Donald, With fiber based prints being porous how does anyone really know that every bit of chemical is removed, because the chemicals soak into the print surface. With RC everything stays on the surface and washes off pretty easy. I am not sure why Clyde had a problem, all I know is my own personal experience.
There are tests for both residual thiosulfate and silver.
I haven't used RC for anything since the mid 80's so perhaps they have made some improvements in the material. I choose to learn by other's experiences and they indicate that they have recent problems with image stability with RC.
By the way, have you determined when RC was introduced? I seem to think that the images you identify as RC (45 years old) are not RC...But I may be wrong in my memory. If anyone has that information, I would appreciate knowing for sure.
Donald, I am not really sure about the prints I was referring to, they have a glossy surface so I just assumed they were RC. I may well be wrong about it being RC, I will have to research it on line after I have my dinner. I hope that you have a good evening.
That means that your customers start saying to their friends "black and white sucks and it isn't worth taking home." Pretty soon the word gets around and it makes no difference if David, Mike, Lee and everyone else who cares about what we do and make our prints on fiber based paper and are processed to archival standards is going to get the benefit of your trying to shortside and cut corners.
Beyond that those of us who care about what we put out the door are going to have to justify why are work is worth more then your RC...all in all a wonderful gift that you are handing to us.
Let me give you a premature and preemptive big "THANK YOU"
Exactly the same could be said of someone producing fiber prints who is sloppy with the print washing or who doesn't bother toning. In fact I'd bet that a poorly washed fiber print will deteriorate quicker than a poorly washed RC print. Don't go accusing RC printers of spoiling it for you because of the early poor history of certain RC papers. If anything it's the ongoing bigotry of fiber printers who perpetuate the problem.
And why do you think that those producing RC prints don't care about their work? That's very presumptuous. Do I not care about my work because despite careful washing, toning and archival mounting I'm still not using fiber paper?
There is no evidence to suggest that a modern RC paper when properly processed, washed and toned will not last at least as long as a fiber print. Granted there's no evidence in favour either but that is no reason to dismiss RC outright and claim it is spoiling the party for all.
I print on RC and I'd be happy selling fine art on RC. I'd also be happy offering a lifetime guarantee on the print providing it was properly cared for. If someone wants the same print on fiber then the price is tripled because that is how much extra work is involved. That extra work has nothing to do with the care I put in to the print either but simply the extra efforts and cost to get the print in a fit state for sale when compared to RC.
In my opinion there's no telling between the two when framed behind glass and if someone can have a print with the same longevity for one third the price I think they'd be happy with that.
You can download the Wilhelm Research book "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" from here: http://www.wilhelm-research.com/book_toc.html (80MB so you'd better have broadband!). Despite its name, there are mentions of B&W RC (and FB) paper. IIRC, up to 100 years was their suggested lifetime for modern RC paper when properly processed. It also explains some of the reasons for failure of RC prints.
"I'd also be happy offering a lifetime guarantee on the print providing it was properly cared for."
Interesting use of language...whose lifetime? And if it fails in the terms of the defined lifetime, who assigns responsibility?
Well where does responsibility lie in case of a bad fiber print sold by a gallery? You talk as if I'm attempting to be deliberately deceptive in my wording. If anything I would say it is the exact opposite - it at least shows an explicit level of responsibility over a print. We can argue the toss over assignment of responsibility as and when (not forgetting if) there's a problem. No doubt there would be similar examples of prints elsewhere which could be used for comparison - that would probably be a good starting point.
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
At any rate, good luck to you if RC is consistant with what you want to produce.
Interesting use of language yourself there. As I said, there's still plenty of bigotry around. And if not bigotry then certainly snobbery.
When I worked for Ilford as a technical writer (1974 - 1976) I was involved with the Ilfospeed launch. I believe this was the first RC paper on the British market at least. I remember that the original internal product brief on which I was basing the advertising material I wrote described Ilfospeed as "archivally permanent" on the basis of its freedom from residual chemicals when correctly processed. Just before launch there was a panic when Ilfospeed prints which were under test exposed to sunlight in a glass case on the roof of the building exhibited problems due (as far as I recall) to breakdown of the plasticizer in the RC base.
We continued with the launch, pulled all references to "archivally permanent" in our literature and started working very hard to fix the problem. This was achieved after a month or two, I still have boxes of prints I made in the Technical Service lab on the old Ilford site which are OK after 30 years (as were others which I had on display in sunlight for a number of years).
I have no qualms today about selling RC prints, although fiber-based paper has a different tactile quality and arguably greater depth as long as it is not under glass (in which case the difference really disappears). One big difference is suitability for toning - any toning process which involves bleach can make the emulsion of RC paper so soft immediately after the bleach that it will wipe off at the touch of a finger!