"THE CHEMICAL AGEING.....ELIMINATED ANY SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE OF FREEZING."
Well, can I chime in here? I'm not photochemist but I've got a couple of years of university chemistry and reducing temperature VASTLY reduces the rate at which chemical reactions will occur.
A paper that exhibits little change after a several years at 22 degrees Celcius in the dark, would, I think exhibit little change after at least as many decades in the deep freeze at negative 35 degrees Celcius.
I've used kodak paper that was stored at room temperature in opened packaging for about 15 years. It came with the first enlarger I bought about two years ago. It was a tiny bit grainier and a tiny bit less contrasty than paper that was bought brand new, but I didn't notice until I held two exact same prints side by side after they were dried.
If I really was concerned about keeping my paper fresh at the 5 or 6 decade mark....I might line the freezer with lead paper and/or use a proper lab freezer (-68 degrees below zero celcius)
I'm trying to be pretty conservative here. The fact is, I'd not be suprised to learn that paper in a deep freeze still reacted quite well after a century or more.
Currently, I'm freezing about 1,000 sheets of RC paper as I managed to secure a good deal. My initial concern was... "Will the paper change significantly with time?" It seems, however, that freezing paper will help maintain their printing qualities. Nonetheless, is there any need to be concerned about 'background' radiation for the long term?
"The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."
I'm in the process of testing the various papers right now, and so far, so good, with no additives and normal processing times.
I don't expect the entire cache to be be fog-free, but other uses can be found if so...remember that Sudek used to beg old paper from other photographers all the time! ;-)
I had one open package of VC fiber paper that was in a drawer for about eight years in a relatively cool place - never more than 75°F - and when I tried printing with it this past year, the image was extremely grainy and flat - I couldn't get much contrast with any VC filter that I had. It was time to toss it.
A little off topic but it may interest someone:
I also kept a printed sheet of the old paper in a tray of water along with a print made on a sheet of Forte VC fiber paper and the image on the old paper dissolved in a couple of days, where the sheet of Forte VC fiber lasted more than 10 days before the emulsion started to separated (it didn't dissolve, it just pealed off). The Forte fiber paper was rated as a tropical emulsion, I guess they were telling the truth.
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
I routinely store papers in both fridges and freezers and have acquired a selection of chest and upright freezers and fridge freezers - all full of (mostly discontinued) papers, although when I get a new batch of current papers I always store in either fridge or freezer if I can find space.
I have never encountered problems. I double bag in clear bags (so I can see what is inside) for the freezer but not for the fridge.
I have not found it necessary to allow long warm up periods. I do for freezer-stored film to avoid condensation problems, but for paper I have quite often opened the box from the freezer straight into a large light tight drawer and I take a few sheets out at a time to warm up and use in rotation waiting only to refresh or mix chemicals. The volume/mass of a sheet of paper is tiny compared to its huge surface area and a sheet does not need hours to warm up, although an eye needs to be kept on the dev temp.
For larger papers than 10x8 I would always store flat, not upright to avoid stresses and waves in the paper and emulsion.
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One of the great things about silver chloride paper (like Azo) is that it will keep 50+ years at room temperature. Of course, the higher contrast grades will loose some of their contrast.
Most paper available today is developer incorporated. Freezing does not prevent deterioration. I found this out the hard way when Kodak discontinued Polymax.
You can freeze it but do not expect to extend its life beyond an additional 6 months. That is my experience. You will still have paper but you will not achieve the bright whites you will get with a fresh batch.
Many thanks for all your posts. Pantasia, Bobby Ironside, Mike Wilde and Tim, all really good helpful info.
Fortunately there are still plenty of papers without incorporated develper - especially FB papers.
Originally Posted by photobackpacker
Fortunately for us, the cadmium papers last especially well in storage
Most freezers out there have a defrosting cycle. Is that a matter of concern?
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