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DannyTreacy
5-Dec-2018, 10:02
Iím looking into toning fibre prints to provide archival qualities for an upcoming exhibition and also to control the tones a bit.

Is selenium toning the best way to go about this?

If not what are my other options?

Thanks all!

Pere Casals
5-Dec-2018, 10:23
Here from page 109 you have basic toning information: https://silveronplastic.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/the-darkroom-cookbook-3rd-ed-s-anchell-elsevier-2008-ww.pdf

For advanced knowledge you can read "The Photographer's Toning Book: The Definitive Guide" , Tim Rudman

koraks
5-Dec-2018, 12:04
Assuming your exhibition will last shorter than a few decades, I assume that longevity is not necessarily a concern from the viewpoint of the exhibition itself. As to toning for permanence: binding the silver with selenium is one way to do it, but toning needs to be complete for longevity as light toning will only treat a minor portion of the silver. Apart from selenium toning, sulphur toning achieves a similar goal in terms of permanence, but with a dramatically different aesthetic. In addition, replacing the silver with gold, platinum and palladium naturally also benefits permanence.

However, personally, I would worry too much also out the permanence of untoned prints given that they are sufficiently washed and fixed. I think this is much more important than toning. In itself, a properly fixed and washed silver image is already quite stable.

DannyTreacy
5-Dec-2018, 12:44
Here from page 109 you have basic toning information: https://silveronplastic.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/the-darkroom-cookbook-3rd-ed-s-anchell-elsevier-2008-ww.pdf

For advanced knowledge you can read "The Photographer's Toning Book: The Definitive Guide" , Tim Rudman

Thanks for the link Pere.

DannyTreacy
5-Dec-2018, 12:46
Assuming your exhibition will last shorter than a few decades, I assume that longevity is not necessarily a concern from the viewpoint of the exhibition itself. As to toning for permanence: binding the silver with selenium is one way to do it, but toning needs to be complete for longevity as light toning will only treat a minor portion of the silver. Apart from selenium toning, sulphur toning achieves a similar goal in terms of permanence, but with a dramatically different aesthetic. In addition, replacing the silver with gold, platinum and palladium naturally also benefits permanence.

However, personally, I would worry too much also out the permanence of untoned prints given that they are sufficiently washed and fixed. I think this is much more important than toning. In itself, a properly fixed and washed silver image is already quite stable.

Thanks for the info on other toners, the relevance of ensuring archival properties is for collectors rather than the exhibition itself.

koraks
5-Dec-2018, 12:57
From a collector's viewpoint, the issue of permanence is certainly a relevant one. Unfortunately, reliable information on permanence is scarce, there are billions of parameters that influence it making any attempt at standardization across printers more or less futile, structured testing is rare if it is done at all, and in the end the issue of permanence is one of those 'only time can tell' things. There is a huge amount of talk and advice on the issue, while only part of it can be substantiated on theoretical grounds and much less can be based on experimental evidence. This doesn't help much. We can usually only extrapolate from more convenient experiences and experiments, and of course attempt to translate theories into our practical ways of working.

In terms of a rough idea of theory, the issues of fixing and washing are fairly well-understood and to some extent also verifiable; see the recent thread on print fixing times for an excellent piece of advice in one of the longer posts. In terms of toning, there are two fundamental approaches to improving longevity: (1) binding the silver with another compound to make it less susceptible to external influences or (2) replacing the silver with more noble metals that inherently better resist external influences. Selenium and sepia toning fall into category (1), while gold, palladium and platinum toning fall into category (2). In both cases, however, it is a logical consequence of the working principle that the more complete the toning is, the more the potential of optimal longevity is realized.

This means that I, personally, at least on theoretical grounds, am very suspicious of workflows relying on 'brief selenium toning without affecting the look of the silver image for permanence'. As a matter of consequence, brief selenium toning will only touch a small part of the silver, leaving the vast majority unaffected. This will contribute only marginally to the permanence of the image and its longevity will primarily be a function of fixing and washing regime, and not of toning.

Andrew O'Neill
5-Dec-2018, 13:05
Selenium toner is a good, economical way to tone, increase Dmax, and protect your fibre prints.

esearing
5-Dec-2018, 15:45
I remember reading somewhere that permanently mounted prints last longer than loose mounted prints (in testing) as it blocks moisture intrusion from the back of the print. Assuming quality products are used for mounting and backing.

Selenium can shift the color of the print depending on paper and developer choices.

Peter De Smidt
5-Dec-2018, 15:51
Another source to check out is Way Beyond Monochrome, by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse. Kodak Selenium toner has, apparently, changed over the years. Current versions don't give the same protection that older ones do. Some recommend polysulphide toning in addition to selenium toning, if you want maximum permanence with minimal color shift.

DannyTreacy
6-Dec-2018, 00:36
Another source to check out is Way Beyond Monochrome, by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse. Kodak Selenium toner has, apparently, changed over the years. Current versions don't give the same protection that older ones do. Some recommend polysulphide toning in addition to selenium toning, if you want maximum permanence with minimal color shift.

Great tip thanks!

Jerry Bodine
6-Dec-2018, 12:54
Another source to check out is Way Beyond Monochrome, by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse. ...

Agreed, Peter, but it should be noted that the current 2nd Edition is the version to seek.

Drew Wiley
9-Dec-2018, 20:00
Very few "collectible" silver-gelatin prints are actually toned heavily enough to alter all the susceptible silver. If you're worried about that, never collect an Ansel Adam's or Brett Weston or Minor White print (or just about anyone else I can think of). Most of us use toners for the relative improvement in permanence they provide, but more for how they alter image color and DMax. I mostly use gold chloride to cool image tone, selenium, and sulfide brown, sometimes combined for split toning effects. Back in the 19th C, horrible urban pollution due to coal, along with improper fixing and acidic paper pulp mounting affected silver emulsion permanence.