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sanking
9-Jan-2016, 13:41
http://theagnosticprint.net/defining-archival-standards-in-photography-2/

A very interesting article that discusses the archival standard in photography.

Sandy

Bob Salomon
9-Jan-2016, 13:58
Caveman drawings are archival!

Randy Moe
9-Jan-2016, 14:05
500 years according to the Feds. http://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/PhotoGuidelines.pdf

This was posted in the job section here.

Oren Grad
9-Jan-2016, 14:12
Using this definition a photographic print is archival if it lasts as long as it is predicted to last.

For example, if a manufacturer publishes data predicting a life span of thirty years for a print material, and the print lasts without noticeable change for thirty years, it is an archival print.

Even allowing for the pervasive imprecision in use of the term "archival", without further qualification this makes no sense. By this standard, if a print medium has a specified life of 1 year and prints on that medium do indeed consistently last without noticeable change for 1 year, the medium is "archival".

Sal Santamaura
9-Jan-2016, 15:48
What does archival mean?The same thing the word "art" does. Anything anyone decides it means to them.

In other words, nothing.

Jim Fitzgerald
9-Jan-2016, 15:52
All I know is I print carbon transfer on fixed out fiber paper. I think we are good aren't we Sandy?

Jac@stafford.net
9-Jan-2016, 15:53
Even allowing for the pervasive imprecision in use of the term "archival", without further qualification this makes no sense. By this standard, if a print medium has a specified life of 1 year and prints on that medium do indeed consistently last without noticeable change for 1 year, the medium is "archival".

I understand the technicality, but has not the standard specified a greater lifetime regardless of the manufacturer's statement? I'm thinking of the transient quality of something like a Polaroid print, but others might quality.
.

Sal Santamaura
9-Jan-2016, 16:28
...has not the standard specified a greater lifetime regardless of the manufacturer's statement?...What "standard?" There ain't none. :D

Vaughn
9-Jan-2016, 16:29
All I know is I print carbon transfer on fixed out fiber paper. I think we are good aren't we Sandy?

Of course it will depend of the pigments we use, Jim...and the longevity of the paper we transfer the image onto. The image itself when made of carbon and gelatin -- the toughest inorganic and organic (respectively) materials around.

All I know is that one better not use a lousy image to make a carbon print -- it is going to be around for a long while!

John Kasaian
9-Jan-2016, 16:44
It means your arches have fallen.:rolleyes:

Kirk Gittings
9-Jan-2016, 18:59
It's similar to "all natural ingredients" in food labeling-doesn't mean much of anything unless the seller has scruples.

ShannonG
9-Jan-2016, 19:28
who can live this long anyway,to start to see a degrade of tonality,,,,,ask my glass plate collection...

Peter Lewin
9-Jan-2016, 20:27
This discussion reminds me of another thread we had on this forum a while back, on whether we really want our work to "live forever?" I would guess that my biggest question, and I suspect others may have similar concerns, is what my children will do with my boxes of archivally processed and mounted prints when they become the owners. Will the work be kept and valued, or will it molder in an attic, or (heaven forbid!) be discarded? Of course we can all hope that when we have passed away, our collections will be "discovered" as the work of the unsung geniuses we all would like to think we are (just like Vivian Maier, of course)! Which is not to say that we shouldn't take pride in our craftsmanship, making the most archival prints we can, merely that a lot of our archival work may not survive quite as long as it is physically capable of lasting.

ic-racer
9-Jan-2016, 21:20
ISO 18901:2010
Imaging materials -- Processed silver-gelatin-type black-and-white films -- Specifications for stability

LabRat
9-Jan-2016, 22:11
This discussion reminds me of another thread we had on this forum a while back, on whether we really want our work to "live forever?" I would guess that my biggest question, and I suspect others may have similar concerns, is what my children will do with my boxes of archivally processed and mounted prints when they become the owners. Will the work be kept and valued, or will it molder in an attic, or (heaven forbid!) be discarded? Of course we can all hope that when we have passed away, our collections will be "discovered" as the work of the unsung geniuses we all would like to think we are (just like Vivian Maier, of course)! Which is not to say that we shouldn't take pride in our craftsmanship, making the most archival prints we can, merely that a lot of our archival work may not survive quite as long as it is physically capable of lasting.

Yea Peter, I agree... If we are to go through the time/trouble/expense of shooting/printing our stuff, should we take shortcuts, when doing it right is just some extra steps??? Yes, sometimes compromises have to be made, but it feels better knowing that we have done all that we could do...

If I remember correctly, I had read an interview with (I think) Arnold Newman, who when asked about archival processing, told about a time at MOMA where (I think) Charles Sheeler was there before him, and was getting chewed out as some of his prints were turning, and was trying to defend that when they were made, there wasn't the info or the need to the archival standards that came later... (Newman then did everything he could to make sure his prints would last...)

We don't really know where our work will end up... Someone might cherish something we did...

And isn't it nice to know, that something we make could outlive us????

Steve K

Sal Santamaura
9-Jan-2016, 22:57
SO 18901:2010
Imaging materials -- Processed silver-gelatin-type black-and-white films -- Specifications for stability That's interesting, but not a definition of the word "archival."

In fact, it's a specification related only to the processing of certain films, has nothing to do with prints, and even says in its "Terms and definitions" section 3.5, "Life expectancy," that:


"In the past, the term “archival” was used to define material that could be expected to preserve images forever, so that such images could be retrieved without significant loss when properly stored. However, as no such material exists, this is now a deprecated term and is no longer used in International Standards for imaging materials or in systems specifications."

To reiterate, "archival" means nothing. :D

barnacle
10-Jan-2016, 01:32
Much as one might hate to say it, it seems possible that 'archival' might be a word that can be only applied once an image is stored, in the best resolution possible, in the digital domain. While there is still the obvious possibility that the technology needed to read a particular format might become unavailable (tried reading an eight inch floppy recently, or opening an early MS Word document?) there is usually an opportunity to transfer the information *without loss* between formats as the technology changes.

In a similar way, one might consider the *negative* to be the more long-lasting part of the imaging process. Make a print, with as close to exact as possible instructions on how to replicate it, and keep the negative in controlled atmosphere/temperature/humidity until it is needed again. That might not work for colour, of course, with fugitive dies in the film.

On the other hand: am I the only one who gets intensely irritated when walking into a gallery of paintings that the lights are so gloomy that under a couple of hundred years of dirt and cloudy varnish the original painting is all but impossible to see and certainly impossible to appreciate? It seems pointless to 'preserve' these million-pound paintings in a condition in which they can't be seen: photograph them, and display the photographs, replacing when faded. There seems to be some mythical status attached to the 'original'.

Neil

bob carnie
10-Jan-2016, 07:44
One of my clients father worked his whole career as a wedding portrait photographer, He also photographed over 10, 000 images of daily life of the Mennonite community he worked in and also participated in.

He processed with his sons all his black and white film , and as well sent out Kodachromes.

This community in Kitchener is a region of south western Ontario that I am familiar with and funny enough I was lucky enough to meet Mr Hunsberger in 76, at local PPOC meetings. Now 40 years later I am scanning a very large curated selection of his work and am making Platinum Palladium - Archival Prints- for his estate. This body of work will be seen in Canada and abroad and for future lovers of photography and history will purchase, view and cherish these images.

This is what archival means to me. The need and responsibility to keep in print memories of past eras for future eras to see. I have chosen Pt Pd for many reasons, look , feel, texture- but primarily for the results the article Sandy links us too.

Something must have driven Mr Hunsberger to record this small fraction of time, I am glad the Conrad Grebel Museum and the family have the generosity to allow it to be printed.

Drew Wiley
25-Jan-2016, 12:05
It's all relative, since there are so very many potential storage and display variables. But institutions like museums do need certain threshold standards. Merely
slapping a label on a product, or some narrowly-defined accelerated-aging test doesn't cut it, however. Nothing is absolutely permanent. Even the people who built
the Sphinx or Egypt would probably be skinned alive if the Pharaoh who commissioned that project could see what kind of shape it is in today.

Mark Sawyer
25-Jan-2016, 12:29
Archival means when you die and your heirs throw your life's work in a dumpster, it will be in pristine condition.

Drew Wiley
29-Jan-2016, 09:21
Depends on the neighborhood the dumpster is in. I want my prints thrown into one down the street from a pizza parlor. Then when the bums are scrounging in it,
and find a pile of matboard with ketchup dripping on it, and compare it to the pizza crusts in the dumpster down the street, I will be immortalized for inventing a
better tasting crust, and the bums will become rich from the franchise.

swmcl
30-Jan-2016, 00:58
An archival photograph is one that is scanned and stored on M-Disk.

M-disk is a high density DVD type media that has a layer of organic compounds a bit similar to a very thin layer of rock. The laser burns the image in digital form into the rock effectively... The Wikipedia article quotes a certain firm which claims 1000 year longevity.

Normal DVD has a pigment layer I believe.

:-)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC

barnacle
31-Jan-2016, 00:53
Any claim to longevity which exceeds the time a technology has been used should, with all due respect, be taken with a pinch of salt.

Most of this kind of testing is down to accelerated heat/cooling cycles, and/or exposure to concentrated exposure to light and chemical conditions expected to be seen by the product but they don't - and can't - take into account the actual conditions which the product will see, and they are at best extrapolations in good faith.

It is after all very easy to claim a thousand year life in the full knowledge that whatever happens, the seller is unlikely to be around to answer any claims in fifty...

Neil

swmcl
2-Feb-2016, 16:45
Agreed!

But the testing must indeed show a pretty stable product all the same. My bet is at least 200 years. That is one-fifth their claim and can surely only be considered a conservative bet.

200 years would be pretty much a guarantee and that'll do me given that if one could get the data off the disk in 200 years to print it, the printed copy has a headstart.

Not to mention that there are a myriad of technologies between now and then that may well make the digitised image even more 'archival'.

The important thing is to get the original into digital form because the optical process of enlargement itself is very hard to come by. Good luck finding a optical enlargement lab in 20 years for your 8x10 films !

Anyway ... who wants to see my stuff ?!

Drew Wiley
2-Feb-2016, 17:08
So what's the evidence that Wickedpedia is itself worthy of being called archival? How many centuries has it been monitored for reliability? I'm not very good at math or physics and can't quite understand all this curved universe stuff. I do know about accelerated aging tests, and do know about marketing and its rather
liberal use of something called the BS Coefficient. An original is an original. "Digital form" is something else. If I ever get to visit Egypt, I don't want to see what
the pyramids look like in digital form.

Michael A. Smith
2-Feb-2016, 17:25
Paula and I take every care and guarantee our prints for 1000 years. There is a catch, however. The guarantee is non-transferable.

Michael A. Smith

swmcl
3-Feb-2016, 02:01
Ha!

So Michael, if I could print onto Lodima paper from say a nice Durst digital printer (or the equivalent) I could then offer a product with a 1000 year guarantee that is transferable ... a point of difference in my favour !

:-)

(I'll stop now ...)

Drew Wiley
5-Feb-2016, 09:26
To be an authentic original print, you have to be around to make it yourself! I hoot and holler every day about "fine-print" too-good-to-be-true 50-year or even "lifetime" warranties by shady manufacturing or marketing entities that aren't likely themselves to be in business more than a couple of years before going into
the non-transferable vortex of yet another vulture capitalism scheme. There goes your warranty down the drain with it! Analogously, if you want to offer a 200
year warranty on your prints, for example, then you have to live at least that long to honor it! And the same materials would have to be available. Or if it's
the gallery backing the warranty, just how long do many of those business ventures survive???? There is one highly reputable manufacturer who puts into print
the following: "Our warranty is our reputation. Period."