What is Silver Halide Printing?

Ejemplo de un rollo c-41 revelado con Caffenol C

Silver halide has been used in photographic film and paper for over 150 years and remains a vital ingredient found in all high-quality photo prints. Silver halide crystals in gelatin form part of an emulsion which is used to coat the paper or film. On exposure to light (i.e. in a camera or darkroom), the crystals react turning into silver and forming the image.

There are many ways to produce black & white limited edition prints with options varying in quality. Traditional black & white silver halide prints have been used in museums, galleries, exhibitions and homes around the world and continue to offer the best quality options for printing.

  • Real silver black & white photography have a timeless quality that cannot be matched. There are also a range of creative techniques that can be used to make prints more personal and distinctive. Silver halide offers better control of image tone making it the perfect platform for creative image making.
  • Each silver print hand made in a darkroom is unique. Genuine high-quality black & white prints are highly sought after for the distinctive look and interpretation they bring to a subject. They can enhance their merit artistically and give prints a higher intrinsic value.
  • Silver halide is predictable, reliable and stable giving prints more permanence. In other words, they are less likely to change tone with time and age.
Ejemplo de un rollo c-41 revelado con Caffenol C

USING COLOUR PAPER TO MAKE BLACK & WHITE PRINTS


Colour films and papers can be used to make black & white prints. However, there are disadvantages in doing so and you risk compromising the quality of the final image.

Firstly, it is not possible to make a true black & white prints using colour paper. ‘Black’, produced from a mixture of dyes varies in colour depending on the lighting in which it is viewed. This is because of a phenomenon called ‘metamerism’ where ‘black’ which looks black in daylight will look greenish in tungsten light.
Even if a reasonably neutral tone is achieved for a monochrome image on a colour paper, there is often a shift in image tone as the print is displayed or as, inevitably, the dye fades with age. For a full colour print this shift is normally insignificant and goes largely unnoticed. The eye is much more sensitive to these sorts of changes if the image is a monochrome one and so even a small shift in colour, due to fading of the dyes, can have a major effect on the print’s look, attractiveness and acceptability.

Silver Halide Limited Edition Print

Is All Printing The Same?

No, far from it. I use traditional technology to create my prints. The process is called silver halide printing. Silver Halide photographic prints are printed using light-sensitive paper and silver-based chemistry.  The paper is exposed to light, and the image is infused into the paper through a chemical process.

Our competitors offer ink printing where the ink is applied on top of the paper. The image may shift slightly causing a loss of sharpness, and the final product is much more likely to fade or be susceptible to surface damage over the years.

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