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Thread: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

  1. #1

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    How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    I love the results I'm getting on them, and at how cheap they are. But how long do they last?

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    Depends on if they are archivally processed and stored or framed properly. There are many factors that effect the longevity of silver prints.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  3. #3

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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Depends on if they are archivally processed and stored or framed properly. There are many factors that effect the longevity of silver prints.
    they are not being framed at all but stored in my picture box. i washed them in water but they smell like my fixer. are they going to last?

  4. #4

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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    How long did you wash them?

    RC or fibre paper?

  5. #5

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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim MacKenzie View Post
    How long did you wash them?

    RC or fibre paper?
    I do use fiber paper sometimes but mostly I use RC paper because the results look the same to me, and RC paper doesn't curl. I washed them for 10 seconds. They smell like fixer. Would this affect the longevitability of my prints?

  6. #6
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    I would read the instructions on the sheet that comes in the box with the paper. There are recommended fixing and washing times. I think you'll discover that you should rewash all of your photos for the recommended time.
    Mark Woods

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  7. #7
    MIke Sherck's Avatar
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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    Ten seconds isn't a wash, it's barely a rinse. The data sheet that came with your paper should give a recommendation, times both with and without a wash aide of some sort.

    Immersion in a wash aide will reduce wash times, but the instructions on the bottle are rather optimistic in my opinon. There are many factors involved, including the temperature and quality of the wash water. For example, washing at 70 degrees F. will go faster than wasing at 68 deg. F., but washing at 80 deg. F. or higher may cause the emusion to soften, increasing risk of scratching.

    It's best to test for results. There's a product called Hypo Check which comes in a small bottle; you put a drop on your supposedly washed print or film and it tells you whether the hypo is actually washed out of it or not.

    In my experience, Kodak has in the past (like, when they made paper!) recommended four minutes wash for RC paper, after 30 seconds or a minute in hypo-clear. Here's my process for RC paper (this process tests to very low residual levels of hypo, according to my Hypo Test bottle

    After fixing, rinse for 30 seconds in running water at 68 deg. F., then immerse in hypo clear for 30 seconds with continuous agitation. Next comes a wash for six minutes and I usually test one sheet every couple of weeks, just to verify that it's clear. Then, hang to dry.

    Fiber paper doesn't have the plastic coating RC paper has and more fixer soaks into the paper, so it needs a longer wash. I rinse for a minute, hypo-clear for a minute, then wash for 30 minutes at 70 deg. F. in running water.

    There are variations: you can, for example, wash in still water with appropriate changes of water at various intervals. There's lots of information both on this site and on the web in general. Good luck!

    Mike
    Politically, aerodynamically, and fashionably incorrect.

  8. #8

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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    Quote Originally Posted by MIke Sherck View Post
    Ten seconds isn't a wash, it's barely a rinse.
    Thanks for the advice, I'll rewash all my prints. Is tap water OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by MIke Sherck View Post
    Fiber paper doesn't have the plastic coating RC paper has and more fixer soaks into the paper, so it needs a longer wash.
    That's interesting. Shouldn't RC paper outlast fiber paper since it has a plastic coating? In fiber paper, there is no coating so wouldn't the silver particles rust more easily?

  9. #9

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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    I've got some 20+ year old Cibachromes, dry mounted, hanging on my wall. They have lasted quite well, no issues or problems.

  10. #10
    Has Been LF Photographer
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    Re: How long do silver gelatin prints last?

    Quote Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
    are they going to last?
    You can be certain they are not going to last based on your present washing techniques. Follow the manufacturers recommendations and they should outlast you.

    I don't know much about the longevity of resin coated paper, but I would expect properly processed fiber based prints to last several hundred years or more.

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