Being the last Ilfochrome lab in Australia I can say with pride that our work is not at all local. Our ilfochrome printing is requested from world wide sources because its become harder to access globally and because we are bloody good at what we do. Our Clients who often fly down with their work include The Magnum Agency, The Tate, The Getty and a long list of other world renown leading fine art photographers, facilities, and collectors. When these clients request prints it is expected that if contrast ,colour and density masking is required along with a long list of other tricks and techniques for an optimum print output then that is what MUST BE and IS ALWAYS DONE.
As for your claims of Cibachrome fading fast I'm very concerned by this as we have Cibas that have been exposed to (Harsh Australian) light for 25 years and as any of my clients can see its as rich as the moment it came off the processor. Were you running control strips? I'de be asking some very serious questions to the manafactures is your materials were fading because ours certainly dont.
As for colour ilfords colour gamut not being as extensive as Fuji Flex ... I'm lost for words have you actually printed a transparency by hand onto ilfochrome, printed the same transparency from scan then digital output via lambda onto ilfochrome, Scan from transparency (adjusted) then film recorded back to transparency and then hand printed or lastly printed the same transparency from scan to digital output onto fuji flex and compared the results?
As for price of ilfochrome. The cost is representative of the fine product it is and the level of mastery required to produce a fine print from it. Ilfochrome is not expensive when you take into proper consideration the quality of the material your printing onto. I should also state when your printing photographic works that have sold at auction in excess of $180,000.oo a few hundred dollars worth of ilfochrome materials really is a drop in the bucket. I guess its a question of how good is the photographic work your printing? and is it worthy of such a material. Perhaps your clientele was not suited to such material and you had to let it go.
Returning to your first statement as to why less labs are now doing ilfochrome being lack of demand ( i argue that its lack of labs having the skills, the care and the desire to produce perfection. There is a thriving business in ilfochrome. And it is a solid and stable financial investment for us. Im sorry you weren't able to tap into it.) I am also sorry that you had to ditch your processor. Did you not have the bleach bridge designed for the ilfochrome colenta processor so you could also process Mural sized traditional black and white prints through it in the event ilfochrome failed as a marketable option? Im not going to argue the benefits of ilfochrome the facts are out there and the leading collections around the world holding our ilfochromes and the ilfochromes of other labs are testimony to that.
Also I want to thank Ilford for their wonderful ongoing product support.
Ilfochrome ...nothing more needs to be said.