Yellowing of RC prints in office environment

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ooze, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. ooze

    ooze Member

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    Hi,

    I'd given a few RC prints to colleagues in my office and they had put the loose prints up around their desks. Now I find that they all have started to fade and turn yellow in the highlights :sad: They are hardly a year old. In over 14 years of printing this is the first time I see this happen and wonder why. I have numerous RC prints - new and old - pinned up at various places at home and they all look fine, so I doubt it's my processing. The office is a typical IT/Engineering office with laptops, fluorescent lighting etc. Maybe in the evening the cleaners spray around with some chemicals; I don't know. Recently I've placed a loose FB print on my desk...just to see how that one fares. Any ideas or experiences?

    Cheers.
     
  2. tj01

    tj01 Member

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    Do you by any chance reuse the fixer ? I'm not sure of your workflow, but it could be insufficient fixing.

    Regards
    TJ
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    If it's due to insufficient washing (rather than fixing) then the FB print is likely to do even worse.


    Steve.
     
  4. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Ozone can be a culprit, from photocopiers, fax, air conditioning, computers etc. I have seen this before, plus redox, occurring in untreated (non-toned) RC prints.
    An office environment is a poor place of choice for unframed prints. They should be selenium toned and hermetically sealed. Redox ruined my early B&W prints done in the late 1980s when they were simply pinned to the wall of the canteen adjoining the office where I worked at the time.
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    could be ozone from narby aser printers. how close are the printers?. i tried to make this happen for a test of a sistan replacement, and it took 6months for the prints to showclear highlight- yellowingif prints were n the direct airflow of the printer, which is used all day.
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    yes, selenium and or even light sulphide toning would have prevented this.untonedRCprintsare very sensitive to environmental attack.
     
  7. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Insufficient wash or fix. We had some RC displayed in an entryway and only one print of the batch turned yellow. One day the single print was gone and returned less yellow, but soon reverted to the original yellow state. I assume the tried to repair it.

    The were no obvious environmental issues and all the prints were exposed to the air.
     
  8. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Correctly fixed and washed prints in that enviroment would not degrade in 12 months:

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Maybe the said cleaners stand around with smoke in mouth, musing over their busy work while puffing smoke onto your cherished artworks.
    You never know...
     
  10. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I should add a few further notes. All my RC prints at home - many of which are several years old - pinned up on boards etc are all fine, and they are all treated the same way, that is as per Ilford recommendations. I use film strength Hypam (1+4), fix RC prints for 30 seconds and wash for at least 10 mins with several changes of water. I dump the fixer (1-1.5 liter) after at most two printing sessions, with hardly more than the equivalent of 15 24x30 prints through it...just to be one the safe side. From time to time I check the dissolved silver content with one of those Tetenal strips and have never been over accepted levels.
     
  11. ooze

    ooze Member

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    6 to 10 meters. No direct air flow between printer and photos.

    I should/would try toning...it's just the wait period to see any effect is a bit long :confused:
     
  12. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    You could also use Sistan, this leaves pretty much no change to the image apart from the protective effects. It does seem an extraordinarily short time for degradation to set in. There isn't some crazy cleaner wiping the prints twice a week with table-polish, or something like that??!
     
  13. jochen

    jochen Member

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    Hello,
    the yellowing comes from oxidation of the image silver caused by UV irradiation, ozone or other harmful substances from the environment. Often this occurs with images which are opposed to light in a frame under glas, possibly even with a simple back carton board or a MDF plate who are not archive stable. The cellulose layer of a classic baryt FB paper can absorb and neutralize such environment poisons, the polymer layer of a RC paper is a barrier the substances cannot penetrate. The oxidation products of the silver (silver oxide, silver hydroxide, silverperoxide) are better soluble than metallic silver mobile and can migrate to the top of the emulsion layer. Sometimes there occurs a re-reduction to a mirror like silver. You can prevent this, as already has been said, by selenium toning, sulfur toning or by application of AGFA Sistan. Sistan contains potassiumthiocyanate which forms higly insoluble silverthiocyanate which is immobilized in the emulsion and prevents to migrate. Sulfur toning gives a more or less brown image, selenium does not affect the image tone as much, it becomes a little cooler to violet, Sistan does not affect the image tone at all.
     
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  15. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Jochen,

    You are quite correct these can affect prints in the way you say, and I will repeat NOT IN A YEAR not if they are correctly fixed and washed, silver migration ( known as 'blooming' ) can happen under atmospheric polution, but once again, not at the levels experienced in an office, even a printing one.

    In a normal indoor environment you would not see any degradation, whatsover, in a correctly processed monochrome RC print in 5 years, certainly no 'yellowing'

    There is absolutely no need whatsoever to tone an RC print for normal use or lifetime + 75 years unless you wanted a higher level of archival permanance or for aesthetic reasons.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited
     
  16. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    i've had this happen in my office as well -- the place is lined with carpets and cubicle walls covered with fabric that i suspect is not cotton, and synthetic fabrics all outgas.

    here's the real thing to keep in mind: whatever's doing that to those prints is also entering your lungs, and your bloodstream -- how ya feeling these days?

    i had this happen with prints framed behind plastic sheet instead of glass -- outgassing from plastic is evil, but Simon from Ilford is right, look to thy archival printing methods...
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Insufficient wash and / or fixer could do it, but a cheap RC paper could also be the culprit. Some RC papers, even today, omit the stabilizers from the RC. Ilford paper would not do this, but some others might.

    It could also be something in the water. You see, we have had a long discussion of this before. The Ilford wash method, (several trays of still water with dumps as opposed to running water for the full time) can fail.

    PE
     
  18. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Simon, please don't oversell your product. Yellowing of properly washed rc prints in record time is certainly comon. Happened to me many times. Usually on glossy paper.
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Not with properly processed paper from Ilford or Fuji, or in times gone by, Agfa and Kodak.

    PE
     
  20. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear NB23

    I never oversell my products, ever:

    I am making a statement of fact, if it yellows within a year, something is wrong with the paper or it is being exposed to airborne pollutants in a higher concentration that you would find in any normal working ( office ) environment, the only time I have ever seen this happen is twice in 25 years on an ILFORD product, once in a hair salon and once in a brewery.

    Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  21. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    So, Ooze, what brand did you use?
     
  22. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Just a thought: did your colleagues "pin" the prints to some furniture? Maybe the pins make a hole in the paper and this facilitates the entrance of chemical substances which would then migrate along the paper.
     
  23. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Ozone is more common in an office environment than most people think. Copiers, air sanitizers, high intensity discharge lamps, printers, plain old smog, and a bunch of other things generate it. Some peculiarities of RC paper, particularly the TiO2 whitener, may make it more susceptible to ozone than FB is. Combined with slightly inadequate processing the prints might go bad, even though the processing would not show these problems in a short time without the ozone. PE makes a good point about not all RC papers being equal in their environmental stability. Sulfur and sulfur compounds (like SO2) are also more common in an office environment than in most homes. These can also cause yellowing of prints.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2012
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i gotta get me a copy machine
    or a smoking habit,
    i love old yellowy looking prints !

    if they had SILVERED OUT that would be even cooler !

    john
     
  25. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    First you said that no toning whatsoever was necessary for at least 75 years and now you're saying degradation may happen under adverse conditions, therefore a toning might be necessary.

    I was just responding to what I was reading.
     
  26. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear NB23,

    I do not think I am being inconsistant, in any 'normal' environment within a home or at work toning is not required to give a full 75+ year life on a correctly processed ILFORD RC paper. If you wish to expose your print to known pollutant hazards, leave the print in direct sunlight etc to extend its usable life toning would undoubtedly help.

    The other thing is that some monochrome papers, not all, have is a 'carta' or topcoat that helps to defend the coating nominally from stress during printing and processing but obviously makes them more resistant to airborne pollutants.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology limited :