U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: giclee, silver gelatin/gelatin silver was 3 questions

Re: giclee, silver gelatin/gelatin silver was 3 questions

I agree about the use of giclee, which I always thought was a hoot, though I rarely see that used anymore. I think it's now been replaced by the more favored "pigment print," though I suppose that does serve to differentiate it from those inkjet prints that weren't produced with pigment inks. As far as silver gelatin, I actually never saw anything wrong with that use-- especially now-- when that term correctly separates it from a b&w print that's digitally produced. But the term silver gelatin seems on the same plane as, for instance, correctly naming a platinum print. A few years ago, I had some platinum prints at a gallery, and a reviewer referred to those as b&w prints-- never once mentioning that they were platinum prints-- which I found annoying. So I would think someone who had (at this point, painstakingly) slaved away in the darkroom, making some gelatin silver prints and subsequently saw them listed as merely b&w prints, might be frustrated by that, too. It would be sort of like calling tri-color gum prints, just "color prints."

I saw some gelatin silver prints recently, and they really did look unusual and sort of quaint-- right down to the very subtle spotting that was done.

As an aside, I can't remember how long I've been on this list-- and certainly remained a long-time lurker more than a helpful contributor-- but I can't tell you how much I've learned (and am still learning) from the folks on this list-- on-list and off-list-- too numerous to mention. So, thanks so much everybody!


On Nov 20, 2008, at 9:44 AM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

AFAIK it is "gelatin silver", a term coined in the 1870's. It was gelatin
dry plate and then gelatin silver bromide and gelatin silver chloride, one a
developing out paper and one a printing out paper, but now we have gelatin
silver bromo-chloride and chloro-bromide and we get really mixed up and
isn't there iodide in there somewhere?

However the case may be, it was gelatin silver from the historical start
from my books, because other things were suspended in the gelatin before
(carbon, dichromates) and when silver salts began to be suspended in them,
that was added as a qualifier (although why didn't they ever say "gelatin
carbon" or gelatin dichromate"?).

But whenever you say it is a gelatin silver print it sounds pretty silly
(maybe less so nowadays the further away we are getting from silver!) but we
really can't say BW print anymore can we, because it refers to so many
different things.

As far as giclee, I think it is a term that has lived its life and sounds
stupid, aside from the fact that usually people can't spell it or pronounce
it. It did not become mainstream like Kleenex.

Christina Z. Anderson


Christina Z. Anderson