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Thread: Toning and Permanence

  1. #41
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Toning and Permanence

    "This is true Paul, but you fail to take into account doses. A bacteria sized organism is far more suceptible to minute amounts than what we would be. A better example is the bacteria found in your septic tank. We know that even very dilute solutions of fixer will mess it up."

    My only point is that silver in its reduced metal form is not toxic, but in its ionic form as thiosulfate it is. Likewise the fact that one particular selenium compount kills fungus does not automatically mean that another one will do the same. I don't think that grinding up your silverware and flushing it down the toilet would mess up your septic tank organisms. I also doin't think you'd have an easy time getting funding for that particular experiment

    As far as a place to grow mold, my fridge seems to do just fine. Last check there were already a few active experiments in the vegetable crisper.

  2. #42

    Toning and Permanence

    Silver is not the element in question, it is selenium, and wether silver selenide can be a fungicide.

    As to your fridge, remind me not to accept a dinner invitation at your place.....or at least to pass on the salad... :-)

  3. #43
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    Toning and Permanence

    Yes, I know you're talking about silver selenide. I used silver as an example of the principle. We know selenium sulfide is a fungicide; this does not tell us if silver selenide is a fungicide.

    And I'm sad to hear you're not looking forward to my vintage salad. I thought you prefered older processes ...

  4. #44

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    Toning and Permanence

    Someone back where this thread was worth reading asked why Selenium tones the shadows first. The reason is that the silver particles in the shadows are larger and less filamentous then in the highlights. It is quite common in reactions with and on small crystallites that you find the reaction proceeds very differently on different crystal faces, and the presence of steps and corners becomes important too. Thin spindly structures made from an atomic lattice tend to have lots of steps on their surfaces, and rather small crystal faces - envision
    making a smoothly curved shape from Lego. Another example is the noble metal catalysts in your car exhaust: if you make the particles too small they stop working as catalysts. It's the same thing at work.

    Selenium is toxic, but only mildly so to oxygen breathers - bacteria that metabolise sulpher have a harder time coping with it. I don't know about funghi. Selenium is also highly mobile in the environment, which makes it more of a risk than contaminants that stay put. FWIW, the first and so-far only contaminant from the Hanford Tanks to reach California via the groundwater is Selenium.

    Dismissing Nishimura's work as just 'an opinon' is bizarre. If you are not prepared to do your own experiments and you are not prepared to take the word of the acknowledged expert in the field, I submit that you are not really interested in the question. I have done original published work on how molecules stick to TiO2, and Nishimura's comments on singlet oxygen and RC bronzing are the only ones that have ever made sense to me. None of what he says about toning and permanance contradicts my knowledge of atomic-scale physics and chemistry. Much of what his critics have said here comes across as waffle, or at least using the vague and general to generate the appearance of having dismissed a particular.

    Inkjets, Pt prints, septic tanks and 'posters' is just a smokescreen. The important point is that Selenium toning gives a measure of protection, but not as much as sulphiding toners. That's a useful fact. Not many of us deliberately dip our prints in peroxide, but the fact is that a typical household atmosphere now contains far more oxidants, particularly organic ones, than the households of the past. It is likely that resistance to environmental oxidation will be more important for my prints than for my grandfathers'. Were I making silver prints with a view to posterity, I would use a sulphiding toner.

  5. #45
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    Toning and Permanence

    Practical Considerations ...

    Ok, so for the gullible among us, like Struan and me, who entertain the possibility that Nishimura might not be a quack and that his research might call into question the writing on the Kodak bottle, the question is what are the best options. Best baased on what we know or suspect right now.

    Sulfide toners might be the most archival, but I don't know too many people who like the way they look, at least for most of their work. I experimented years ago with kodak brown toner (potassium polysulfide) and polytoner (polysulfide/selenium) and got tones from deep chocolate brown to purple and lavender browns. They aren't subtle. Polytoner gives some control, brown toner is all or nothing. same with bleach and redevelop toners like sepia.

    I experimented briefly with old thiorea toners called DuPont Thiocarbamide Toners for Varigam. More control, but not compelling enough to use. I have the formula if anyone's interested.

    These are all very warm, sulfide developers.

    There's GP-1 and GP-2, mentioned in the articles. I haven't used them but they're popular. I believe you could use these in addition to selenium, if selenium gives you a look that you like.

    No experience or knowledge about anything like Sistol.

    For the last 12 years, almost all of my silver prints have been toned in Nelson Gold toner, over a light toning of selenium. On Fortezo (RIP) this combination gave beautiful cool brown tones. I have never seen any tests done on nelson gold, or even a studied explanation for how it works, but the general understanding is that it creates silver sulfide and also plates the image with gold. So there's a chance it's good protection. It gives a controllable, progressive tone. Color can be controlled by dilution, toning time, previous toning in selenium, and the way the paper was developed. It stops working when the gold chloride runs out (replenishable) or when it gets killed by contaminants, like chlorine.

    For cooler or neutral tones, I imagine the other gold toners would be a better bet. GP-2, which I hadn't heard of before, sounds promising. Anyone tried it?

    On the subject of optical brighteners, I'm curious to see what research has been done. Bob Livick on livick.com did some accelerated aging tests (using sunlight and and oven autoclave) and found some interesting things. Hahnemuhle photorag, with optical brighteners, did not yellow even after extremely drawn out abuse. Moab Entrada, another 100% rag paper with a natural finish and no brighteners, did yellow. These weren't controlled studies, but they raise some interesting questions.

  6. #46

    Toning and Permanence

    Much of what his critics have said here comes across as waffle

    If you chose to ignore the inconsistencies on what was presented here, that is your prerrogative. But like you I too have the right to voice my opinion. Given that these reported "results" are given from using a KRST that apparently does not exists, that Kodak "knew" that KRST did not work and was driving them crazy but decided to continue making (go figure that one) , and that there is nothing magic about microfilm and the results apply as well to paper, but then Se toning seems to work with paper and not microfilm....I will continue to "waffle" all I want, even the "acknowledged" experts in the field are wrong sometimes, and I dont need to conduct my own tests to ferret out the inconsistencies. Of course, if you wish to pay me to do them and set up a lab for me, let me know when you are sending the check and I will be glad to do the testing.

  7. #47

    Toning and Permanence

    Paulr,

    The Hahnemuhle photorag is great for color work. While maybe not the best for maximum density B&W printing, the fact that it doesn't yellow has made it the paper of choice for both my color & B&W work.

    Kirk just gave a great summary of his findings as well on this paper & others for B&W & color printing.

    Regards,

  8. #48
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    Toning and Permanence

    Jorge, I've looked at what you've written and gone back to the original email. I don't see any inconsistencies at all. The information he presents is not complete, obviously. It's a summary of a lot of research.

    If you're interested in examining the best information that's available to date, he cites the original studies (including the phd thesis that came to the same conclusions using photographic paper). But if you'd rather ignore everything besides the anecdotal evidence that supports what you already believe, I grant you that this approach is easier. But it doesn't constitute a high horse from which to dismiss those who are in fact the experts on the topic, or photographers who are willing to consider their case.

    Yes, experts not always right. But this is an argument for asking more questions, not for blindly dismissing the conclusions of anyone who knows more than you. I would hope.

  9. #49

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    Toning and Permanence

    Paul--
    There's only one type of photo dept. in our system, and we do it all. My job is actually split 50-50 between collections and exhibit support. For years I actually had to attend meetings of both branches. I have access to the collection, and have been here longer than the handlers actually. We're one larger museum over 5 smaller ones. There's a similar dept in an art museum, and the state archives has it's own set of technical labs. One does the photo work, and is similar in some ways to our operation, but they also have facilities used to support other agencies that lack darkrooms. That lab operates very much the same as ours--in that fiber base use is very lopsided if not obsolete. To give you an idea of the amounts of materials used by this system, you'd have to look at the annual contracts, which I don't follow it too much--but I know the numbers are very lopsided against fiber base. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands sheets of rc against maybe 1500 fiber annually. It's just not being used. The collections are documented on sheet films, microfilm etc. The objects being documented on film. Prints are not the ones being used in this case.

    The only "Prints and Photographs" lab I can really think of offhand, I guess would be the LOC---but that's Federal gov't. Look around at your state records center. Do you even have a state run museum, you must have an archive? Do they have a photo dept? What do they offer, what are their facilities? If I look at some of the private university collections in my state, they don't really have labs or studios per-se, but they use student interns, or work/study programs. The private universities have partnered in with the public libraries in my area, and they're the ones driving the digitization projects. If you go to Museum L or SAA or some lists like that, even PhotoHist (which I'm on as well)--you'll see this is the number one topic almost. This is the way things are going, and it's not coming out of photo departments primarily but coming from others. The reality here is that the photo dept's are like service bureaus, studios or labs that support the operations--and if they move into digital, then everything moves along with it.

    To think that there's some separate curatorial lab out there someplace that will last indefinitely printing fiber base for collections? I dunno, maybe they exist. I kind of doubt it at a certain point in the scheme of things, because they'll become more like a living history lab....I still print 100-120 yr old glass plates in our lab, but I'm not using POP or gaslight papers. Sometimes I wonder if I should be even printing them, since we scan the prints for digital files in the end. As a photographer it's a frustrating time to work--since with digital, so many others are using the cameras & scanners and taking over the duties that were formerly ours. What happens, is that you become delegated to the lab, while other do the imaging.

    You say one thing--that with inkjets nobody knows the longevity, could be great and all that---but then you deny the reality facing the people working in these departments. Look--there's this lab that is charged with producing more prints than I'll probably ever make in a year, and they operate on a shoestring budget because they *have to* sell prints and shoot 4x5 at cost. They cannot make a profit, and so they sell a 4x5 for 1.50. A patron can buy that neg, go to a lab and run off 100 prints and then sell them for whatever and make a profit, but this lab (and us, for that matter) cannot do so. There's no law against this--it's the same way that anyone can sell public domain images for profit. But it doesn't address the fact that you're barely breaking even in operational cost, and then when it comes time to upgrade, there's just about nothing in the bank to do it. This lab I'm thinking of--they use a machine that's on it's last legs--they're getting a new machine for almost 20 thousand dollars, because the standards for them are still film and paper. It's gonna take some time to pay that off at cost, but what can they do? What choice do they have? I'd be surprised if the manufacturer is still in business in 5 or 10 yrs from now, and they're expected to keep working like they have for the past century? Hell, we can hardly even get parts for our Ilford machine, and when it dies, what are we going to do? Pay ten grand for a processor, or get a digital back? For what? To make 100 yr prints for the item history files, when the collection moves online in a digitization portal?

    I know the LOC uses the same rc paper processor we use, and I know the smithsonian actually uses one like the new processor the other lab is getting. There are archives and museums all over the place, with staff grappling over the same decisions. I think you'd find that most of them are very much the same--looking at the digital output and usage skyrocketing, while whatever little cost revenue they bring in to support the operation is dwindling. There may very well be more places out there using fiber base internally, but none of the museum photographers I've ever met have been in much different situations than I am. I've met folks up at the smithsonian, talked with guys who worked for the Fed. gov't doing preservation work and met some private staffers as well, and they all seem to be more like industrial or commercial shooters than anything. Perhaps, the conservators would be different, I dunno. There are less photo conservators than photo departments though.

    my opinions as always

  10. #50
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    Toning and Permanence

    What museum do you work for?
    By the way, I wasn't suggesting that other departments do or should use fiber paper for what you're doing. Just trying to get a handle on what kind of work your department does, and what these prints are for. It still sounds like the prints that your department is making are not for the same purpose as the prints in an art museum permanent collection, and that the purposes, budgets, and standards are likely to be different.

    For example, I know you can buy walker evans prints, made from the original negatives, from the library of congress for dirt cheap. i'm sure these are rc, if they're not digital already. But the walker evans prints in the collection at MoMA are fiber based, and were printed by walker, or by someone he hired a long time ago.

    let me know if i'm missing something.

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