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Subject: Faded photograph prints

Faded photograph prints

From: Tony Kelly <tonyk<-a>
Date: Thursday, January 27, 2005
Mark D. Hanson <curator [at] aeromuseum__org> writes

>I have inherited a puzzling problem. We have a hallway along one
>wall of which a photo timeline runs. The hallway is lighted by
>fluorescent tube lights in enclosed fixtures. It is an interior
>hallway with no windows. The photos are color scans of primarily
>black and white originals printed in color on glossy photo paper
>from an ink jet printer. The prints are then dry mounted onto foam
>The photos appear to "randomly" fade at an alarming rate. ...

There are many varied types of inkjet prints and printers being
utilised currently. Firstly you should establish which inks are
being used. You will probably find that they are dye-based rather
than the more permanent pigment-based inks. Many dye-based inks
contain very fugitive colorants and are completely unsuitable for
your purposes.

Some of these dyes are so fugitive and unstable that they will fade
even in dark storage conditions, and also in a short period of time.

Pigment based inks are produced for their greater longevity and are
the only type suitable for display purposes. In addition there are
coatings such as Premier Print Shield which when applied will
enhance the longevity of these prints.

You may wish to look at Wilhelm's Imaging Research site for further


This organisation are paid to conduct fade resistance tests, so
don't expect all makes of inks and printers to be discussed or rated

You may also wish to visit the Image Permanence Institute site at:


Secondly as the images are primarily black and white you might want
to have them printed with a pigment-based Quadtone inkset, as this
will provide greater fade resistance and enable you to achieve
neutral prints. Black and white images printed with colour inks are
problematic as they will not appear neutral under all lighting
conditions. Using fluorescent lighting is certainly going to cause a
visual colour shift away from neutral. Quadtone Prints are produced
by replacing the colour inks normally employed with grey and black
inks, some are toned to emulate either sepia or other toning
processes used traditionally and some are purely carbon based.

I cannot comment on the relative longevity of Laser materials

Tony Kelly
Digital Lucida
Carlton North
Victoria 3054

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:36
                 Distributed: Sunday, January 30, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-36-004
Received on Thursday, 27 January, 2005

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