View Full Version : ageing photo paper

04-15-2014, 11:51 AM
I've a small supply of 10 year old 8"X 10 "Ilford multi-grade paper and am using it for my initial in camera negatives with some success. The paper has been subjected to all sort of bad storage conditions over the years (like extreme temperatures and moisture in a basement storage area to in an uninsulated small storage shed). This "good stuff" is going to be depleted soon and I'm wondering if anyone has experimented with ageing newer product? Like keeping it in a warm to hot place for a period of time. Generally to prolong film and paper life it's refrigerated so am assuming heating it would produce the reverse condition.
Any good ideas or successful experiments ?

04-15-2014, 01:47 PM
i have a coupla 100-sheet boxes of paper so old it's got a base fog I'd be willing to let you have for the postage/package costs. What effect are you looking for?

04-15-2014, 01:49 PM
Sorry, I use mine for Lumen prints. The older the better success I have. I went to an old camera store in our area and bought a bunch for $1/box of 100 8X10.

04-15-2014, 02:43 PM
,WOW! thanks for the quick reply. What size is your paper? Not sure about shipping from your location but my zip code is 65714 could you check shipping costs from there to here? Probably flat rate postal boxes or UPS would be least expensive.I'd try and check from this end but without knowing size/weight and zip code,don't have enough info.....
It seems a slight base fog is desirable for lowering contrast in paper negatives exposed in-camera and that's the case with the few I've shot so far with my old paper. Pre-flashing also seems the way to go,as I'm just beginning with shooting paper in my camera,was concerned about running out of material as The technique is being perfected......
Thanks in advance,

04-19-2014, 04:20 PM
Am excited about learning/discovering new things about paper negative's. I've already mentioned the two open packs of old outdated paper that I'm working my way through. It seems one pack may be a lot older than the other(like it was with Columbus when he discovered America). The early trials were made using the pack with the least amount of paper and worked well as about 3 ISO for portraits and developed in old dilute Dektol. However trying the pack with the most paper didn't work out as well (the Columbus pack),after several attempts and increasing the exposure drastically the resulting negatives were thin and had a heavy uneven base fog. Have decided that pack's not good for portraits but may give it a whirl for landscapes without any flash exposure (hate to waste stuff ya know).The whole paper negative thing has revived my interest in photography and is great fun to boot.
Really appreciate all the information you all share openly here.

04-19-2014, 09:05 PM
Don't chuck the 1492 stuff, it could be wonderful for some other uses. You may be able to use it with your paper negatives in a different way!

Edit: Not a mystery! I don't have time to write it up now, and I'm really not quite ready, but I will soon. JNanian knows what I've been playing around with... a way to convert old photo paper to a kind of POP that is strong enough to contact print paper negatives. I will probably put the write-up over at f295.org, but I'll make sure to post a link here or in the paper negatives group. The old paper is not just good for lumen prints or photograms, but also might be excellent for retina prints, solargraphs and maybe this conversion to POP.

04-20-2014, 08:28 AM
OK! I really didn't want to pitch it 'cause I'm frugal (read cheap),but it's really a surprise to me that all this outdated stuff is usable.
I shudder to think of all the short dated and out dated stuff we would to throw away at studios and labs i've worked over the years.
We couldn't afford to have unrepeatable results if possible so we dumped the questionable stuff,"if I only new then what I know now".
Thanks for your input Ned and I'll be looking forward to your up coming projects.

04-24-2014, 02:19 PM
Got some glossy paper to try for in camera negs and WOW! is it ever rendering sharper negs than the pearl I've been trying ('cause that's what I had on hand).Since I'm enlarging these nega it's no contest the glossy is far and away the sharpest.Duh! you'd think a person would know the textured paper wouldn't be as sharp as the smooth. Stupidity aside I'm really going to wear out this paper neg picture taking,it's really got me going....
P.S. I'm trying different densities on the base fog with this fresh paper to see how far it will go before no improvement is evident.

04-26-2014, 09:55 AM
Don't get rid of old paper unless you're giving it to me - lol!!

Seriously, you can use Benzotriazole to tame the fog. I add 1ml per litre of developer of 1% Benzo solution - if that is not enough I increase the level to 3ml per litre.

04-26-2014, 11:26 AM
Most of my pinhole cameras have curved surfaces, and I started using pearl and semi-matte paper negatives in those to reduce reflections. Over time, I found that I like the texture that shows in a contact print from the pearl surface, but I think many people prefer to use glossy paper negatives for increased sharpness in contact prints too. I can definitely imaging that the texture could make a difference in a reflective enlargement!

I do not have a lot of experience contact printing glossy paper, but the times I've tried it (wet) I also had the impression that the sheets made better contact. Still, I'm not planning to switch... just got another 250 sheet box of 8x10 Adorama VC RC pearl!

04-29-2014, 11:01 AM
Not getting rid of the pearl 'cause I like it's surface on the final prints,so my MO is going to be shooting on glossy and printing on pearl (for the time being).I must say pinhole is starting to interest me(DANG! you guys, I hardly get involved in one thing and another pops up).I'd been thinking some time in the future of carbon printing BUT! this pinhole thing keeps nudging in on me.....
By the way(back on subject), I'm finding that paper negs shot in a portrait/in door situation require a little different preflash than outdoor/ landscapes.Is this the case or am I just chasing rabbits?

Thomas Bertilsson
04-29-2014, 11:05 AM
I have been using a box of very expired Forte Polygrade IV by printing normally on it, and printing about 1/3 stop heavier than normal. After the print is washed I have been bleaching the prints back to crisp white borders for a lovely looking print.

It isn't just age fog that's a problem that increases with time, but contrast is lowered also. This has to be taken into account. If you think about it, this makes for an ideal paper negative situation.

04-29-2014, 11:09 AM
I've just finishing developing a batch of paper negatives with a mix of pearl and gloss finishes. The gloss ones scan better, and generally "look" better, but I haven't done enough contact printing with them yet to see if there's a significant difference in my darkroom.

As for indoors vs outdoors - Spectral range I suppose - indoors with tungsten lighting much redder.

04-29-2014, 11:13 AM
I have no idea about different pre-flashing for indoors vs. outdoors. What pdeeh said makes sense.

04-29-2014, 06:52 PM
I agree Ned,Pedee seems to have hit on it.Thanks for the input.
Thomas would you post some pictures using your technique? I'd love to see them....

04-29-2014, 08:08 PM
you might be able to get a better print
by split developing in a hard and slow/soft working developer
i use ansco 130 ( dektol is fine ) 1:2 when the image starts appearing
put it into a coffee developer to compensate, slow it down and finish the development
if the image isn't contrasty enough put it back in the dektol ( and then back again ).
regular old caffenol will work too, without the jump start, but it often times takes 2x the normal developing time ...
or you can do test exposures and use the developer full strength adn develop
1min (rc) and 2mins ( fb ) ... i shoot 80% expired paper, expired liquid emulsion on paper+glass
and this / these routines work very well, at least in the situations i photograph in.

if you are using vc paper you can use a enlarging filter to tame the contrast, or photograph in open shade /
flat light ... photo paper is weird-stuff ... sometimes it is slow ( iso 3 or 6 ) sometimes it is fast ( iso 25 )
depending on the time of year, time of day type of light/day, lack of light. shooting paper
i have an enormous respect for people who used pre panchromatic emulsions back in the "olden days" ...

( also, if you are hoping to contact print onto another piece of photo paper, a full range / dense paper negative isn't as good as a "thinner" one
wax or parafin helps make the paper translucent ... )

good luck !

07-01-2014, 11:26 AM
It's been a while but I finally have a chance to try "cooking" some new paper before using to see if it "aged" and altered it's contrast and it appears to me that it does.
http://i820.photobucket.com/albums/zz128/blindpigetc/50c07e21-523b-4e73-818a-018d092bf130_zpse6942528.jpg (http://s820.photobucket.com/user/blindpigetc/media/50c07e21-523b-4e73-818a-018d092bf130_zpse6942528.jpg.html)
The one on the right was"cooked" before using.
Both pictures were cut from the same sheet of Ilford Multi-Grade glossy paper and both were pre-flashed for 12 seconds.Used a 180mm lens at f 8 for one second camera exposure,the developed in Dektol 8:1 for 4 minutes.
It appears the"cooked" one lost some speed as well as has lower contrast.
The"cooking" consists of sealing the paper in a can and roasting in a toaster oven at 90 degrees for 2 hours.
My first try was at 250 degrees(I forgot gelatin melts at about 97 degrees) LOL! Needless to say it wasn't successful....
Still having a great time learning to use in-camera paper negatives.
Let me know what you think.....