View Full Version : What films and prints processes have not faded over time?

06-12-2007, 12:43 AM
What films and print processes have not faded over time?

I was looking over some family photos, and some have faded considerably, while others still are bright and vivid. I'm not sure of the papers/processes.

Also, I have one black and white print from the 60's that is marked POLAROID on the side and has a zigzag edge.. hasent faded a bit looks great.

06-13-2007, 01:07 AM
hmm maybee this would have been better in the color film forum

06-13-2007, 01:15 AM
A carbon print would look as good (or as bad) as the day it was made.


06-13-2007, 03:56 PM
Cyanotypes were invented in 1842 and the first prints are still fine apparently (or I've read that somewhere and I can't find reference to it now). It's probably one of the most archival processes you can get.

Unfortunately I think the only colour choices are blue or sepia/brown (from tea/tannic acid toning)...

06-13-2007, 10:57 PM
Kodachrome is supposedly a very long lived transparency. Platinum and Palladium prints, in effect anything printed with nobel metals are very long lived. I've also seen some daguerreotype's that are still around. I'm sure that there are many museums, such as Kodak's, that contain many methods of printing that have been around since the beginning of photography. The ones that our families have that were made with the brownies and such are what, maybe 50 years old?

06-14-2007, 03:38 AM
I second the kodachrome lasting a long time. We were recently looking at my inlaw's wedding photos taken on kodachrome and there's no colour shift on them whatsoever - they look completely perfect and all they've had for storage is in a dim cupboard in the original little boxes they came in. They celebrated their 42nd (I think) wedding anniversary this year.

Speaking of Brownies, I have a Brownie camera that is still taking decent photos and it's approximately 87 years old ;) Don't have any original negatives from it, though.

David A. Goldfarb
06-14-2007, 07:55 AM
Fired enamel photographs are often used for long term outdoor display--


tony lockerbie
06-14-2007, 08:04 AM
Kodachrome, Kodachrome, very stable stuff if you keep the fungus off it. Any older E2, E4 or E6 films seem to deteriorate very quickly, the worst being Anscochrome and Agfachrome. Some of my very old colour prints (fibre based )seem to have lasted longer than the earlier RC colour prints.

06-14-2007, 08:51 AM
Photogravures will last as long as the paper they're printed on lasts without fading. They are etchings using fine printer's ink pressed into the damp paper base. Like any other medium, though, the more optimal the storage, the more permanent the image. So far, etchings have lasted for hundreds of years...etchings by Rembrandt date from about 1630. The "photo" gravure simply substitutes a photosensitive plate for a hand engraved one. The plate is then etched, if copper by acid, if polymer by water, inked and pulled through an intaglio press onto the damp paper, but the outcome is the same.

Jim Noel
06-14-2007, 10:35 AM
I have Kodachromes I made in 1939 and they show no signs of fading.

Also, of course, cyanotypes, platinum/palladiums and vandyke browns seem to be extremely long lived.

06-14-2007, 12:00 PM
i'm not so sure about the cased images--daguerrotypes, ambrotypes, ferrotypes etc, and the cyanotypes. my experiences with conservators has been they wanted to minimize any sort of display times for these things. there are physical problems with the images as well--things happen to the binders used in the various sections where the glass covers are held on for example and also the base materials as well. the images can break down from the inside out almost. usually when they're displayed, it's under very low light levels, or they're covered and only uncovered for short periods of time for viewing. my experience with cyanotypes has been pretty limited in terms of museum pieces, but here again--in having to copy them I had to be very careful with the types of lighting used and the duration of time. simply put--the reason why these things still exist as old photos, is that they're kept in the dark in storage. my opinions only, as always.

06-15-2007, 12:53 PM
I was originally asking about the more 'modern' films and prints..
Kodachrome seems to be a winner.. but are people talking about the film or prints?

06-15-2007, 01:38 PM
My father has negatives shot by his father in 1918, which are still in very good condition. The prints, which were either processed on shipboard or at the drugstore, are also in pretty good shape.

06-15-2007, 05:16 PM
I was originally asking about the more 'modern' films and prints..

Photogravures are being made in this house as I write this.

( www.susanvossgravures.blogspot.com )