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  1. #11
    jnanian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Multi Format
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post

    If you plan on toning, you simply must print differently than you normally would. It takes practice (i.e. trial and error) to figure out exactly how.

    You can search the archives for endless discussion about toning and it's results. I have decided that for "archival permanence," selenium (or any) toning really is not needed, and it doesn't really do anything worth while unless it changes the color and density of the print anyhow (which I usually do not want).

    Just run a nice and clean two-fixer-bath process with plenty of rinses (and hypo clear), and the stuff will be better processed than most old prints I have seen that are absolutely fine, and that is in fairly poor storage conditions!

    I used to work for a museum exhibit preparation company organizing, cataloging, editing, restoring, and reproducing (digitizing via copy stand and hand printing) huge collections of vintage historical negatives, prints, and transparencies; and I also worked for an estate sales company, where I tried to hold onto complete family photo "archives" whenever possible, rather than seeing them split up for 50 cents or a dollar a print. I have personally handled literally over 100,000 OLD photographs (back the the 19-oughts was fairly common) and film frames. It was very rare that any print suffered any degradation of the silver itself. Water damage, stains, folds, holes, chips, tears of the base, sure. But very rarely would a print be "silvering out" or yellowing, and those cases were usually snapshots poorly stored in crummy cardboard in a hot environment. Don't throw your prints into low-quality cardboard boxes and stuff them in a hot garage, and then expect them to be perfect years from now when your grandchild pulls them out after your funeral (though based on what I have seen, they just might be fine, even in those terrible conditions).

    Based on what I have seen and worked with, the main keys to archival permanence are clean processing and proper storage. Don't get me wrong; toning can only help. But I'd only use it if you want the color change; it should not be viewed as an absolutely necessary part of an "archival" process IMHO. There is no reason you should compromise your desired image color simply for sake of achieving "archival permanence." It is simply unnecessary.

    FYI, there is a product called Sistan that may be of interest to you. It will make you feel a bit better about archival issues, but without changing the color of your print.

    This is not an argument against toning in general. I am just trying to say that I do not think it should be used simply for the sake of improving the archival qualities of a print, at the expense of unwanted contrast and color changes.
    its funny that you say this,
    i have done archival ( HABS/ HAER ) documentations for federal and state
    archives for 20 years and the standards do not require selenium toning ..
    as you said, it helps, but it isn't necessary ...

    good luck tkamiya !


  2. #12

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Multi Format
    I was asked about Sistan in a PM, so I found something online about it at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Ar.../archival.html. The following paragraphs are probably worth considering in regards to this discussion:

    "Other Treatments: Agfa makes a product called Sistan, and Fuji makes a similar product called AG Guard, which is used to treat prints after washing. Thomas Wollstein has corresponded with Agfa regarding Sistan, and tells us that Sistan contains potassium thiocyanate and a wetting agent--it works by converting oxidized silver ions in the emulsion to a stable, insoluble salt. Robert Chapman states that Sistan “...precipitates any silver ion formed by oxidation in the form of silver thiocyanate (AgSCN). Silver Thiocyanate is colorless and virtually light-insensitive.” But Sistan only works as long as the thiocyanate stays in the emulsion, so Agfa recommends that Sistan be used as a final treatment, after washing and before drying--if it is washed out, archival benefits are probably lost.

    "According to Doug Nishimura, “before any silver deterioration can occur, silver must be oxidized into silver ion. Even air and moisture can act as a strong enough oxidizing combination to cause damage.” He notes that “...there is always a small amount of ionic silver in equilibrium with silver metal in a photographic image.” But, whether the ionic silver already exists in the emulsion or is caused by pollutants, thiocyanate combines with it, thereby stabilizing it as an inert salt which will not cause image degradation. Sistan is said to be fully compatible with toning treatments. I should note that Dupont 6-T Gold Toner contains potassium thiocyanate, and Kodak GP-1 contains sodium thiocyanate, but I do not know if either is in sufficient quantity to be as effective as Sistan is alleged to be--also, prolonged washing would negate any benefit derived therefrom. Robert Chapman states that, though he has inquired several times, Agfa has not provided him with substantive documentation to prove the effectiveness of Sistan. He allows, however, that “..it makes sense on theoretical grounds.” Other sources on the world-wide-web hint that Sistan may not be effective over the long term, but there is no hard data to back this up either.

    "Long Term Stability: Doug Nishimura of RIT’s Image Permanence Institute has emphasized repeatedly that image permanence is tied more to storage conditions than to processing. No matter how carefully processed an image is, if it is subjected to atmospheric pollutants it will be liable to degrade. In a letter to Jennifer Scott of the State Library of South Australia, he tells an anecdote about photographic prints on display in a gallery that suffered deterioration in a matter of weeks in the form of orange spots, which resulted from the fumes produced by a repainting of the gallery walls prior to the exhibit. In a web post he states: '...we find that of the thousands of photographs examined here at IPI, we rarely find deterioration from hypo retention. Virtually all of the fading seen in photographs has been caused by [contaminants in] air and moisture.'"

    Of course, this is off of the Internet, so you have to be careful about such claims. Most notably, I don't know who any of the named sources are.

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Central Florida, USA
    Multi Format
    I intend to display some of my own work on walls of my hallway. It will be inside of a regular frame made from archival quality materials. All of my works are double fixed, HCA, and washed for 30 minutes. Some are selenium toned, some aren't, and I'm considering SISTAN per above recommendation. This hallway is lit via natural lighting during the day. I wonder how photographs of different treatment will fare under this condition.

    Are there any comparative studies on this?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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