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  1. #1
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    Do all color prints fade?

    I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but since beginning to pay attention to such things, I've come to notice just how often and how badly color prints fade. It seems that a good many, possibly the majority of color prints I see hanging in businesses are faded, usually noticeably, and sometimes conspicuously, usually to an ugly blue.

    Just last week a saw color prints in a research company (the prints were probably 30+ years old), an Arbys (surely not more than 15), a donut shop (wouldn't surprise me if they were 50), and at a University (definitely not more than 10), that all were faded to a blue tint. All were displayed in moderate lighting, to be fair. This makes me pessimistic about working in color and getting common minilab or lightjett'd color prints.

    Is this because these are all cheap prints, or do all color prints do this? I know there is Cibachrome, which I doubt I have ever seen, but what about other processes?. I hear that B&W fiber-based prints should last 100+ years, nobody knows how long B&W RC prints last, but I don't really know about the archival properties of color chemistries or of inkjet printing.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2
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    In many places the color images are not analog prints on color photographic papers, but rather are made by a printing shop much the same way as your newspaper is printed. And, they use cheap inks.

    But, to answer your general question, yes, all color prints fade and over the years great progress has been made to stabilze the dyes so that they survive well with heat, humidity and light as well as atmospheric pollutants.

    Today, Ilfochrome, Kodak and Fuji products are reportedly stable for about 100 - 200 years depending on conditions. Digital prints are far less stable, lasting for under 60 years according to curators that I have talked to, and are also subject to image smear which does not take place with any analog paper.

    PE

  3. #3
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    Ron, by "digital prints", are you referring to inkjet prints? Most Kodak and Fuji color papers are now printed by digital minilabs, are they not?
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

  4. #4
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    I refer to inkjet prints regardless of the type of color fluid used. Yes. I do not refer to any analog material such as Endura or Crystal Archive, nor do I refer to Dye Transfer. I also do not refer to Ilfo/Ciba chromes.

    PE

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    I have a slightly off topic question as well. I have some color prints from the late sixties. They were always stored in the dark (boxed). They look as if they were printed yesterday. I also have some prints from the eighties and some of them look terribly faded. I assume it was bad processing, as they were never exposed to the light, except when viewing them. The prints from the sixties have a common characteristic: their back side feels like plain paper. Could they be fiber based? Were there any resin coated color paper back then?

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    Ektacolor 20 paper was both FB and RC, but Ektacolor 30, introduced in 1969 was all RC along with its Photofinisher counterpart. Dye stability varied with processing and with version with small ups and downs over the years, but some papers were surprisingly good and others very bad due to atmospheric pollutants and due to wash water among other things.

    It was about the time of Ektacolor Plus that the testing began including pollutants such as CO2 and SO2 which affect the image and also O3.

    PE

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    Thanks a lot PE.

  8. #8
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    Eventually, I think everything will fade. There are papers that last longer than others.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  9. #9

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    my uncle (2nd cousin 1ce removed in the descendancy for you geneologists )
    had some dye transfers he did in the 50s/60s hanging on his wall
    sunlight, and artificial light ... they were as beautiful as the day he made them ..
    if my apug gallery looks empty you might check these places

    website
    blog
    sell-site

  10. #10
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    I hear that B&W fiber-based prints should last 100+ years, nobody knows how long B&W RC prints last, but I don't really know about the archival properties of color chemistries or of inkjet printing.[/QUOTE]
    ****
    Cibachrome was once touted as the most stable color process. Ditto for the Polaroid shoot-out-the-front films.

    Archivally-processed and stored fiber prints shall last 100 plus years; not just any fb prints. When I did copywork and restoration, I told people that my copies of their ggparents' wedding pictures from the 18 70s, would last at least as long as their originals.

    Who knows about RC? I, myself, would never consider it for serious work I wish to last. Ditto for color.

    Who knows about the printing inks. Bottom line, if you wish your gg children to see your work, print it on fiber-based photo-paper and process it archivally.

    I have fiber prints I made in the early 1960s. They look fine and they were not archivally processed.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

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