Re: Question for those selling there photography...

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by ilfordrapid, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    About what percentage ask you what kind of paper the photograph is printed on, and about what percentage demand fibre base paper. I am trying to get a feel for the demad before I make a lot of prints. I have been in touch with Kodak and Ilford companys both are claiming to have made great advancements in the archival qualities of RC paper. They both claim that with proper fixing and washing, and selenium toning that RC paper of today stands extremely close to fibre base paper, but they are both afraid to speak up about it, for fear of getting a bad reputation. There seems to be a wide spread unfounded fear of RC paper based on it's past from the 70's but hey, what has been made that did not get improvements, and we readily accept these products. Are we like the cat who sat on a hot stove, and because he got burned said to himself,"I will never sit on another stove again". Any way food for thought...
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    anything i sell is sold with the understanding it has been made with the highest archival techniques available, which includes only using fiber papers, toned and mounted on 100% rag board.


    They have improved over the years, but i still don't like the look of the RC paper and will probably never use it. On the other hand, i am very old school and use graded fiber paper and intend to continue until it is no longer available.

    This is my personal opinion, and i would encourage you to decide what you want to do based on the work type, the look , etc. that you want for your photos. Also, which market are you selling to, may influence that decisions.

    .
     
  3. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Thanks Ann. I want to sell to the general public. I am not that interested in the collectors. I am really having trouble deciding on what paper to print on, my gut tells me that a very large majority will not even care, not that I am tring to decieve anyone, if they ask I will tell them. But I have to say that I am leaning toward RC Glossy, because it has a high reflectance and thus yeilds a viberant photograph. I specialize in landscapes. I welcome any comments or suggestions.
     
  4. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hi,
    I've sometimes wondered about this. On odd occasions when I've mentioned the type of paper I use to people, their eyes usually glaze over (in the style of glossy RC paper!). I suspect that it's what's on the paper that sells or doesn't sell it and that the longevity of a photographic image probably depends mostly on correct use of the chemicals, washing, and, most importantly, how and where the finished product is displayed. If someone walks off with one of my prints, I always warn against the dangers of strong sunlight, damp and heat. It's an interesting topic.

    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You can get a glossy finish with glossy fiber based paper by ferrotyping. It's not as easy as RC, but the finish is glossier.

    I have my doubts about the longevity of RC papers on display. I have seen some prints from as late as the early 1990s that have silvered out after a few years framed in normal room light. If the prints don't need to stick around for more than a few years (proofs, headshots, promotional shots, prints for reproduction, etc.), RC is fine, but you don't see much in the way of B&W RC prints in galleries.

    If your goal is mainly to produce a clean looking product at low cost, and you like the look of an RC print, then stick with it. I'm also like Ann, though, in my preference for the look of graded fiber papers.
     
  6. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    David, thanks for your reply. I have to wonder though if the prints that you saw in the 1990's were actually processed properly, and selenium toned.
     
  7. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Thanks Steve, I agree with you. I think it's what's on the paper that sells. Very few people who are not photographers, know our craft that well, and frankly don't give a rat's a** about the technical side. I have photos of me as a five year old that were taken with 120 film in an old Brownie camera, and the prints were made on glossy RC paper. Those prints are in mint condition. Because they were properly processed. Those prints are about 45 years old.
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Hmm...I thought that RC paper was a more recent development...that would have it introduced in 1960 is what I hear you saying?

    There is another consideration beyond your limited view as it applies only to yourself. Consider this that the Library of Congress and the National Archives will not accept RC prints because they are not considered archival.

    So let's say that you set up shop selling cheap RC prints to unsuspecting and uninformed buyers and they think that they have made a great deal until the prints go south. Then the reputation of black and white images as being archival art is going to take a hit.

    That means that your customers start saying to their friends "black and white sucks and it isn't worth taking home." Pretty soon the word gets around and it makes no difference if David, Mike, Lee and everyone else who cares about what we do and make our prints on fiber based paper and are processed to archival standards is going to get the benefit of your trying to shortside and cut corners.

    Beyond that those of us who care about what we put out the door are going to have to justify why are work is worth more then your RC...all in all a wonderful gift that you are handing to us.

    Let me give you a premature and preemptive big "THANK YOU"
     
  9. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I don't sell much, but I am involved in the occasional gallery show and have sold some work. I personally don't know that the buyer cares that much but I care a great deal, so I use fiber paper. I am actually using it more for the reason that it creates the look I am after, but I appreciate the fact that I can say that the prints I make are about as archival as gelatin silver prints can be. There is a level of professionalism that is communicated when you can say that. While I would not be surprised to hear that good RC prints will last a very long time, I don't imagine that they are as good as fiber.
     
  10. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    I am sorry you feel that way. Do you think I am the only one selling prints on RC paper. I care about what I do too. I am offering the customer a reasonalble product at a reasonable price, and there is no deceiving going on here. So climb on down off your high horse.
     
  11. wfe

    wfe Member

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    I have not had anyone ask me but all of the prints I sell are printed on Fiber based paper and processed to archival standards. I do discuss all of these things with gallery owners if they are going to display and sell the work. I usually include "Care and Feeding" instructions as well. Even with archival processing the sun is extremely powerfull and any art work should not be displayed in direct sunlight. As for feeding the only thing prints need are human eyes looking at them and enjoying what they see :smile: :smile: :smile: This will keep them and their owners happy for many years.
     
  12. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Donald, you flatter me in thinking that I will sell that many prints, I must be doing something right.
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Ann, that is exactly how I feel, although I work primarily in color. My images are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, 100% acid-free all-rag ArtCare™ Board, wood frames and UV glass.

    I also include a brochure detailing steps for hanging and caring for the prints. Hawaii law also requires a certificate of authenticity, which I also include.
     
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  15. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    For those of you who have not read this whole thread, the companies who make both RC and FB say that they are practically equal in archival quality, WHEN PROCESSED PROPERLY,AND TONED IN SELENIUM. So I am not deceiving or selling anyone short. Seems though I have touched a nerve. I have been printing on RC paper for 20 years, some are in frames in my own home, and they all look wonderful, and some are in my families homes, some were given to friends, and many others sold, and they still look great, and no one has come to me saying "black and white sucks, it's not worth taking home," Quite the opposite in fact.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Indeed the companies say such things, and perhaps they have some accelerated aging tests to back it up in a hypothetical way, but better safe, I say, and ultimately I print on fiber because it looks better to me.
     
  17. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Subscriber

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    I don't think you are deceiving anyone. OTH so what if a company says this. What do they say about Inkjets, color in the sixties.

    The next time I see a brochure say "great looking paper that will last a few years" I be shocked.
     
  18. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    The paper companys are afraid to speak up, about the advances that have been made because they would get a bad reputation, like I am getting here. The companies sugar coated there answer by saying we chose to let the people decide what they want to print on, rather than proclaim that it's right up there with FB. When my prints start to go bad I will let you know, but I doubt that I'll live that long.
     
  19. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    It might be informative to talk with Clyde Butcher about RC paper...from what I understand he almost went bankrupt replacing RC prints that went south on him. And yes, Clyde probably knows full well how to process archivally.

    The link to his site is: http://www.clydebutcher.com/
     
  20. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    For what it's worth, Clyde was in town a couple of weeks ago and I talked to him about what he is doing now. He is printing his exhibition stuff on inkjet. He says he does not trust silver photo paper of any kind anymore. He says he had conversations with manufacturers who told him several times over recent years that they have had to make changes in the paper because of environmental concerns - so he now uses neither fiber nor RC.

    We were discussing his present touring shows, which include prints that are 16x20 or so - not the giant 8-foot photos he's also famous for. He says he thinks his inkjet prints are better than his silver prints. I agree with him, although maybe not for the reasons he does. I think he does a better job of controlling the contrast in Photoshop than he does in a wet darkroom, but that's just my opinion.

    I have heard the story that he had to replace a large number of prints years ago. I don't remember whether he replaced them with fiber prints or more RC, though.

    If you ever get a chance to go to a show and talk with him, do so. He's a very nice guy and very willing to discuss his methods. He also enjoys talking about Florida's environment and wildlife.
    juan
     
  21. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Donald, With fiber based prints being porous how does anyone really know that every bit of chemical is removed, because the chemicals soak into the print surface. With RC everything stays on the surface and washes off pretty easy. I am not sure why Clyde had a problem, all I know is my own personal experience.
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Most people who are concerned about such things do a residual hypo test occasionally to be sure their FB clearing and washing methods are sound.
     
  23. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    There are tests for both residual thiosulfate and silver.

    I haven't used RC for anything since the mid 80's so perhaps they have made some improvements in the material. I choose to learn by other's experiences and they indicate that they have recent problems with image stability with RC.

    By the way, have you determined when RC was introduced? I seem to think that the images you identify as RC (45 years old) are not RC...But I may be wrong in my memory. If anyone has that information, I would appreciate knowing for sure.

    Good luck. Regardless what you choose to use.
     
  24. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Donald, I am not really sure about the prints I was referring to, they have a glossy surface so I just assumed they were RC. I may well be wrong about it being RC, I will have to research it on line after I have my dinner. I hope that you have a good evening.
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Glossy FB prints may be ferrotyped (heat dried in contact with a polished metal plate), varnished, or waxed.
     
  26. aterlecki

    aterlecki Member

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    Exactly the same could be said of someone producing fiber prints who is sloppy with the print washing or who doesn't bother toning. In fact I'd bet that a poorly washed fiber print will deteriorate quicker than a poorly washed RC print. Don't go accusing RC printers of spoiling it for you because of the early poor history of certain RC papers. If anything it's the ongoing bigotry of fiber printers who perpetuate the problem.

    And why do you think that those producing RC prints don't care about their work? That's very presumptuous. Do I not care about my work because despite careful washing, toning and archival mounting I'm still not using fiber paper?

    There is no evidence to suggest that a modern RC paper when properly processed, washed and toned will not last at least as long as a fiber print. Granted there's no evidence in favour either but that is no reason to dismiss RC outright and claim it is spoiling the party for all.

    I print on RC and I'd be happy selling fine art on RC. I'd also be happy offering a lifetime guarantee on the print providing it was properly cared for. If someone wants the same print on fiber then the price is tripled because that is how much extra work is involved. That extra work has nothing to do with the care I put in to the print either but simply the extra efforts and cost to get the print in a fit state for sale when compared to RC.

    In my opinion there's no telling between the two when framed behind glass and if someone can have a print with the same longevity for one third the price I think they'd be happy with that.