U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: pyro and cyano

Re: pyro and cyano

Judy said:
(I've also said before & say
again, that I was an art student for a lot of years before I was a photo student, and "archival" was rarely mentioned. My theory is that was because we *knew* art was art. Photographers may, um, excuse me, be so concerned about "archival" because.... um, they're still not sure about
"art" status?)
I think it is moreso because we as photographers are asked the question of either galleries or purchasers--is the mat archival, is the print printed to archival standards, is the printer ink used archival, etc. etc. perhaps because of past history of prints fading and spotting and browning out. I don't think there is any question nowadays about photography taking its full place in art, or, at least, by perusing the art magazines it seems that way.

I remember seeing a big grid of the Becher's work in Minneapolis and the prints were developing brown spots.

I ride the fence on this issue--
Weighing in here . . . . Judy has a point but I don't believe it correct. Having the great fortune to have ploughed the bins of photographs in the
auctions of Paris, London and New York in the 70's, seeing darned near every photographer from every country, all of us interested in photography
new that value for one of our images was very low. Slowly, as the 'dealers' purchased albums of, say, Watkins, for maybe $3-4k, cut them up and
sold the individual prints for $4k each, the value of older works like Hill & Adamson, which sold for about $200 were understood to be rare. Speed of
purchase picked up as collectors began to mine the bins building collections they knew that in time would be worth triple, quintuple and more for what they paid. It was better than investing in stocks or CD's or bonds . . . and these items were surely rated AAA. Okay, that's historical material.
It was a hundred years old and still looked good. Black & white prints had their name changed to silver-gelatin, Type C prints (a misnomer) became
chromogenic. The Bechers work mentioned by Christine, was rarely ever printed as fine prints for they were working on the idea more of a type, or even cataloguing similarity of type. I remember a gallery in LA, next to Nicky Wilder's that held an exhibit of Walker Evans shortly after he died in 1975 where each print was $1k and one was extremely soiled by lack of washing the fixer out: in other words very yellow. It was worth more in that it was unique .. . . mmm, we can laugh now at the naivete of the dealer and the art of selling. But, in order (sorry this is taking so long) to make our photographs more valuable the idea of a guarantee came about and the proof of that was the term archival which really meant you'd printed an image of fiber paper, used a clean fixer, most likely the 2-bath method, and washed it long enough, used hypo-clear and air dried the print. One might say is 'value-added' methodology.

Jack F