Wilhelm did two useful things. He studied how existing materials aged, and he discovered how accelerated aging tests can be used to predict
what might happen in a similar accelerated aging test! This might or might not extrapolate into real world conditions. Chromogenic prints,
dye transfer, Cibachromes, etc at least have a precedent of watching them for awhile. Inkjet has so many variables that it's hard to know
what will happen. A lot of the so-called pigments in them are composed lakes of ordinary dyes. Aardenburg has solved some of the shortcomings in Wilhelm's methodology. But as far as I'm concerned, there's no substitute for sheer time under real world display or storage
conditions. And in that respect, I've found my personal conclusions quite at odds with Wilhelm's extrapolations at time. And that's what they
largely are -extrapolations of short-term results under extreme conditions. I also have extreme skepticism of how well bonded inks will be
to all kinds of potential paper substrates without the protection of a gelatin overcoat. I had a very interesting conversation a week ago with
someone who is way ahead of the curve in studying these issues and is basically a hired gun for developing very advanced printing methods,
and he outlined several important variables which neither Wilhelm or Aardenburg have looked at yet. Like me, he is aware of the need to
develop true nanopigment process colors, but there are several big enviro and techno hurdles still in the way. But if it ever does happen, inkjet as we know it will become extinct. But I'd be content just to find more time to print the wonderful neg films and chromogenic materials we currently have. I have zero incentive to print color digitally. It would be a step backwards as far as I'm concerned.
Drew, please consider these facts:
1. Kodachrome tests from 1936, held at room temperature in normal slide keeping conditions compare well in fade condition to this run at high temperature and to exposure to flashes of light (simulating projection).
2. Ektacolor prints from 1935, held under normal keeping in albums or hung on walls compare well with the accelerated tests run on them.
3. Ditto for Dye Transfer prints.
4. Ditto for Cibachrome prints.
I could go on and include Agfachrome films and paper and Fuji film and paper. Why?
5. I have run these tests over and over and over for years.
I recommend that you get a copy of the ICIS short course textbook ($80 IIRC). It was written by Jon Kapecki, a fellow APUG member AAMOF and instructor of the course. It contains some excellent plots of this type of data and shows the interesting effect called "reciprocity". Yes, this effect takes place in dye fade. It means that it is not the same under strong conditions as it is under weak conditions (light, heat, humidity). It also shows how you can plot both weak and strong over many years and come up with a mathematical method of representing thee conditions and thus you can make a very good approximation of image stability.
As for a gelatin overcoat, it does nothing unless it is very thick. It also should contain free radical chain stoppers, organic solvents with high glass transition temperature and a UV absorber. Otherwise, the gel overcoat is useless.
It's really nothing to do with subjective definitions of 'quality'. This is the bias in the thread (and forum) that needs to be pointed out, in order to have a realistic sense of the spheres digital and traditional work occupy today. Hopefully, so we can stop having the 'vs' arguments.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
It's about the standards currently in place, informed by the most efficient means of making images. Darkroom work is emphasised as a 'craft' today (frequently by APUG members) for a good reason - the best (or, for arguments sake, 'most precise') traditional printers in the world were replaced by machines some time ago, which has given modern traditional photography its 'pioneer country' appeal. Commissioned work requires efficiency and by-the-numbers precision, not the time consuming 'personal expression' we attribute to purely traditional work. This is why John Sexton's photography, revered for it's clarity of rendering, is considered artful in its traditional media, despite the fact that the same 'clarity' of results could be achieved with a digital Hasselblad straight out of the camera. It only remains poignant photography once the media - and great lengths taken to reach the print - are understood, at which point we have great admiration for this master printer. His work is timely I feel because it sits on that controversial 'photography is craft/photography is images' line. The point of the architectural work David saw exhibited, I'm guessing, wasn't to emphasise the fine craft of photography, but the subject - which requires a transparency in methodology and technique that traditional work has always refused to afford the viewer. This is why film is mostly favoured by art photographers today; because the material gives important emphasis to the art object. The work David saw is about clearly illustrating the subject matter and its aesthetics, not the aesthetics of photography. Architectural photography is only about photography in the eyes of photographers. Same with the photography in holiday brochures, but strangely, we don't see many arguments about colour accuracy when it comes to sun-kissed Greek beaches. We just want to go to them, which is the purpose this kind of photography serves.
Last edited by batwister; 05-23-2013 at 08:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde
The person in charge who said digital was used because the hues were more pure than film may have simply been repeating what he heard (either directly about the display, or about film v. digital in general), regardless of any object or subjective truth (and I'm avoiding pointing out that he apparently didn't define "pure," which may make a difference in the debate).
In other words, just because someone says something, it doesn't mean it is true or untrue. People hear things, people say things.
They say there are two sides to every story...
In this case I think there must be at least three, and I am in the small third party.
I don't care which is most accurate. My preferences are, in ascending order...
3. The one that renders it the way I see it.
2. The one that renders it the way I remember seeing it.
1. The one that renders it the way I wished I could have seen it.
So far, film wins on all three counts.
By all the statistical probabilities I will be dead in 40 years, or much less. Less than 20 is more likely. Anything longer than that is overkill. I doubt that there is anything I have done that needs to be preserved for the ages. How many Mayan grocery lists would we really need? Not everything has to last forever....
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Batwister - I can only conclude that you have had limited exposure to what a well-equipped color darkroom is capable of doing on a technical
level. Esthetics is a totally different issue. Tools are one thing; how you use them, and toward what end, is another. I see vastly more artsy
fartsy nonsense being done digitally nowadays than with film. I personally work mostly in the so-called fine-art realm, but certainly understand
the distinction when I've been paid to do a commercial architectural, advertising, or forensic shoot. Perhaps I've misinterpreted your comment,
but so far it just doesn't make any sense to me. Film owes loyalty to neither camp. It's neutral and blind until someone chooses what to do
Ron - I did decades of my own tests under all kinds of conditions and came up with the conclusion that Wilhelm really was winging it in certain
respects. Having had many years of exposure to the industrial pigment industry and their own fade testing methodology, I already had an idea
of the potential shortfall. And the longstanding difference between how Fuji and Kodak have calculated such things I guess will be settled either
with more time, or hopefully a blackpowder pistol duel between their respective CEO's (I won't say which one I hope gets hit... but you can
guess that one!). You can talk to Aardenburg about the residual coupler discoloring - he's pretty adamant that it's still a serious issue.
And what gelatin potentiallly does is afford a degree of barrier protection ink particles otherwise directly exposed to the atmosphere of
mechanical issues like handling and dimensional instability. I find it impossible to believe that such colorants simply jetted onto a paper surface are going to be as well protected as similar components tied to a layered gelatin binder (as in carbon printing for example).
.... and now here we are, Ron, facing a sea change in lighting itself. As these damn CFL's and LED lighting systems are being forced upon us,
there is very little decent information on their long-term effects to either our prints our own eyesight! All like someone like me can do is take
my best shot... and I suspect the latest chromogenic print materials are going to have better display permanence than Cibachrome but less
dark stability. Got no choice anyway. And I wouldn't want any dye transfer print getting much UV or heat from any source. But I certainly would never go around trying to sell a print using the snake-oil pitch that it's going to last thus-and-thus number of decades, much less centuries,
when one has no control over all the potential variables.
Said Batwister (italics mine): "The work David saw is about clearly illustrating the subject matter and its aesthetics, not the aesthetics of photography. Architectural photography is only about photography in the eyes of photographers."
Honestly, the conversation that I was having in the Italian Market seemed to be intensely focused upon this vendor's (unspoken) assertion that these prints were NOT what the photographer 'wanted' to see, but what was the MOST ACCURATE (aesthetics being subordinate) rendering of the specific 'conservancy' in question. I almost got the impression that, like it or not, what was being portrayed in the photos WAS, in fact, the closest one could get to the reality within the (only) two dimensions that a print mandates.
That's the impression I got. But, now I am thinking: he wants to SELL! Thus, the appeal factor has to be factored into the equation, perhaps? When desertratt started calling this 'conservancy' mandate a ploy, early in my thread, I was miffed and disappointed with that rat's hasty 'arrogance'. But, now, with those factors seemingly contradicting one another (accuracy vs aesthetics) I really wonder if desertratt was really both prompt and prescient.
All posters here pique my interest and I hope that there is more to come. Uplift me from my ignorance. - David Lyga
Last edited by David Lyga; 05-24-2013 at 12:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
A few minutes ago... and there's one on my drive.
Originally Posted by desertratt