum prints or gold-toned silver gelatin prints (for a subtle cool black tone). Final size will be either 16x24" or 20x30", with a 1" border in each case (i.e. 18x26" or 22x32" total size) and the prints will be framed.

Obviously, the gold-toned print will have a semi-gloss finish, while the platinum print will be matte, but how do they otherwise compare, and which one would be better for these photos?

Archival qualities are an important concern here - the temple in question has been there for over five hundred years, and looks solid enough to be there for another five hundred. Dust and smoke from incense are another contaminant to deal with.

Platinum prints are very long-lasting, but platinum also catalyses the formation of sulfuric acid from atmospheric sulfur dioxide (unless sealed by a protective coating), leading to degradation of the paper base. On the other hand, unmounted silver gelatin prints are prone to rippling from humidity.

Would you mount the prints to aluminium or Dibond for extra physical durability and flatness (and to seal the back side of the prints), or hinge-mount them? Would you use protective spray, to protect from atmospheric contaminants?
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TylerB
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 12:32:05 PM »
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the choice between platinum and gold toned silver may come down to subjective determinations, they look very different and both are beautiful, done well. Amongst the concerns you mention, gelatin may also be subject to mold in certain environments. The more technical longevity concerns, humidity sensitivity, mounting methods and adhesives, etc etc seem to me to be too important for this project to leave to anecdotal input. If you have a budget able to support platinum or gold toned silver for an exhibition, I'd extend the budget to include some high level expertise. Someone like Mark at http://aardenburg-imaging.com/index.html may be available for independent consultancy, and would be highly recommended. Eventual loss of some of the work due to lack of knowledge may be the most expensive of all.
Tyler
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shadowblade
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 05:12:22 AM »
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the choice between platinum and gold toned silver may come down to subjective determinations, they look very different and both are beautiful, done well. Amongst the concerns you mention, gelatin may also be subject to mold in certain environments. The more technical longevity concerns, humidity sensitivity, mounting methods and adhesives, etc etc seem to me to be too important for this project to leave to anecdotal input. If you have a budget able to support platinum or gold toned silver for an exhibition, I'd extend the budget to include some high level expertise. Someone like Mark at http://aardenburg-imaging.com/index.html may be available for independent consultancy, and would be highly recommended. Eventual loss of some of the work due to lack of knowledge may be the most expensive of all.
Tyler

I guess the issue here isn't the durability of the image, but the durability of the substrate on which the image is printed. Gelatin, of course, is subject to mould and moisture, as well as delamination or yellowing. On the other hand, the platinum print process using iron oxalate requires an acidic environment, meaning that the alkaline buffer in the paper (if any) is washed out prior to printing. Once the print is made, it can be deacidified and the buffer restored using a calcium bicarbonate solution, but I don't know which printers would do this (there aren't that many platinum printers who take custom orders out there in the first place).
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deanwork
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 05:58:10 PM »
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Your probably going to spend about 5x more to have great platinum prints made IF you can find someone capable of doing them. But they have a subtle metallic soft quality that nothing else has.  As to longevity we are finding out now ( through Mark's hard work ) that the modern silver papers now on the market are showing a fairly rapid burn out of the dye based brighteners, which will darken the light areas over time. I've personally seen this with two vintage Ansel Adams prints from the 50s that a friend owns. These prints were on display but not ever blasted with light.  Also over time the gelatin will thin out and the unprotected silver will then tarnish. I've seen a lot of this from 19th century silver prints exposed to air.

I didn't know about this acidic aspect to the making of platinum prints effecting the substrate. I do know I have seen many platinum-palladium prints over a hundred years old that looked great. It is always hard to know if the paper had darkened or why it may have darkened with these vintage prints because we don't have the original state to compare to, ( same with vintage silver prints by the way ) but generally if the paper had darkened some with platinum it wouldn't be as noticeable as with a higher contrast gelatin silver print.

If you are not totally against the use of carbon inkjet pigments you may find that the contrast and the longevity of the Piezography K7 Carbon inks combine aspects of both, especially when printed on the newer Canson Rag Photographique papers that use pigments as whiteners. I'm not trying to sell you anything, but I'd be glad to do you a test since I'm running these inks on  a new 9890 Epson with these papers. You could consider printing them yourself or hiring someone to do that.  You have a better dmax than platinum and a lot better resolution, with a similar tonal subtlety, and the pigments will probably out last the cotton paper. If you want to see the fade tests go to the Aardenburg site. Several people have sent in samples that have been in test for a long time and really nothing is beating them. Those were done on Hah. Photorag and you will see the paper white very slightly darkening over the very long term but the pigments remaining solid as a rock.  He hasn't tested platinum though :-), but he has tested silver Ilford papers.

Really any of these three processes could be very beautiful and long lasting if they are made and stored correctly. Storage is in the end critical. It really comes down to a matter of personal taste about contrast, resolution, and print color.

Finally, I wouldn't dream of mounting these to dibond if you are thinking of any kind of ultimate longevity. Aluminum can leach sulphur chemicals over the long term even with a buffer of foamcor or rag board, and I STILL don't know of a perfect adhesive for this kind of mounting, ( if someone does please let me know!) apart from pva book binding glue and that would be brushed on and a real potential mess to mount prints flat.

If I were you and making this decision I would have one print of the same image made by three great print makers using different processes and choose the best to suit your taste.

John

deanimaging.com

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shadowblade
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 08:04:55 PM »
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Thanks for the info!

Your probably going to spend about 5x more to have great platinum prints made IF you can find someone capable of doing them.

There are a number of companies out there which do platinum prints and they seem to vary a lot in price. Unfortunately, price isn't necessarily an indicator of quality, and it's hard to know who does the best platinum prints possible...

Quote
But they have a subtle metallic soft quality that nothing else has.  As to longevity we are finding out now ( through Mark's hard work ) that the modern silver papers now on the market are showing a fairly rapid burn out of the dye based brighteners, which will darken the light areas over time. I've personally seen this with two vintage Ansel Adams prints from the 50s that a friend owns. These prints were on display but not ever blasted with light.  Also over time the gelatin will thin out and the unprotected silver will then tarnish. I've seen a lot of this from 19th century silver prints exposed to air.

I thought the Baryta-based silver gelatin papers were brightener-free and not subject to burnout. I'm not concerned about the silver tarnishing or migrating, since I'd be replacing the silver with gold and/or silver sulfide via the toning process, but the durability of the gelatin layer is obviously of concern.

Quote
I didn't know about this acidic aspect to the making of platinum prints effecting the substrate. I do know I have seen many platinum-palladium prints over a hundred years old that looked great. It is always hard to know if the paper had darkened or why it may have darkened with these vintage prints because we don't have the original state to compare to, ( same with vintage silver prints by the way ) but generally if the paper had darkened some with platinum it wouldn't be as noticeable as with a higher contrast gelatin silver print.

Have you seen the positive image which forms on a sheet of paper which has been in contact with a platinum print for a long period of time, e.g. in an album? http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRKnD3x7ZAhti7NnFMOrvk4WzH--r_9cX9ctsa1MQ3_C02fKcvQ

This is caused by the action of sulfuric acid, the formation of which from atmospheric sulfur dioxide is catalysed by platinum. Palladium and gold do not have the same catalyitic effect. Buffering the paper can also prevent this, but, as mentioned before, the platinum (or palladium) printing process requires an acidic environment.

Platinum printing uses ferric oxalate, which is soluble at an acidic pH, which is reduced to ferrous oxalate by UV light. This then reduces sodium or potassium chloroplatinate, or sodium chloropalladite, to metallic platinum or palladium. Once the print is made, you can deacidify the print and restore an alkaline buffer using magnesium or calcium bicarbonate (conservationists often deacidify prints and documents in this manner), but I'd have to find out if the printmaker can also do this.

Quote
If you are not totally against the use of carbon inkjet pigments you may find that the contrast and the longevity of the Piezography K7 Carbon inks combine aspects of both, especially when printed on the newer Canson Rag Photographique papers that use pigments as whiteners. I'm not trying to sell you anything, but I'd be glad to do you a test since I'm running these inks on  a new 9890 Epson with these papers. You could consider printing them yourself or hiring someone to do that.  You have a better dmax than platinum and a lot better resolution, with a similar tonal subtlety, and the pigments will probably out last the cotton paper. If you want to see the fade tests go to the Aardenburg site. Several people have sent in samples that have been in test for a long time and really nothing is beating them. Those were done on Hah. Photorag and you will see the paper white very slightly darkening over the very long term but the pigments remaining solid as a rock.  He hasn't tested platinum though :-), but he has tested silver Ilford papers.

The longevity of carbon pigments is well-known - after all, prehistoric charcoal rubbings on the walls of caves are still visible today, and carbon gelatin printing has been used to produce durable photos since the late 1800s. What concerns me is the longevity of the inkjet receptor layer in the face of UV and chemical attack.

Also, the K7 Sepia seems to have a lot more longevity than the other K7 inks tested - why do you think this is? According to the tests, it essentially doesn't fade, which is what I would expect from a carbon pigment. Are the others not carbon pigments? Also, what is the colour tone of the Sepia pigment? With platinotypes/palladiotypes, you can achieve anything from a slightly cool tone (pure platinum) to a subtle, warm sepia tone (pure palladium). Also, split toning should be possible by using the related argyrotype method, to deposit silver particles in the paper (instead of platinum as with platinotypes, or instead of silver particles in a gelatin layer) then toning it firstly with sepia (to form silver sulfide in the highlights) then gold toning to completion (to replace the rest of the silver with gold).

What sort of DMax are you achieving with the K7 inks on matte paper? You can re-coat and re-expose a platinum print multiple times ('multilayer' platinum prints) to increase the DMax - Irving Penn did this, and the people at DC Editions also seem to do this: http://www8.clikpic.com/platinumprinting/section444277.html. Waxing or varnishing the paper would also increase DMax, but I would have concerns about the longevity of such treatment.

Quote
Really any of these three processes could be very beautiful and long lasting if they are made and stored correctly. Storage is in the end critical. It really comes down to a matter of personal taste about contrast, resolution, and print color.

Storage is a major concern here! The prints won't be stored in a climate-controlled vault - they will be on the walls of a temple which is used daily, in an environment which can vary from very dry (during the dry season) to very humid (during the monsoon) and which cannot ever be called cold or cool!

Quote
Finally, I wouldn't dream of mounting these to dibond if you are thinking of any kind of ultimate longevity. Aluminum can leach sulphur chemicals over the long term even with a buffer of foamcor or rag board, and I STILL don't know of a perfect adhesive for this kind of mounting, ( if someone does please let me know!) apart from pva book binding glue and that would be brushed on and a real potential mess to mount prints flat.

If I were you and making this decision I would have one print of the same image made by three great print makers using different processes and choose the best to suit your taste.

A pity, because mounting is so good for a print's physical (as opposed to chemical or light) durability, as well as keeping it flat... Perhaps it would be possible to form a platinum print on a sheet of anodised aluminium or titanium, using the oxide layer as a substrate instead of paper?
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shadowblade
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 08:14:03 PM »
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Incidentally, the two temples shown are Tungnath (the highest Hindu temple in the world, in the Garhwal Himalaya) and Rameshwaram (the traditional, but not geographical, southern tip of India, and the longest corridors anywhere in the world).
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deanwork
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 08:53:56 PM »
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There are a number of companies out there which do platinum prints and they seem to vary a lot in price. Unfortunately, price isn't necessarily an indicator of quality, and it's hard to know who does the best platinum prints possible..



Gosh you just have to go by reputation. Something like the Irving Penn exhibitions would cost a fortune to replicate, but I guess doing multiple registered exposures to increase dmax could be possible as long as you aren't going 20x24 like Penn did. If you did that I hope you have substantial budget. I could outfit a studio with what that would cost.



I thought the Baryta-based silver gelatin papers were brightener-free and not subject to burnout. I'm not concerned about the silver tarnishing or migrating, since I'd be replacing the silver with gold and/or silver sulfide via the toning process, but the durability of the gelatin layer is obviously of concern.



Some of them are for inkjet like the Hahnemuhle Photorag Pearl and Canson Platine are free of oba content. Many are not. That's right your using gold which wouldn't tarnish even if the gelatin thins out. It will warm your results substantially though. It is hard to know how MUCH toning is needed to "replace" the silver emulstion with gold, probably a lot, meaning pretty significant color change. I know Ansel Adams though his weak dilution of selenium would "replace" the silver but turns out it didn't come close. RIT did a big study of that situation. It's worth looking into how MUCH gold toning is needed to make a "gold metal" print.


Have you seen the positive image which forms on a sheet of paper which has been in contact with a platinum print for a long period of time, e.g. in an album? http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRKnD3x7ZAhti7NnFMOrvk4WzH--r_9cX9ctsa1MQ3_C02fKcvQ


This is caused by the action of sulfuric acid, the formation of which from atmospheric sulfur dioxide is catalysed by platinum. Palladium and gold do not have the same catalyitic effect. Buffering the paper can also pr
event this, but, as mentioned before, the platinum (or palladium) printing process requires an acidic environment.


Yes I have, especially in the Steiglitz produced Camera Work original publications, it is all over the place,  your right, but it never occurred to me why that ghosting happened.


Platinum printing uses ferric oxalate, which is soluble at an acidic pH, which is reduced to ferrous oxalate by UV light. This then reduces sodium or potassium chloroplatinate, or sodium chloropalladite, to metallic platinum or palladium. Once the print is made, you can deacidify the print and restore an alkaline buffer using magnesium or calcium bicarbonate (conservationists often deacidify prints and documents in this manner), but I'd have to find out if the printmaker can also do this.

That's really interesting. I've never head of anyone "deacidifying a platinum print....

The longevity of carbon pigments is well-known - after all, prehistoric charcoal rubbings on the walls of caves are still visible today, and carbon gelatin printing has been used to produce durable photos since the late 1800s. What concerns me is the longevity of the inkjet receptor layer in the face of UV and chemical attack.

Well, there is Carbon and then there is Carbon. There is a lot of talk about carbon this and carbon that but very few inksets are all carbon. The K7 Carbon Sepia appears to be, or damn close to it. From everything I've read, when you grind pure carbon to the tiny particles needed to fit through an inkjet printer head, and at 2880 dpi at that, you end up with warm. All of the manufactures of premium inks, HP, Epson, Canon use "carbon based" black and grey inks. That is why all of their test results look so good. But with all of them you are blending color hues to neutralize the inks if you don't desire a warm print. In the case of HP their gray inks and designed to match the fade characteristics of their extremely stable color pigments. The hue of the K7 carbon sepia inks are quite warm and this warmth varies with different papers, such as less reddish with the Crane Portfolio Rag, etc, but I personally think having some "hue" to the k7 set makes it even more substantial and dimensional. That's just my taste. I like more warm than say warm-neutral. With a cooling of magenta from the oem inks the magenta layer is going to be the first to go, ( pushing the print toward green ) so the less you "cool" the print generally the better off you are for the long term.


Also, the K7 Sepia seems to have a lot more longevity than the other K7 inks tested - why do you think this is? According to the tests, it essentially doesn't fade, which is what I would expect from a carbon pigment. Are the others not carbon pigments?

None of the others are pure carbon pigments in MY option. I've head people say the neutal set is carbon but if that is so then why is it shifting toward green at a fairly quick rate. I've never gotten to the bottom of that. The K7 "warm neutral" set is also testing  really well, but not as well as the carbon sepia, you can already see some little change going on. I wish someone had coated them with one of the UV coatings before submitting, same with the neutrals. I submitted neutral samples in the very beginning but I didn't have the sense to spay one of the samples first with the uv coat. We'll probably never know. The coating didn't help the selenium that much.... I do know that.


 Also, what is the colour tone of the Sepia pigment? With platinotypes/palladiotypes, you can achieve anything from a slightly cool tone (pure platinum) to a subtle, warm sepia tone (pure palladium). Also, split toning should be possible by using the related argyrotype method, to deposit silver particles in the paper (instead of platinum as with platinotypes, or instead of silver particles in a gelatin layer) then toning it firstly with sepia (to form silver sulfide in the highlights) then gold toning to completion (to replace the rest of the silver with gold).


Depending on the paper used, the K7 carbon is like a 50-50 mix of platinum with palladium. Somewhere in that zone. I'm not aware of any fade tests of this kind of mix between gold and "sulfide sepa" toners.

What sort of DMax are you achieving with the K7 inks on matte paper? You can re-coat and re-expose a platinum print multiple times ('multilayer' platinum prints) to increase the DMax - Irving Penn did this, and the people at DC Editions also seem to do this: http://www8.clikpic.com/platinumprinting/section444277.html. Waxing or varnishing the paper would also increase DMax, but I would have concerns about the longevity of such treatment.

My dmax with the K7 carbon on the 9890 on Canson Rag Photographique is 1.66 to 1.67, less on the Crane paper,but beautiful none the less. About the same as my Canon 8300 but less than my HpZ that comes in at 1.8 something.
Storage is a major concern here! The prints won't be stored in a climate-controlled vault - they will be on the walls of a temple which is used daily, in an environment which can vary from very dry (during the dry season) to very humid (during the monsoon) and which cannot ever be called cold or cool!

A pity, because mounting is so good for a print's physical (as opposed to chemical or light) durability, as well as keeping it flat... Perhaps it would be possible to form a platinum print on a sheet of anodised aluminium or titanium, using the oxide layer as a substrate instead of paper?


This is my big issue now. I want to mount my large 40x60 K7 prints to dibond also because when framed they look spectacular and 3 dimensional, but I no idea what adhesives to use and believe me I've looked and asked around for awhile... I call and ask Laumount in NY what they use and they won't return my calls.

John



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shadowblade
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 09:28:37 PM »
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Gosh you just have to go by reputation. Something like the Irving Penn exhibitions would cost a fortune to replicate, but I guess doing multiple registered exposures to increase dmax could be possible as long as you aren't going 20x24 like Penn did. If you did that I hope you have substantial budget. I could outfit a studio with what that would cost.

I'd be looking at print area (not paper size) of 16x24" or 20x30". So, yes, that would be expensive. Platinum Editions charges $980 for a 20x24" print and $1420 for a 24x30" print, and that's for a single layer. This seems to be around the ballpark price.


Quote
Some of them are for inkjet like the Hahnemuhle Photorag Pearl and Canson Platine are free of oba content. Many are not. That's right your using gold which wouldn't tarnish even if the gelatin thins out. It will warm your results substantially though. It is hard to know how MUCH toning is needed to "replace" the silver emulstion with gold, probably a lot, meaning pretty significant color change. I know Ansel Adams though his weak dilution of selenium would "replace" the silver but turns out it didn't come close. RIT did a big study of that situation. It's worth looking into how MUCH gold toning is needed to make a "gold metal" print.

It doesn't actually take all that much - when the print is removed from the toner, only some of the gold in the toner is used up anyway. There isn't much of a colour shift when toning cool papers, either - most of the shift towards blue is when warm papers are used. And you can get a warmer effect by combining gold with sepia - silver sulfides are just as durable as gold.

The problem, of course, is that the image is in the gelatin, so loss of gelatin means loss of image, regardless of whether the gold tarnishes or not. I hope they come up with a more durable binder than gelatin, and a better substrate than paper, sometime soon - it doesn't feel good printing on a medium that many insects and microorganisms view as food!



Quote
That's really interesting. I've never head of anyone "deacidifying a platinum print....

It's not specific to platinum prints. It's part of the archival process for historical documents and other papers. For all intents and purposes, a platinum print can be treated like an ordinary sheet of paper, since the platinum won't react with anything anyway.
Quote
Well, there is Carbon and then there is Carbon. There is a lot of talk about carbon this and carbon that but very few inksets are all carbon. The K7 Carbon Sepia appears to be, or damn close to it. From everything I've read, when you grind pure carbon to the tiny particles needed to fit through an inkjet printer head, and at 2880 dpi at that, you end up with warm. All of the manufactures of premium inks, HP, Epson, Canon use "carbon based" black and grey inks. That is why all of their test results look so good. But with all of them you are blending color hues to neutralize the inks if you don't desire a warm print. In the case of HP their gray inks and designed to match the fade characteristics of their extremely stable color pigments. The hue of the K7 carbon sepia inks are quite warm and this warmth varies with different papers, such as less reddish with the Crane Portfolio Rag, etc, but I personally think having some "hue" to the k7 set makes it even more substantial and dimensional. That's just my taste. I like more warm than say warm-neutral. With a cooling of magenta from the oem inks the magenta layer is going to be the first to go, ( pushing the print toward green ) so the less you "cool" the print generally the better off you are for the long term.


Also, the K7 Sepia seems to have a lot more longevity than the other K7 inks tested - why do you think this is? According to the tests, it essentially doesn't fade, which is what I would expect from a carbon pigment. Are the others not carbon pigments?

None of the others are pure carbon pigments in MY option. I've head people say the neutal set is carbon but if that is so then why is it shifting toward green at a fairly quick rate. I've never gotten to the bottom of that. The K7 "warm neutral" set is also testing  really well, but not as well as the carbon sepia, you can already see some little change going on. I wish someone had coated them with one of the UV coatings before submitting, same with the neutrals. I submitted neutral samples in the very beginning but I didn't have the sense to spay one of the samples first with the uv coat. We'll probably never know. The coating didn't help the selenium that much.... I do know that.

Is it pure carbon particles, suspended in a solvent, or carbon nanoparticles coated with a polymer or other layer, then suspended in a solvent, like many pigment inks are? Because many polymer coatings are subject to UV photodegradation...

Quote
This is my big issue now. I want to mount my large 40x60 K7 prints to dibond also because when framed they look spectacular and 3 dimensional, but I no idea what adhesives to use and believe me I've looked and asked around for awhile... I call and ask Laumount in NY what they use and they won't return my calls.

I believe there is a Japanese paste made using rice flour that is reversible, and used for some archival mounting.

Also, the production of multilayer platinum prints involves temporarily mounting the paper on aluminium, in order to facilitate alignment. I'm not sure how durable this temporary mount is, though, or if it would even be suitable for display for any length of time.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2013, 06:27:42 AM »
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Well, there is Carbon and then there is Carbon. There is a lot of talk about carbon this and carbon that but very few inksets are all carbon. The K7 Carbon Sepia appears to be, or damn close to it. From everything I've read, when you grind pure carbon to the tiny particles needed to fit through an inkjet printer head, and at 2880 dpi at that, you end up with warm. All of the manufactures of premium inks, HP, Epson, Canon use "carbon based" black and grey inks. That is why all of their test results look so good. But with all of them you are blending color hues to neutralize the inks if you don't desire a warm print. In the case of HP their gray inks and designed to match the fade characteristics of their extremely stable color pigments. The hue of the K7 carbon sepia inks are quite warm and this warmth varies with different papers, such as less reddish with the Crane Portfolio Rag, etc, but I personally think having some "hue" to the k7 set makes it even more substantial and dimensional. That's just my taste. I like more warm than say warm-neutral. With a cooling of magenta from the oem inks the magenta layer is going to be the first to go, ( pushing the print toward green ) so the less you "cool" the print generally the better off you are for the long term.

Anyway, I'd say that, in ten years' time, we'll have colour inkjet pigments that match platinum for longevity. After all, there are plenty of inorganic pigments out there which aren't photosensitive at all, and some have lasted thousands, if not millions, of years in the natural environment. We see them in rocks and minerals all around us. Also, the pigments used in colour carbon/carbro prints are extremely durable - probably more so than the gelatin layer in which they are suspended. The challenge over the centuries has always been in getting them into suspension form for use in inks and paints, without them dissolving into solution or being destroyed through chemical reactions. Nanotechnology solves this - all you need is a chemically-inert coating over the particles. I believe this is what inkjet companies are doing with their newer pigments, although some are clearly still photosensitive - the brightest and most colourful pigments, good for high-impact commercial printing, aren't necessarily the most light-stable. More likely than not, it will come in a custom inkset like the K7 inks, designed for ultimate longevity rather than the widest-possible gamut.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 06:29:55 AM by shadowblade » Logged
shadowblade
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 07:22:49 AM »
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If you are not totally against the use of carbon inkjet pigments you may find that the contrast and the longevity of the Piezography K7 Carbon inks combine aspects of both, especially when printed on the newer Canson Rag Photographique papers that use pigments as whiteners. I'm not trying to sell you anything, but I'd be glad to do you a test since I'm running these inks on  a new 9890 Epson with these papers. You could consider printing them yourself or hiring someone to do that.  You have a better dmax than platinum and a lot better resolution, with a similar tonal subtlety, and the pigments will probably out last the cotton paper. If you want to see the fade tests go to the Aardenburg site. Several people have sent in samples that have been in test for a long time and really nothing is beating them. Those were done on Hah. Photorag and you will see the paper white very slightly darkening over the very long term but the pigments remaining solid as a rock.  He hasn't tested platinum though :-), but he has tested silver Ilford papers.

By the way, you mightn't have been trying to sell me anything, but you may have done so anyway. I had a look at your website - the services look interesting, both for colour and B&W. It's not often that you find a photo printmaker using the durable HP inks - most seem to use Epson, with some using Canon. Check your inbox in the next few days - I'll PM you with some questions.

Do you coat/spray your inkjet prints in any way? After all, pigments may be chemically stable, but matte papers are somewhat fragile physically.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 07:41:06 AM by shadowblade » Logged
shadowblade
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2013, 09:40:17 AM »
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This is my big issue now. I want to mount my large 40x60 K7 prints to dibond also because when framed they look spectacular and 3 dimensional, but I no idea what adhesives to use and believe me I've looked and asked around for awhile... I call and ask Laumount in NY what they use and they won't return my calls.


From a photo conservator: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Archival/Cons/cons.html

Apparently, thermoplastic adhesives coated on both sides of a paper interlayer are fine.

Also, from a long-term stability point of view, anodised aluminium or anodised titanium sheet could be even better than Dibond, being less likely to react with atmospheric contaminants than the aluminium coating on Dibond.
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deanwork
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2013, 10:19:07 AM »
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I want to learn as much as I can about mounting on aluminum when the highest standards of longevity is needed. Yes, dry mounting I have been told is the best.

What I am considering with my work is to dry mount the 40x60 K7 prints on some kind of thick rag surface ( I think foamcor is not the ideal substrate for that ) and then having that mounted to aluminum. If you really want to be anal about it maybe mount the dry mounted to rag print on the aluminum with PVA glue. That could be the ideal solution. I'm going to try it. We have a place here in Atlanta that can do very large dry mounting.

I never knew that regular aluminum is safer than dibond. I want to find a source for learning more about this.

I may be biased but I'm thinking your work would look the best on the K7 carbon and longevity would be a sure thing.

About 6 months ago I printed an exhibition of photographs from Machu Picchu shot on 4x5 with the best lenses and drum scanned by me on the Aztek Premier scanner and printed to the K7. It was just about as perfect a medium for that work as imaginable ( in my opinion ). The client , Robert West, was extremely pleased. I also did a number of prints for people who shot medium format in Cambodia of some of these amazing stone sculptures and the looked fantastic as well, so dimensional.

I think there are a lot of people, probably the majority that still have a distaste for warm photographs. I think a lot of that prejudice is a hold over from the days when warm gelatin silver prints, if not done correctly with appropriate paper, developer, and toner selection, had an awful greenish-brown cast and turned a lot of people off. Of course warm carbon is not for everything, but for a lot of great work it should be honestly considered especially from high-resolution files.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2013, 11:04:49 AM »
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I want to learn as much as I can about mounting on aluminum when the highest standards of longevity is needed. Yes, dry mounting I have been told is the best.

What I am considering with my work is to dry mount the 40x60 K7 prints on some kind of thick rag surface ( I think foamcor is not the ideal substrate for that ) and then having that mounted to aluminum. If you really want to be anal about it maybe mount the dry mounted to rag print on the aluminum with PVA glue. That could be the ideal solution. I'm going to try it. We have a place here in Atlanta that can do very large dry mounting.

What about using wheat paste or rice paste? Or even gelatin? I'm not sure how well these removable adhesives adhere to aluminium, but, even if they don't, you can always drymount a buffered, flat archival paper to the aluminium surface first, then mount the print to the paper using wheat paste or gelatin. Or you could mount directly to buffered mount board.

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I never knew that regular aluminum is safer than dibond. I want to find a source for learning more about this.

Not regular aluminium - after all, Dibond is coated with regular aluminium. Anodised aluminium is coated with a thick coating of aluminium oxide, while anodised titanium is coated with a thick coating of titanium dioxide, both of which provide an impervious and self-regenerating barrier against oxidation by atmospheric pollutants. After all, it's these oxidation products - metallic salts - which have the potential to stain a paper print.

It's not a regular substrate material, so it's not talked about much.

Porcelain would also be a fantastic, stable and smooth substrate, provided you could protect it from shattering (i.e. with sufficient thickness).

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I think there are a lot of people, probably the majority that still have a distaste for warm photographs. I think a lot of that prejudice is a hold over from the days when warm gelatin silver prints, if not done correctly with appropriate paper, developer, and toner selection, had an awful greenish-brown cast and turned a lot of people off. Of course warm carbon is not for everything, but for a lot of great work it should be honestly considered especially from high-resolution files.

I don't think it's the warmth itself that turn people off - just the low DMax and lack of contrast associated with faded prints, most of which tend to fade towards a warm yellow tone! Properly done, sepia prints look great, as do the selenium warm tones. Personally, I think triple-toned silver prints (sepia highlights, gold midtones and selenium shadows) look fantastic. Some examples here, by Tim Rudman: http://www.timrudman.com/toning-processes/selenium-gold-sepia/1

Do you know whether Cone (or anyone else) are planning to develop a truly archival colour pigment inkset? It seems that many of the current efforts are aimed more at increasing gamut than increasing lifespan - there are plenty of inorganic pigments out there which are completely lightfast and chemically stable. Some of these are toxic (so are lead fishing sinkers or diving weights), but you're not supposed to lick a gallery photo! For now, I'm also looking at carbon prints for one-off prints made for galleries - these will likely last as long as the substrate, which could be a long time if the substrate is an anodised titanium sheet coated in white-pigmented, hardened gelatin!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 11:09:58 AM by shadowblade » Logged
deanwork
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2013, 12:27:35 PM »
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Most of those split toned prints you sent the link to look really green to me and some of them are hard to tell from a poorly set up cross blended rgb inkjet print. But to each his own and I hate trying to evaluate something like this from a website, its almost impossible.

The master of the silver gold toned split print to me is Emmet Gowin. If seen a lot of his exhibitions going back to the 70s and talked to him a few times over the years. Scroll down to the middle of this link for a good example of Petra and just above that a sample from Changing the Earth, both using the gold chloride tone split. Of course looking at this work on the web is a joke. The Petra book is a perfect example of this kind of work and they did an excellent job with that book. He does have a blue-greenish shadow area contrasted with warm yellowish highlights. But for me it just works. If I try to emulate that in inkjet it just doesn't work.  You can't see anything like this on a website that even comes close to what the real prints look like.

 http://www.metalocus.es/content/en/blog/discovering-emmet-gowin

 Linda Connor his old classmate from Callahan's program in the 60s,  and others have used similar techniques for at least 30 years now.

Of all the digital printers I know the best by far at working with split-toned inkjet prints is Tyler Boley in Seattle. I just visited him a couple of weeks ago and some of the Piezography split work he is doing out of Studio print is more consistently great, more dimensional, and more refined than anything I've seen out there. His website is www.custom-digital.com. He is the least appreciated inkjet printer in the country. If he was in NY he would be making a lot more money and be a lot better known.

My feeling about split tone inkjet prints ( and I've played around with them via studio print and qtr, is that you should develop a particular ink combination for a particular body of work. Some blends work great with one kind of image situation and look horrible with another. That is a lot of what Tyler does, create a particular split environment in studio print for a specific portfolio or exhibition. He has worked like crazy to set this all up and have it repeatable.  He also has a printer that he does custom mixes of the ink hues themselves for special projects. But that would cost you, sort of one of a kind ink formulation for a project. Plenty of people have experimented with similar sp set ups but he is the best ( other than possibly Jon Cone ).

The HP color inks are so stable that I can't imagine making more permanent color prints in an inkjet printer. They have to be ground so such tiny particles and then encapsulated with the uv layer while keeping an acceptable gamut for photo work. Who knows though. Before the Vivera inks came out I didn't expect these to be possible. Too bad Hp is so uncommitted to the fine art market. I can never figure them out. They have hired brilliant engineers that come up with brilliant products that the corporate establishment doesn't even appreciate or understand. I think many of the people who developed the Z system don't even work for the company anymore. But you know there was a big economic recession right after the Z came out so maybe they will refocus on this market with new products in the future. Maybe...

john



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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 01:24:03 PM »
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Not regular aluminium - after all, Dibond is coated with regular aluminium. Anodised aluminium is coated with a thick coating of aluminium oxide, while anodised titanium is coated with a thick coating of titanium dioxide, both of which provide an impervious and self-regenerating barrier against oxidation by atmospheric pollutants. After all, it's these oxidation products - metallic salts - which have the potential to stain a paper print.


DiBond is a kind of lamination of thin, hard aluminium (mix with Magnesium) to hot extruded polyethylene, the polyethylene makes the bond itself, think napalm. Alucobond was the forerunner of DiBond and used a thicker, softer aluminium, more pure, to a thicker polyethylene core.  It was available unanodised, anodised, anodised colored and with polyester (PET like) top coatings in white and more colors. The oxides on top are sealed, not comparable to "natural" oxidised aluminium surfaces you describe. To get a thinner sandwich with similar rigidity they had to go for a harder quality aluminium so DiBond was created.

http://electrochem.cwru.edu/encycl/art-a02-anodizing.htm

There are PDFs on the web describing the different surfaces of DiBond.

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http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.



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deanwork
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« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2013, 04:59:28 PM »
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Ernst,

Do you know anything about sulfur or other staining compounds leaching out of dibond and other aluminum sheets over time?

I know the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has generally mounted his huge gelatin silver prints to aluminum. Somewhere online I read an interview with him where he talks about how he found out that these chemicals were going to effect his prints over time so he started doing a double mounting process, mounting to rag board first and then to the aluminum. Other than him, I don't know of any other high profile artist who has even bothered to concern themselves with the long term effects of mounting on aluminum. Everybody is doing it is usually the response, which although correct doesn't tell you anything.

 I love the effect of mounting on this stuff and framing in a shadow box frame but I'm still researching the aluminum outgass situation. Like we discussed before, the adhesives are as much of a concern as the aluminum or more so. Thus the idea of using dry mount tissue to a rag board and then that to aluminum. But I still don't know if that is enough to protect a carbon print on rag media or not. I don't know anybody that does know.

john
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shadowblade
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2013, 05:09:44 PM »
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Most of those split toned prints you sent the link to look really green to me and some of them are hard to tell from a poorly set up cross blended rgb inkjet print. But to each his own and I hate trying to evaluate something like this from a website, its almost impossible.

To me, they look like they have orange-pink, peach-toned highlights (from the sepia and gold) and purplish-blue shadows. But, as you said, it's hard to tell online, and we don't know what profiling or colour corrections they have used for the website - for all we know, the prints could be bright aqua...

Quote
Of all the digital printers I know the best by far at working with split-toned inkjet prints is Tyler Boley in Seattle. I just visited him a couple of weeks ago and some of the Piezography split work he is doing out of Studio print is more consistently great, more dimensional, and more refined than anything I've seen out there. His website is www.custom-digital.com. He is the least appreciated inkjet printer in the country. If he was in NY he would be making a lot more money and be a lot better known.

My feeling about split tone inkjet prints ( and I've played around with them via studio print and qtr, is that you should develop a particular ink combination for a particular body of work. Some blends work great with one kind of image situation and look horrible with another. That is a lot of what Tyler does, create a particular split environment in studio print for a specific portfolio or exhibition. He has worked like crazy to set this all up and have it repeatable.  He also has a printer that he does custom mixes of the ink hues themselves for special projects. But that would cost you, sort of one of a kind ink formulation for a project. Plenty of people have experimented with similar sp set ups but he is the best ( other than possibly Jon Cone ).[/quote]

That's the thing about inkjet printing, I guess - custom toning for one-off prints or small runs is much harder than with chemical printing.

Quote
The HP color inks are so stable that I can't imagine making more permanent color prints in an inkjet printer. They have to be ground so such tiny particles and then encapsulated with the uv layer while keeping an acceptable gamut for photo work. Who knows though. Before the Vivera inks came out I didn't expect these to be possible.

Gamut-wise, the obvious answer would be to increase the number of particles - a bit like how increasing the amount of pigment in a carbon print increases the gamut and DMax. But this would have its own problems in terms of ink flow and nozzle coating. I'd say that much more permanent prints are still possible, though - after all, we have charcoal and ochre paintings, as well as Roman frescoes and Egyptian paintings, which have survived thousands of years, through sun, floodwaters and volcanic ash.

3D printers could be the answer, though - by laying down dense layers of pigment, encapsulated in plastic, gelatin or some other substrate, one could produce a digital-age equivalent of a multilayer carbon or gum dichromate print for a truly long-lasting work.

Quote
Too bad Hp is so uncommitted to the fine art market. I can never figure them out. They have hired brilliant engineers that come up with brilliant products that the corporate establishment doesn't even appreciate or understand. I think many of the people who developed the Z system don't even work for the company anymore. But you know there was a big economic recession right after the Z came out so maybe they will refocus on this market with new products in the future. Maybe...

A bit like Canon, I guess...
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shadowblade
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2013, 05:31:58 PM »
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Ernst,

Do you know anything about sulfur or other staining compounds leaching out of dibond and other aluminum sheets over time?

I know the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has generally mounted his huge gelatin silver prints to aluminum. Somewhere online I read an interview with him where he talks about how he found out that these chemicals were going to effect his prints over time so he started doing a double mounting process, mounting to rag board first and then to the aluminum. Other than him, I don't know of any other high profile artist who has even bothered to concern themselves with the long term effects of mounting on aluminum. Everybody is doing it is usually the response, which although correct doesn't tell you anything.

Anodised aluminium shouldn't leach, because it already has a thick oxide layer and is chemically inert. Even non-anodised aluminium should be stable, because, on contact with atmospheric oxygen, freshly-cut aluminium metal quickly develops an impervious oxide layer. Non-anodised aluminium can develop pitting if it comes into prolonged contact with dissolved salts, e.g. sweat or seawater, but that shouldn't be something that often happens to photos.

Under the right (or wrong?) conditions, aluminium oxide can catalyse the formation of sulfur and water from hydrogen sulfide gas and oxygen; theoretically, the sulfur can then oxidise to sulfur dioxide, dissolving in the water to form sulfuric acid. Again, though, this isn't the sort of thing that happens outside an industrial catalytic converter.

Quote
I love the effect of mounting on this stuff and framing in a shadow box frame but I'm still researching the aluminum outgass situation. Like we discussed before, the adhesives are as much of a concern as the aluminum or more so. Thus the idea of using dry mount tissue to a rag board and then that to aluminum. But I still don't know if that is enough to protect a carbon print on rag media or not. I don't know anybody that does know.

Ordinary adhesives could pose an outgassing or dehiscence problem, but heat-activated adhesives are essentially non-reactive thermoplastics which melt slightly when heat is applied, and hold the two surfaces together when they re-solidify. So it should be more than safe to mount a thick layer of paper to aluminium using it, then using wheat or rice paste to mount the print onto the paper backing. After all, even if the paper backing breaks down, you can then remove the print from the backing (since the wheat or rice paste is removable) and replace it.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2013, 02:56:28 AM »
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I know the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has generally mounted his huge gelatin silver prints to aluminum. Somewhere online I read an interview with him where he talks about how he found out that these chemicals were going to effect his prints over time so he started doing a double mounting process, mounting to rag board first and then to the aluminum. Other than him, I don't know of any other high profile artist who has even bothered to concern themselves with the long term effects of mounting on aluminum. Everybody is doing it is usually the response, which although correct doesn't tell you anything.

 I love the effect of mounting on this stuff and framing in a shadow box frame but I'm still researching the aluminum outgass situation. Like we discussed before, the adhesives are as much of a concern as the aluminum or more so. Thus the idea of using dry mount tissue to a rag board and then that to aluminum. But I still don't know if that is enough to protect a carbon print on rag media or not. I don't know anybody that does know.

john

He probably wants a buffer of calcium carbonate that will be in the rag board and could neutralize acids etc in the air. Good inkjet papers will have a buffer though. The rag board might also dampen differences in expansion of the aluminium and the print. Nothing has been tested of either combination. My gut feeling is that DiBond with a sealed surface is more inert than pure aluminium. In the sense that it will not oxidize like pure aluminium and weaken the adhesive bond with the paper in time. The polyethylene core is well protected to UV by the aluminium but on the edges, a milky white that will yellow in time but strength throughout is not affected. There will be some oxide formation on the 0.3 mm edges of the aluminium film but it will not spread. I had more prints mounted on aluminium as it could be cut accurately to the edge after mounting without deforming the edge. There has been a thread where users commented they could do the same with DiBond. I am not aware of any aluminium outgassing, it may act as a catalyzer like mentioned here but then the environmental conditions must be bad anyway.

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http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.



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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2013, 05:55:50 AM »
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From what the OP states the biggest issue will be the climate inside the temple where the prints are to be hung.  Other than the high mountain country, India is quite hot and humid during the monsoon season and hot during other periods.  The humidity will be the greatest problem.  Bonding to aluminum resolved the issue for the backing material but not the actual print which could be subject to significant amounts of moisture in the air (as well as heat).  Using any type of archival 'paste' (rice starch for example) to mount the prints to a traditional backing will also be problematic as the paste will absorb moisture and I wouldn't be surprised that the print will break away in a relatively short period of time.  I know these prints are quite large but dry mounting is probably a better long term solution.  From a chemistry point of view, aluminum whether dibond or not is not going to be problematic.
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