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Thread: Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2000

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    To the many photographers who have answered my questions on this forum, I want t o say thankyou for your help and ask one more question relating to the strong bi as against RC papers. I have printed on both types of papers and prefer the loo k of FB papers also. But because of the long wash times, curling when drying and because I do not have a dry mount press, I am printing mostly on RC paper. I am selling my prints ( 5 x 7 to 11 x 14 ), matted and matted/framed at art and cra ft shows in southern Ontario as " fine art " and am enjoying some success. (I ha ve been involved in large format and black and white printing for 2 years). I am using only RC paper for these shows at this time. I think that if the public likes my work, buys a 11 x 14 pri nt on a 16 x 20 mat for $55.00 and hangs it on a wall, it may be there as a deco r piece for a few years and I am happy with this. In the past 2 years I have bee n to 16 shows and have never been asked what kind of paper I print on, what type or quality of mat board I use or how long the prints will last before they migh t start deteriorating. Because of this general lack of knoweledge about photogra phic processing and maybe because the majority of the public does not care that a print might not last 100 years, and if they did, would they pay 50-100% more f or it? I am inclined to cont inue printing on RC for the next few years until I hone my skills and my work ca n deserve asking a higher price, at which time I would switch to FB paper and pr omote the fact that I am printing on FB paper and its archival properties. My qu estion is this; Is this a sensible approach to a budding career in fine art phot ography? Thanks for your opinions.

  2. #2

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    I stayed away from FB paper for many years because of the curling problem. Every print I made was ruined because of this. All I needed was a dry mount press (used for $200), and the problem was solved. I don't dry mount my prints. I press them for a few minutes, and they come out beautifully flat. Now, I would never go back to RC.

    Long wash times is not a bother for me. I don't mind waiting. I don't see that printing of FB paper is so much more expensive than RC paper, as you suggest. The dry mount press is a one-time expense, and what's a few pennies worth of water?

  3. #3

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    J.L.: I used to print everything on the old Seagull. When it was discontinued, I tried several papers and settled on Kodak RC paper and am completely satisfied. I do the art shows and have no problems whatsoever with the RC paper. I use Polycontrast 111 and tone the larger prints in selenium. I have compared prints side by side and it's difficult to tell what paper is used. I talked to the folks at Kodak's professional division and they assured me that a properly processed and toned RC print will last as long as a fiber print. Not was not always the case, but it seems to be now. I have prints which are 10 years old and they look as good as the day they were made. I retired early to be able to do the art show circuit, and I would have quit selling a long time ago if my prints were not good. The customers never ask about paper, just about the image. I have won prizes at many art shows doing RC prints, so I can highly recommend it to you.


  4. #4

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    if you want to be taken seriously as a fine art photographer, you have to present a very professional product. this includes high-end archival 100% rag museum board, linen-tape mounting, and archivally- processed fiber-base prints. as you have discovered, the majority of the buying public is not discriminating or educated enough to know the difference, but i can guarantee you that serious buyers of photographic art, gallery owners, and museum curators know the difference, and will judge your work accordingly. perhaps you could try offerering both RC and fiber-base prints at different prices - it would give you a chance to discuss the differences with your buyers, and you might start selling some more expensive prints (with a bit more profit margin built in to compensate your additional costs). at almost 50 years old, i have found that my goal at this point is to prepare my work using the best possible materials and to the limits of my abilities - your work is a reflection of who you are.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    So. California

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    I agree with jnorman, if your work is not going to be your best, why do it. Take his advice and make two sets of prints and let the customer choose, and if you explain the difference to them many times you will sell the more expensive FB print have also have a good chance of repeat customers because of the willingness to take the time and explain the difference to them, most of us are ignorant in a lot of area's and we don't like someone taking advantage of that, and if someone explains the difference and helps us understand we are more inclined to return to that person, enough, you get the point I hope. Pat

  6. #6

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    Sorry folks, I just don't agree with the bias against RC paper. I am not a beginner at printing fine art prints or selling at art shows. My customers are told, if they ask, that the prints are made on RC paper. I believe that RC will last based upon my own experience. As for it lasting for infinity, my work is probably not deserving of lasting that long, although I have more than 40 ribbons I have won in art show competition. As for museums, I haven't been asked to display my work in museums. I will not display prints again in galleries due to several bad experiences, such as them selling prints and forgetting to tell me about it for several months. I do have prints in the permanent collections of seveal arts societies. Print on what you like and I will do the same. I don't have a bias against fiber paper other than that it takes a lot longer to print and mount with no increase in quality of the way the image looks.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    "No increase in quality"?? You should look a little closer.

  8. #8

    Publics knowledge of printing paper: RC vs FB

    If your not convinced about the quality of RC papers, then take a look at Ilford 's Warmtone RC paper pearl surface. It's stunning, every bit as good as any FB p aper I've used and they include Ilfomar, Bromesko, Seagull, Elite, MGIV, and the FB Warmtone. Also just released by Kentmere for the cooltone RC lovers is anoth er superb paper also called Elite.

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