View Full Version : How Lightfast is a Silver Gelatin Emulsion?

06-16-2012, 01:45 AM
Hi there,

Just wondering if anybody has and information/knowledge regarding how light-fast a silver gelatin emulsion print is?
Specifically, I am using the FOMA emulsion, on canvas and thick watercolor or print making paper (Arches, BFK Reives/ Stonehenge).

Obviously one would not leave photographic prints in direct sunlight, however
I am wondering if the finished prints are sensitive to fading in UV light?

I know if i could find this out anywhere on the internet it is here.
Any input would be greatly appriciated!


06-16-2012, 07:49 AM
Very lightfast. It's metallic silver after all, it doesn't fade like dyes.

06-18-2012, 11:34 AM
Longevity is most strongly influenced by proper (or improper) processing. Complete fixing and complete washing are very important to longevity, and then of course using the proper mounting and storage materials. UV light will certainly hurt a silver-gelatin image over time, but properly processed and on good paper (I wonder about the canvas??) it should last a long time; hopefully more than 50+ years, maybe a lot more. Selenium toning will boost the light-fastness even further and is considered very archival.

06-19-2012, 06:18 AM
Ctein and others have identified particular problems with RC papers, possibly caused by the Titanium Dioxide that is used to whiten the paper acting as a photocatalyst when exposed to light If I remember correctly, Ctein wrote about it in his Post Exposure which is available as a free download from ctein.com. Unfortunately I don't have my copy handy to confirm this. Wilhelm Research states that even at low illumination levels with UV-filtered light, B&W RC prints may be subject to light-induced oxidation of the silver image (http://www.wilhelm-research.com/pdf/HW_Book_17_of_20_HiRes_v1a.pdf p. 578)