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Thread: 6 years......with inkjet

  1. #81

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Boley View Post
    I don't know if Mark has any silver prints in the testing, but he's been around long enough that he would have important input into this topic.

    Tyler
    I recently commissioned Digital Silver Imaging (www.digitalsilverimaging.com) to print six "traditional silver gelatin" prints, albeit exposed on a Durst Theta 51 digital printer rather than an optical enlarger, but otherwise processed conventionally. The six copies (all made using the Aardenburg monochrome digital test target) include three prints apiece on:

    Ilford Galerie Digital Silver RC
    http://ilfordphoto.com/products/prod...Papers+Digital

    Ilford Galerie Digital Silver Fiber
    http://ilfordphoto.com/products/prod...Papers+Digital

    For each media type, one print is untoned, one toned with Sepia toner, one toned with Selenium toner 1:20.

    They arrived last week. I hope to put them into test in January, 2011. I'm trying to benchmark a number of "traditional" processes along with modern inkjet using the Aardenburg light fade testing protocol because I think it will help to put into perspective how modern inkjet media fares against processes that dominated 20th century photography. The widely held assumption is that traditional B&W silver gelatin prints have no light sensitivity and thus should be pretty "bulletproof" in my testing. However, the RC type paper does contain OBAs, but embedded in gelatin rather than microporous inkjet layers, so it's anybody's guess how it will do in testing. A good enough reason to actually run some tests.

    cheers,
    Mark
    http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com

  2. #82

    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    ...snip...

    I'm also skeptical of any entity's test results when it accepts funding from manufacturers of the media
    ....snip...
    I would like to point out that a fundamental founding principal of Aardenburg Imaging & Archives testing was that it NOT be funded by manufacturers, or have any connections that might negatively effect procedures or the manner in which they are perceived. So this is an unfortunate implication. To my knowledge, Mark's testing has been from samples submitted by the actual printmaking community, ink/printer/paper combinations of interest to real artists, and samples he himself feels necessary for comparison purposes or to fill gaps in the sample pool. I myself have samples there, and I know others that do as well.
    This was one of the reasons Aardenburg Imaging & Archives is so unique and valuable, and also difficult to keep alive...
    Tyler

  3. #83
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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by MHMG View Post
    The widely held assumption is that traditional B&W silver gelatin prints have no light sensitivity and thus should be pretty "bulletproof" in my testing. However, the RC type paper does contain OBAs, but embedded in gelatin rather than microporous inkjet layers, so it's anybody's guess how it will do in testing.
    It's not just RC. Many FB silver papers - probably most of the FB silver paper used, if you measure by sales volume rather than by number of brands/types - contain OBAs as well.

    Regardless, thanks for adding these silver papers, as well as other traditional media, to your tests - that will be a valuable complement to the inkjet data.

  4. #84

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Boley View Post
    I would like to point out that a fundamental founding principal of Aardenburg Imaging & Archives testing was that it NOT be funded by manufacturers, or have any connections that might negatively effect procedures or the manner in which they are perceived. So this is an unfortunate implication...
    I haven't been able to find that principal on the AaI&A Web site, but might have missed it. While not media manufacturers, The "Sponsors" page lists several entities engaged in the commerce of inkjet printing or support thereof. Under "News" one finds that AaI&A provides contracted testing services to manufacturers. This leads me to conclude that AaI&A occupies the same realm that Henry Wilhelm does today. I used to rely on Wilhelm's information, but no longer count on total objectivity from him either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Boley View Post
    ...To my knowledge, Mark's testing has been from samples submitted by the actual printmaking community, ink/printer/paper combinations of interest to real artists, and samples he himself feels necessary for comparison purposes or to fill gaps in the sample pool...
    Again, the "actual printmaking community" in question are those making inkjet prints, with a vested interest in certain results. Accelerated light fading addresses (with unknown accuracy at that) only one mechanism of print deterioration. Too many other possibilities are left untouched. I don't mean to impugn AaI&A's motives in the slightest; it's probably doing the best possible work under the circumstances. However, thorough and objective research into this subject requires resources and effort far beyond the private sector. Until well-funded, totally independent institutional inquiry is conducted, I'll continue to rely on real world results over time as the only reliable indications of print stability.

  5. #85

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    Until well-funded, totally independent institutional inquiry is conducted, I'll continue to rely on real world results over time as the only reliable indications of print stability.
    Your wish for ""totally independent institutional inquiry" is achieved as good as it gets by the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) in Rochester, NY. A 503(c) non profit and institutionally connected with the Rochester Institute of Technology, IPI raised nearly a million dollars in grant money this past year from foundations supporting the museums and archives community for various research projects targeted squarely at the permanence of digital media (mostly hard copy not electronic media).

    That said, you won't find any product-specific test results published by IPI. It's in its organizational charter that IPI can't do product comparative testing and publish the results like WIR or Aardenburg have done. Wonder why? Follow the money


    kind regards,
    Mark

  6. #86

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by MHMG View Post
    ...Wonder why? Follow the money...
    Precisely.

    This is a task that should be performed (or funded at an institution like RIT) by the Library of Congress. We're flirting with politics here, but that's the only approach I consider absolutely beyond reproach.

  7. #87

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    It's not just RC. Many FB silver papers - probably most of the FB silver paper used, if you measure by sales volume rather than by number of brands/types - contain OBAs as well.
    Exactly right. WWAD!. For over 50 years OBAs have been incorporated in silver gelatin prints, and photographers like the look. A nice example of OBA fluorescence in an Adams print is shown in this article.

    http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/news.18.html

    At the time I wrote this article, I didn't fully appreciate the role of gelatin as a swellable polymer in helping to prevent oxidation of the OBAs. In other words, OBAs in gelatin will be more protected from light and gas induced oxidation than when they are located in the top microporous ink receptor coatings (as long as the gelatin remains in dry state not gel state which can be crossed at about 75%RH at room temperature). Nevertheless, eventual burnout of OBAs will have a bigger visual effect on the delicate hue/chroma values in a monochrome print than would be noticeable in high chroma color images, so it will be good to perform some test on a silver gelatin system containing significant levels of OBAs.

    best,
    Mark

  8. #88
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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Mark, one of the insights I get from reviewing some of your test results is that the absence of OBAs does not by itself guarantee that the paper base itself won't change its appearance, with possible effect on image character, under light exposure.

  9. #89

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Mark, one of the insights I get from reviewing some of your test results is that the absence of OBAs does not by itself guarantee that the paper base itself won't change its appearance, with possible effect on image character, under light exposure.
    Correct. You've got that right. Paper bleaching can also occur. It's usually subtle, but it's there nonetheless and get's picked up in the AaI&A light fade testing method. One of the key things I've learned from the AaI&A testing to date is that when OBAs are used sparingly and dependent on where they are embedded (.e.g, paper core, subbing layer, or top coats), the general conclusion to avoid OBAs at all costs is indeed a bit simplistic. HN photo rag is a good example of an OBA containing fine art paper (it's in the paper core at low concentrations but not in the ink receptor coating) that performs as well as some OBA-free products which exhibit some tendency to light bleach. Product-specific tests that comprehensively report what is actually happening as the tests progress are the way to identify these issues. If the end-user is given only one figure of merit (e.g., a single-value display life rating) then issues like media whitepoint stability, non linear fade rates, and even which inks or blends of inks are most fade prone get lost in translation.

  10. #90

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    Re: 6 years......with inkjet

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post

    This is a task that should be performed (or funded at an institution like RIT) by the Library of Congress. We're flirting with politics here, but that's the only approach I consider absolutely beyond reproach.
    Please Let us all know when that ivory tower gets climbed.

    I started the Aardenburg digital print research program as a subscription plan nearly five years ago, very much patterned as a "Consumer Reports" business model, only collaborating interactively with fellow printmakers. I set the subscription price with the hope that it wouldn't be a serious barrier to entry. I did that for four years and that's what Tyler is remembering, but even with modest fees involved, the subscribers just didn't sign up at a rate that would enable the model to work. So, in February, 2011 I switched the program to a Free/donate model. The new model forces me to look for sponsors because only 1 in 10 new members is now willing to contribute any funds. So far, I've found sponsors that don't have a "dog in the hunt". They have graciously contributed dollars to Aardenburg with no strings attached. I have used the money to continue funding the testing of samples submitted not by the sponsors or by manufacturers but from fellow printmakers like those participating in this forum.

    That said, the funding level is still way off the mark. This research is very labor intensive, and requires sophisticated equipment and expertise. I volunteer my time and so does my staff, but even with no salaries being paid, it's hard to keep the lights on (pardon the pun).

    Whether some cry foul or not, I will willingly take on a major media or printer manufacturer as a sponsor or a client now. When I went to the Free/donate model, I also opened the doors to paid "fee-for-service" tests. Paid tests are just that...paid tests. They are performed with no differences in method or care. No independent lab could keep clients if it favored one client's products over another, so the notion that fee-for-service testing is inherently rigged to produce better than deserved results is absurd, IMHO. The bias problem occurs not with researchers fixing tests. However, a bias can occur if the test method is inherently flawed and can't properly distinguish real differences between products (something that could happen to any test no matter how they are paid for). Biases can occur also when products are deliberately omitted by the clients from testing. That's where the Printmakers' fund and AaI&A's willingness to continue testing for printmakers comes into play. By continuing to perform tests for individuals at no charge, any commercially available product is fair game for testing at AaI&A whether manufacturers send it to me or whether fellow printmakers send it to me.

    Any manufacturer willing to work with AaI&A either as a sponsor (those funds are earmarked solely for the Printmakers' fund at AaI&A) or as a paid client knows the drill. No doubt many vendors are not going to want to play by those rules, because they can't control the full story the way they would ideally like to, but those companies that do work with AaI&A in the near future can help me keep this train on the tracks.

    To be absolutely clear about this, let me reiterate that companies are not listed as AaI&A sponsors unless they are wiling to contribute unrestricted funds to to the AaI&A Printmakers' fund. Conceivably, a sponsor that is also a manufacturer could find the money it provids going towards testing products it doesn't even make. That will indeed be a gutsy move if a manufacturer is willing to become an AaI&A sponsor. It hasn't happened yet, and I"m not going to hold my breath waiting for this. As a logical alternative to AaI&A sponsorship, manufacturers are welcome to conduct client-paid tests at AaI&A. Such tests are now identified in the AaI&A database with blue-colored links. You can check for yourself if you think these tests are biased in one way or another by comparing to other results with green-colored links. The green-colored links signify individual printmaker-contributed or AaI&A-produced samples that were not paid for by manufacturers. Not an ivory tower approach by any means, but it's as good as it is going to get, IMHO, in the real world.

    kind regards,
    Mark
    http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com

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