Photographs that cause image tranfers

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    • #132643
      Ana-Elisa Arredondo

      In my latest collection, I have come across a set of photographic prints  (housed in folder mounts) that I have had a difficult time identifying.  It has come to my attention that positive image transfers are visible on folders that did not have a protected layer of tissue/buffer paper over the photograph.

      My question is very simple…are platinum prints the only photographic prints that cause this kind of image transfer?

    • #132649
      Susan Knoer

      It happens with gelatin silver prints, too, if they aren’t rinsed correctly after development.  Press or wire prints fall in that category.

      It’s better to identify the print itself.  Does it have a brown or purple cast?    Do you have an approximate date?  Those can narrow down the possible processes.    If you can post a copy of the image (even a snapshot), I may be able to ID it for you.

    • #132648
      Ana-Elisa Arredondo

      Thank you for the information and suggestion, however, it was only after I have made certain observations (i.e. good image stability, brownish tonality, dead matte surface, produced circa 1895) that I resorted to using the image transfer evidence as a way to id the prints.

      If the prints had been slightly more glossy, I would have thought them to be matte collodion prints, and if they had that aquatint bit texture under high magnification, I would have dubbed them photogravures, but I could not.

      If I get an opportunity, I will try to upload an image or two.  Thank you, Susan!

    • #132647

      We must identify print processes only by their evident composition and not by their secondary caracteristics. We must identify an albumen print by having certitude of the presence of a two layer only process with a yellowish binder and a image that are over the paper fibers even with these are partially visible and not by their yellow aspect, size and secondary mount. In the same hand, platinum prints are a one layer process where the real solid image are formed between the paper fibers. Dating are not significant in these cases since the end of the 19th century is the period where albumen, mate collodion, gelatin, gum, platinum and more based images shared market, format and styles.


      Is a period where textures where intentionally reproduced and imited, not only old formats and styles. We must always find evidence of a binder, baryta layer, etc, in order to be sure.

    • #132646

      IPI has a print identification resource, This may be helpful in identifying your prints. Start with the “Compare” module.

      Image transfer of photographs is often due to the presence of platinum. Your prints may be a warm platinum print–platinum prints can have a range of image tones from brownish to neutral-black or have a yellow-brown cast to the paper from poor processing. Warm platinum prints could be made by altering the temperature of the developer or by adding various chemicals, such as mercuric chloride to the developer or sensitizer. Commercial studio portraits were frequently in paper folders. The print may also be toned with platinum, such as a matte colldion. However these tend to have more neutral tones. Under magnification, a platinum print (with no coating) the paper fibers will be clearly visible. If you look along the edges for areas of mechanical damage it will be evident whether the image bearing material is in the paper or in a binder layer (i.e. collodion).

    • #132645
      Jane E Klinger

      For anyone interested in platinum prints, Connie McCabe at the National Gallery, Washington , DC has been spearheading research into the history and technology of the technique. She is planning a workshop and conference on platinum prints to take place  in October 2014. Everyone working on the collaborative project has uncovered some truly fascinating information. Plans also include a book.


    • #132644
      Ana-Elisa Arredondo

      Mauro:  I had previously determined – from what I could see – that the prints were 1 layer (no binding/baryta).  I left this out of the initial post because I had already gone through the typical “flow chart” for identification.  Your suggestions are good reminder for all during initial identification.

      Alice: I appreciate the shared link…I seem to refer to the site on a weekly basis.

      Jane: Glad to hear that more research & dissemination of platinum print info is out there.

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