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  1. #1

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    Processed black and white negatives and "daylight" storage

    Hi all,

    I have been thinking about something I´m curious to know more about, and I hope APUGers´ wisdom will shed some light on it (just to stay on topic...)
    It seems quite well proven that daylight or even artificial light is harmful if long-term storage of color negatives and chromes is desired, because the light sensitive dyes that make the image once the film is processed can fade.
    I am wondering if there is a deleterious effect of light also for black and white negatives. I have read several articles and books on proper care and storage of processed film, but could not find a clear conclusion on that. Of course I would assume it is always recommendable to store negatives, either black and white or color, in the dark, but is it really necessary for the former?
    If one were to print the same black and white negative a significantly high number of times, would the exposure to the light from the enlarger damage the negative eventually?

  2. #2

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    Probably no adverse effect for archival processed negatives but probably for insufficiently fixed and/or washed negatives. There is a problem for negatives from staining developers and chromogenic BW negatives. However why would you leave negatives exposed out in the open?
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  3. #3

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    Yes your negative, like anything else absorbs energy... And darkens.... Keeping them out of light helps slow that down


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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    However why would you leave negatives exposed out in the open?
    I myself would not. I try in principle to keep my processed negatives protected from unnecessary exposure to light, but while I think I can understand how light would interact detrimentally with color negatives, I am curious to know more about the interactions and potential effects on black and white film.

  5. #5

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    The negative would probably be all scratched up from too much handling to be very usable before you got to a point where light affected it to any noticeable degree IF it had been processed properly. Silver is a metal, so light won't affect it much at all, but the emulsion and film base can be damaged. Temperature and humidity are serious issues too, especially the latter. I would think that a lot of negatives have been ruined by getting stuck to the print file pages due to humidity, and then there's fungus or mold problems. Depends on what the film base is made of on your particular negs.
    Last edited by momus; 01-31-2015 at 04:33 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Insert pithy philosophic statement of your choice here".

  6. #6
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by heespharm View Post
    Yes your negative, like anything else absorbs energy... And darkens.... Keeping them out of light helps slow that down.
    Metallic Silver (that is what the image in classic b&w ohotography is made of) absorbs energy indeed, but it will not darken.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    Metallic Silver (that is what the image in classic b&w ohotography is made of) absorbs energy indeed, but it will not darken.
    But the celluloid will


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  8. #8

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    You've not specified the type of negatives. XP2 SUPER is chromogenic, i.e. actually a color negative. All silver-image negatives that are on polyester base material, like most black and white sheet film is, no impact. If they're on acetate base material, like most roll film is, then I don't know for sure, but wonder whether the light energy would reduce how many years it takes until things get "vinegary."

  9. #9

  10. #10

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    I agree that silver itself would be relatively unaffected by light, but, if the negs are not well processed and washed, residues of other compounds may remain and be affected. Also, as others say, there could be a long-term effect of light (and maybe heat, of sunlight) on the gelatine and film base.
    (Actually, I can't quite see the point of the question, as surely any decent form of dedicated neg storage, is going to keep the file pages in the dark, either in boxes, files or cabinets. Even a ring binder on a bookshelf will be largely light-proof?)

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