I have had discussions with Henry Wilhelm (on and off since his original talk and recently in 2006 for 3 hours) and I find that there is a LOT of disagreement on this issue of image stability.
Your 2 cents is most appreciated. Do you know if he made these tissues himself? It'd be really interesting to compare the hue of these against the UltraStable sheets. I hope you can get around to doing color soon.
Originally Posted by Jim Fitzgerald
As per melinex, it is interesting to think that we invented these materials within the last 60 years (+/-) and therefore how can we really know if they'll last. Hopefully though... because I just bought a 1000' of polyester film sleeving.
PE, I get the feeling that you and Henry Wilhelm don't agree on some things ? ? Also, when talking about longevity, you're mainly questioning the support, not the carbon colors themselves, right?
To me, the idea of using a high quality artist's paper is the most fool proof in terms of longevity. This, we know about.
When transferring the carbon layers to the UltraStable receiving film, does it adhere to the pure melinex, and the opaque backing is on the other (base) side? Or is there an opaque subbing layer on the carbon/"emulsion" side?
Interesting thread. Last week i posted an article on DPUG that i wrote for the current issue of AG ( The international journal of photographic art and practice) that highlights the use of Ultrastable for Pigment Transfer prints that you might find interesting, you can view it here http://www.dpug.org/forums/f29/multi...t-future-2452/
Originally Posted by holmburgers
Permaprint was a studio that probably used the most Ultrastable back in the 90's and I was fortunate enough to interview one of the printers who did most of Sarah Moon's pigment prints in the article. It would be good to hear whether Charles would start making some more as he I believe he would have a good number of people interested in purchasing some stock, me included. BTW how much did those packs cost you?
Last edited by Davec101; 05-11-2011 at 01:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Whew, I am glad to see all the interest in Ultrastable (where were you guys when we were making the stuff?) To begin:
1. Color Print Stability: Dyes and pigments have varying degrees of "stability" but in general, the dyes used to make color photographs (Dye-Transfer, chromogenic , Ilfochrome etc ) change (stain, lighten, darken, and/or etc) upon exposure to light. Some will even deteriorate (eg: Kodak's type C) when kept in the dark because the chemicals used to process the print remain in the photomaterials and continue to be reactive to their environment. A print made by the dye-transfer process by comparison, in which the processing chemicals are removed (Ilfochrome too), is essentially dark-stable. However, the final image is formed by dyes that will show changes in density, color and color balance when exposed to light. Not recognizing the important difference between dark keeping and light-stability was the basis for the myth that dye-transfer prints didn't fade.
Pigment assembly processes such as carbon and carbro use color pigments that are typically highly light stable. Ultrastable films used pigments that were developed for the automotive industry (no cadmium here) which required bright, non-fading paints for their cars. Which means that the ultimate measure of the display life of a color print made using highly-light stable pigments is not light-fastness (500+ years according to Wilhelm), but rather the physical integrity of the print. As has been pointed out, 500 years is a long time and it is difficult to fast forward time for testing purposes. Adhesion, cohesion, cracking - not to mention fungal and bacterial growth- are among the types of problems most likely to determine the actual (very) long term display life limits of these kinds of color print materials.
2. Ultrastable Pigment Films (CMYK)-- were made by coating a layer of pigmented gelatin containing a diazo-type sensitizer on a dimensionally stable base. It was a non-toxic, pre-sensitized, pin-registered version of the process Ducos duHauron used to make the first color print in 1869. Ultrastable pigment transfer prints were made on a variety of bases, including PET "Melinex", fine-art watercolor and hand-made papers. The color print films were designed to be used with high-resolution (300dpi and up) or random-dot separation negatives. The process is still in use today, with fine art photographers/printers such as Tod Gangler and John Bentley using the last of the materials along with freshly made (by themselves) films. The current Sarah Moon show at Fahey-Klein in Los Angeles, featuring color carbon's printed by Tod Gangler, is a fine example of the possibilities of the Ultrastable process.
In a few days, I'll post a PDF of the UltraStable lab manual for those who may find it to be of interest.
Thanks for posting Charles, I went to visit Adam Lowe in Madrid last year which the article features, who I am sure you can remember from the past. Is it possible for you to start making more Ultrastable if the demand was there?
Last edited by Davec101; 05-11-2011 at 01:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Thank you for posting Mr Berger, I have sent you an email ,, but for all APUGers that are following this thread..
CMB is a legend and I am so happy that he is on this thread, thrilled in fact.
I look forward to the manual and like Dave C will follow this .
Sandy King is in the room outside right now teaching 10 people how to make carbon tissue and prints in my working darkroom . lets just say the advent of neg making has made this process practical for us all.
I have spent some time in Maine 1 week in the early 90's using this product and John Bentley is in Toronto and I have watched his progress , from the time he was staying with me, to him buying his bus , to going to Mexico and his meeting Todd Gangler.
I plan to follow this with interest as any serious printer would.
Everything I said was either learned by experimentation or in the ICIS short course on Image Stability that I took in 2006. The course was taught by an ANSI image stability committee member, and Henry Wilhelm was also an ANSI committee member at that time. I met Henry when he gave his first talk in the 80s, and he and I toured the Image Permanence Institute at RIT together and talked about image stability for nearly 3 hours in 2006, the day I took that course. I can say that I see both sides of this picture and there is no agreement in the industry on this. Since both methods give quite different results though, I have to take a wait and see attitude and point out both positions.
Originally Posted by holmburgers
I hope you see my POV.
As for the later comments here by Mr. Berger, there are some points that I would differ with. For example, Ilfochrome does retain some of the dye fragments after processing, just as Kodak and Fuji products wash out most harmful ingredients and leave behind dye stabilizers. I agree with his comments on the stability of supports. Much has been done on the stability of Kodak and Fuji supports, but what has been done on the UltraStable suppor?
Again, we just have to wait and see.
Davec, thanks for posting the link over to your DPUG thread. I saw that but haven't had a chance to read the whole thing. As for what I paid for these sheets... only shipping actually! I have a very generous collaborator who is helping me to develop the dichromated-gelatin dye-transfer process and he knew of my interest in color carbon. I wouldn't let the lack of commercially available color-carbon tissues discourage you from trying to make your own. Not sure of the current state, but the folks at Bostick & Sullivan were working on it, and if we can find a good source for the pigments, it's something worth trying on our own.
I suspected the use of a diazo sensitizer, which is something I know very little about, only that it is used in screen printing and a diazo sensitizer is available through Speedball. Does it have properties similar to dichromates? For instance, could a monochrome carbon printer be just as satisfied with this kind of sensiziter or are there limitations? It's nice to know that there might be an alternative to the inevitable day when dichromates become outlawed (fingers cross-linked.... carbon joke there...)
Ok, so knowing this, I'm looking forward to the lab manual. In my ignorance, I might've tried to clear the print with sodium bisulfite.
Somewhere I read that continuous tone negatives are just as suited for U.S., but are there any caveats in using them?
Lastly, I'm curious how Luis Nadeau fits into the picture. For being the leading author on the topic of color carbon, I'm surprised his name hasn't popped up yet.
Thanks for everyone who is contributing to the thread.
There is a lot of knowledge about one of the finest printing methods I've ever seen in this thread. Like Bob said anyone who is a serious printer should be following with interest.
Originally Posted by holmburgers
I have transferred my carbons to Melinex with no prep to the surface at all either side. I'm saving what I have for color work in the future. There is a huge learning curve for me I think.
Thanks for the compliment to my countries ancestors , but I think you are giving them to much credit... It is well known that at least some of the organic, but also some of the inorganic, pigments used in the heydays of Dutch painting (16-17th century), were fugitive and could fade rather easily. For pigments used by 19th century painters, a time when many new and untested pigments came available, the situation was even worse. Some of the famous Van Gogh paintings, and the colors therein, are rapidly "fading" to ugly greys and browns, due to use of at the time "novel" pigments... :
Originally Posted by holmburgers
See also this excerpt from this page about Vermeer:
"It is believed that the curious bluish tone of the foliage in The Little Street is due to the fact that the yellow lake, which mixed together with a blue original created the proper green tone, has faded with time. One of the names given to a common yellow lake was "schijtgeel", weld or fading yellow as it is called. As almost every other painters of the time, Vermeer used, red madder, a ruby red pigment noted for its brilliancy and transparency, but fugitive when applied in very thin layers. Madder is an organic pigment derived from the roots of the madder plant. Vermeer glazed (see glaze - glazing and Vermeer's palette for an in-depth study of artist's pigments) . The rather dull appearance of some of the flesh tones in Vermeer's faces may be due to the fact that red madder, has faded leaving the white/yellow mixture to dominate. Another example of a glaze which has in time faded in Vermeer's painting can be found in the Girl with a Pearl Earring. Presently, the picture's background appears uneven and spotted. During the 1994-1995 restoration it became clear that this appearance had been caused by the degraded composition of a peculiar glaze used by Vermeer. It was ascertained that the background was originally meant to have a deep greenish tone which can no longer been seen. Vermeer had glazed a very transparent layer of indigo mixed with weld over the dark black underpainting. Indigo and weld are both pigments of organic origin. Indigo is deep blue dyestuff derived from the indigo plant, weld is a natural yellow dyestuff obtained from the flowers of the wouw or woude plant as it was called in Dutch. Mixed together with a rich binding medium (linseed oil) they form a transparent greenish tone. Weld was widely used for dying silk since it was one of the purest and yellow shades available but was equally valuable to the artist. It seems that Vermeer used indigo only rarely."
And this Scientific American article about some of the Van Gogh color problems caused by an at the time modern chromium based yellow switching oxidation state:
Last edited by Marco B; 05-11-2011 at 12:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true.
" - William M. Ivins Jr.
"I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White.
" - David Burnett in 1978
"Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?