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Author Topic: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?  (Read 3475 times)

Ernst Dinkla

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2023, 10:43:31 am »

I call them pigment-prints as my printers use HP pigment inks and they are good on longevity if compared to other inkjet inks. There is a link on my web pages to Aardenburg Imaging for test results. I try to use the papers I can trust and inform customers which papers are more prone to shifting their white over time, based on third party tests, experience and some educated guesses. One of the reasons why SpectrumViz exists. Framing tastes usually introduces more compromises than you like to see happen, third party work so in the end not my responsibility. Old "archival" methods of framing are still preferable in my opinion.

You would expect that especially institutes like museums and galleries pay attention to to the longevity of the prints they purchase. I have my doubts on that due to the always changing trends in that world. Sustainability in the art work processes is a trend which could well put the artist's gender trend in second place. You would think it should encourage thorough research on what lasts over time but the interpretation of "sustainability" goes in directions that could oppose that idea. Dieter Roth's rotting sandwiches may fit well in that category. Organic colorants are high on the agenda I see. I wonder whether a museum's conservation department ever could stop a purchase by the museum director or board if they doubt the art work's longevity. On the other hand it is their bread and butter to conserve and repair, so why bother.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm


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chez

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2023, 04:23:17 pm »

I have always hated the pretentious word "giclee." The art world has enough pretentious people who want to make something simple into something complex. Were I to see that word (I cannot even type it again) on a print in which I was interested, I'd run for the hills as the maker has just told me what he/she is, pretentious at best, dishonest at worst.

On the rare occasion that I display or actually sell a print, I endeavor to accurately label it... "archival pigment photographic print."

I think that says it all. Were I to sell a darkroom print, it would be labeled... "archival silver gelatin photographic print."

This presumes I'm using pigment inks on rag paper (not plastic) for my inkjet prints and that I did a good fix and wash and selenium tone for my wet darkroom prints.

What the future holds, AI, chatbots, etc, I have no idea except that I know NFT's are BS, just like cryptocurrency.

What does archival mean and for how long? We see quite a variance on the archivability of different papers and inks. I think archival is another one of these marketing speak terms that gets thrown around.
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Richard.Wills

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2023, 05:29:30 pm »

Fresh fish sold here.
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digitaldog

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2023, 05:30:41 pm »

What does archival mean and for how long?
Start here:
http://www.wilhelm-research.com
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chez

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2023, 05:41:30 pm »

Start here:
http://www.wilhelm-research.com

That’s great for bitheads…what about the general public. Someone ( 99.999% of people ) that don’t known anything about Wilhelm-research…that’s just as good as giclie…a marketing term.
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digitaldog

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2023, 05:45:36 pm »

That’s great for bitheads…what about the general public.
Sorry, I don't have reliable peer-reviewed scientific evidence for non-bit heads who think of themselves as the "general public" and can't wrap their heads around data.
You wanted to know how archival a set of inks and papers are (as you asked); there's the data.
Quote
Someone ( 99.999% of people ) that don’t known anything about Wilhelm-research…that’s just as good as giclie…a marketing term.
"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."-Bertrand Russell
True for 'thinking' foolish things.  ::)
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MfAlab

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2023, 11:32:18 pm »

It definitely matters if a print is archival or not. The comparison with watercolor etc. is misguided. There are no two types of watercolor etc., long-lasting and quickly-fading. But for inkjet prints, the memory is still very fresh of the early inkjet prints that were fading within months, if not weeks.

There are cheap quickly-fading watercolours... and other screen ink or painting colors too. But it's not the point. You can't take the meaning out of context and ignore the main idea of the post.

The material choice is artist's responsibility. But it doesn't mean you should put it in the description of a final work. If you want to treat inkjet as an equal method with other crafts, use the equal description with oil painting, watercolour, acrylic and so on. If someone think inkjet prints should be marked archival, acid-free, cotton paper..., that probably means he/she think inkjet is poorer than other artwork in deep mind. Adding those words to increase values is no different with Jack Duganne's invention.

Here is a very early inkjet photograph collected in MET. It's printed by IRIS at Nash Editions for sure. Look the details description of medium.
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/266945
Check other "inkjet" collections below. Or you can try searching "archival inkjet", "archival print", "pigment print", results will not meet your expectations. Only "pigment inkjet" returns a little useful results. But it still much less than a simple "inkjet" or "inkjet print".
https://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?q=inkjet
You can also try it on MoMA's collections. It clearly shows "archival" is just a marketing term. Galleries and auction houses want to use it, for sale. It's another "Giclée". "Pigment inkjet" is a little bit better, but the description of pigment is still excess.
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John Nollendorfs

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2023, 11:56:54 am »

I just label mine as "HP inkjet print".
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chez

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2023, 07:44:22 pm »

I just label mine as "HP inkjet print".

Why HP? Does that mean anything to anyone other than other printers?
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chez

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2023, 07:47:04 pm »

Sorry, I don't have reliable peer-reviewed scientific evidence for non-bit heads who think of themselves as the "general public" and can't wrap their heads around data.
You wanted to know how archival a set of inks and papers are (as you asked); there's the data. "If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."-Bertrand Russell
True for 'thinking' foolish things.  ::)

Tell me how many clients that walk into galleries study Willhelms results on longevity testing? I’ll give you a hint…you can keep one of your hands behind your back as you count them.

Archival is just as much of a buzzword as is Giclee.
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digitaldog

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2023, 08:59:14 pm »

Tell me how many clients that walk into galleries study Willhelms results on longevity testing? I’ll give you a hint…you can keep one of your hands behind your back as you count them.

Archival is just as much of a buzzword as is Giclee.
Rubbish. It doesn't matter how many “clients” in a gallery are unaware and ignorant of data and facts about the permanence of paper and ink. Or a conventionally produced silver print. The study and science still exist and EXISTED long before the first inkjet printer existed!
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson
It's true if you and your clients are unaware too.
You asked*: “What does archival mean and for how long?
Sorry the facts have ruined your day...

*"An expert knows all the answers -- if you ask the right questions. "-Source Unknown
« Last Edit: April 12, 2023, 09:31:06 pm by digitaldog »
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chez

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2023, 01:12:36 am »

Rubbish. It doesn't matter how many “clients” in a gallery are unaware and ignorant of data and facts about the permanence of paper and ink. Or a conventionally produced silver print. The study and science still exist and EXISTED long before the first inkjet printer existed!
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson
It's true if you and your clients are unaware too.
You asked*: “What does archival mean and for how long?
Sorry the facts have ruined your day...

*"An expert knows all the answers -- if you ask the right questions. "-Source Unknown

So if you walk into a gallery and see “archival prints” hanging there, you will know exactly what that means? You will know they will last 10 years, 20 years, 100 years?

That archival buzzword will give you that all over good feeling when you lay down your big bucks?

I might just have some fertile swamp land for sale.

Archival, Organic, Made in America etc… are all buzzwords that give customers a warm feeling inside yet are so nebulous they really have no exact meanings.
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dasuess

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2023, 06:45:55 am »

A good number of the photographers I follow who sell prints through their websites explain what pigment inks, cotton rag paper and archival mean regarding the print they want to sell you. I would assume any gallerist would be able to do the same.
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digitaldog

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2023, 09:24:44 am »

So if you walk into a gallery and see “archival prints” hanging there, you will know exactly what that means? You will know they will last 10 years, 20 years, 100 years?
After your last question (and my accurate answer), this is my reply to your questions sir:
"My best attribute is knowing when not to answer stupid questions."-Gina Gershon
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NeilPrintArt

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2023, 12:55:08 pm »

Fascinating debate 

Certainly in one sense the use of the word 'archival', when applied to an inkjet print, could be seen as a purely marketing term. Pretentious BS. Because there is no universally accepted definition of what 'archival' is. It is not something that is quantifiable. And the physical environment that the print lives in will probably have more effect on its longevity then the materials used. So the term 'archival' could be considered as vague and inaccurate as Giclee.
 
But on the other hand, it is, in theory, entirely possible to make an inkjet print using dye inks on newsprint and then sell it as 'inkjet print'.
That is essentially why the dreaded term 'Giclee' was invented. To differentiate between an inkjet print made using long-lasting (and expensive) materials and an inkjet print made using short term (and cheap) materials.

Certainly big institutions like museums will generally only acquire inkjet prints that are made using the most 'light-fast' materials available. I know this from personal experience where photographers have asked me to print something for a museum and I have then been asked by the institution to supply specific details about the print before it will be accepted (pigment ink, cotton rag etc). So the museum knows the material used, and understands what that means, and that the print is 'light fast', and they can then comfortably describe the work in their public catalogue simply as "inkjet print". But I would be willing to bet that the complete/back-office/not-public catalogue will include as much information about materials as possible, along with the rest of the provenience info

But it is a different situation with an photographer selling prints on a website, or in a gallery. In that situation the buyer surely needs more information then just 'inkjet print'? There is no question that I can make a 'inkjet print' using cheap ink and acid-rich paper. Materials that will degrade quickly even if stored in an archival box in a climate controlled environment.

So I would argue that in the case of inkjet prints it is important to have a proper descriptive nomenclature.
And the point of my original post is that there is currently no universally accepted term.

Maybe 'archival quality' is more accurate then 'archival'?

My current practice is to suggest to clients that the general description is something like "pigment ink on cotton rag" and then to include a Certificate of Authenticity that includes brand name (i.e "archival pigment ink on Hahnemuehle Museum Etching").

I wonder when, if ever, there will be a internationally accepted descriptive nomenclature?

     

 
           
 
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digitaldog

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2023, 01:01:06 pm »

Fascinating debate 
Certainly in one sense the use of the word 'archival', when applied to an inkjet print, could be seen as a purely marketing term.
 
And then there are those who produce scientific data about this:
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/about_us.html
Notice the word "Archival" doesn't exist along with the data about the data collector. That data speaks for itself without the need for the 'term'.
Quote
About Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc.

How Long Will Your Pictures Last?

Which Products Last the Longest?

Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. conducts accelerated light exposure and dark aging tests to determine the comparative life expectancy of inkjet and other digitally printed photographs, as well as that of traditional black-and-white and color photographs.

As high-quality photographic printing has been steadily moving toward inkjet printing — with an ever-increasing number of small and large-format prints being made with pigmented and dye-based inks on a wide variety of inkjet media — so too has the emphasis at Wilhelm Imaging Research shifted to testing inkjet materials.

The intrinsic light fading and dark storage stability of these myriad imaging materials is the primary focus of this company and its research. Our aim is to provide the answer to the question: "How long will this image last before noticeable fading and/or staining occur, and under what conditions?" It is the purpose of this website to publish the results of these evaluations on a product-by-product basis. These "apples-to-apples" comparisons, available nowhere else, help make it possible to select the best products when image permanence is an important consideration.

Also available on this site is wide-ranging information on the permanence and care of photographs in general. For example, Wilhelm Imaging Research conducts research on cost-effective methods to preserve a wide variety of photographic materials — including motion picture films — as well as books, manuscripts, newspapers, and other visual records and artifacts for many thousands of years into the future through the use of sub-zero cold storage (minus 4 degrees F/minus 20 degrees C).

Wilhelm Imaging Research will be regularly posting new Print Permanence Ratings and other stability data for printers, inks, and papers.
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Lessbones

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2023, 01:45:47 pm »


But on the other hand, it is, in theory, entirely possible to make an inkjet print using dye inks on newsprint and then sell it as 'inkjet print'.
That is essentially why the dreaded term 'Giclee' was invented. To differentiate between an inkjet print made using long-lasting (and expensive) materials and an inkjet print made using short term (and cheap) materials.


The term "gicleé" was invented because people didn't like the sound of "inkjet print" at the time (and a lot of the time still don't, hence terms like "archival pigment print" etc.)  it was just because the term was an unknown that it sounded exotic, and therefore added perceived value for those not aware of the (lack of) difference.

As far as what "Archival" means... no, I don't believe there will ever be a standard, nor should there really be.  It's more important to understand what it is that you're dealing with in precise terms than to slap a label on something and be satisfied.  All most people REALLY want to hear is that the print is going to outlast them therefore they won't have to be around when it finally does fade.  Degree of archival-ness is a spectrum, just like everything else.  Take for example dye-sublimation to Chromaluxe panels-- according to WIR, these are archival to about 40-45 years.  Honestly, I doubt Wilhelm even used the term in the report.  In this case it would simply be a substitute for the much longer "will last for approximately 40-45 years before the point at which one would BEGIN to notice a difference if the sample were placed against an exact duplicate that were printed today".  Nothing is archival.  Everything is archival.  Put it in your drawer-- there-- it's been archived.

The specifications for fade resistance are much more useful, and could be described as "degree of archivability" or something like that.  Basically the word is useless without the data, but gun to my head, I think most people have the extremely vague idea of it lasting at least a single lifetime, or as I previously mentioned, until they stop having to think about it.
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Eric Brody

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2023, 10:20:59 pm »

I think we can all agree that the term "giclee" is useless and misleading as well as being pretentious though I can understand that in the early days of inkjet printing it was good to distinguish prints made on newspaper with an office printer from those carefully made on rag paper with pigment inks.

I may have misspoken in my use of the term "archival." I think if one is paying large amounts of money for a print, eg in the thousands of dollars, one is entitled to more information on the provenance of the print, eg the paper, inks, the printer. With my own work I cannot be more specific than the paper, ink and printer. Frankly I've not spent time on the Wilhelm website looking up the various longevity of the papers I use though most are rag and most have no OBA's.

I agree that the matting, (scotch tape anyone?), framing, and display conditions probably play a significant role in the "archival-ness" of a print.

I'm not earning a living selling my work and mostly give it away to friends and family and on rare occasions sell a piece to someone I do not know personally. I must say that no one to whom I've sold a piece has asked about its longevity. I usually tell people not to display it in full sun but nothing beyond that.

I'm in it for the fun, and am fortunate not to need to be in it to put food on my table or a roof over my family's head.
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Manoli

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2023, 06:06:05 am »

I think we can all agree that the term "giclée" is useless and misleading as well as being pretentious

No, I don’t think we do at all.

A term derived from the French*, coined by a pioneering Frenchman (though American by birth) to differentiate fine art prints from commercial printers’ proofs, over 30 years ago, wasn’t ‘pretentious’ .

Today it’s use in English lingo is superceded, IMO, primarily because it sounds ‘effete’ and for an Anglo Saxon to speak Francglais is not something that rolls off the tongue with ease. That doesn’t mean to say that the word is pretentious. It isn’t. It’s simply not in everyday lingo – and why use a French term when an English one now exists in parallel?

Having sad that , there are numerous words derived from other languages in common use - bronzing (fr) and metamerism (gr)– being but two.

Pretentious ? If he’d named it a Dugannotype – perhaps.

Quote
* Inspired by the French word for inkjet (jet d’encre), Jack named his prints after the French word for nozzle (le gicleur). Since nozzles do all the spraying in fine art reproductions, he went with the feminine word for spray in French (la giclee).

Quote
JACK DUGANNE OBITUARY
April 15, 1942 - April 12, 2020 Amidst the disorientation of the moment, we join to mourn the loss of Jack Duganne: father, husband, artist, technical innovator in serigraphy, seminal developer of fine art printing technology, coiner of the term Giclée, teacher at Santa Monica College, Otis College of Art and Design and UCLA Extension, mentor and friend to many in and outside the arts. A Master Printer, he enabled many artists to realize their vision in both analog and digital print media.As founding director of Workshop, i.e., an artist collective and printing studio on Main Street in Santa Monica …

[ https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/latimes/name/jack-duganne-obituary?id=7945378 ]
Published by Los Angeles Times on May 17, 2020.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2023, 10:28:56 am by Manoli »
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Simon J.A. Simpson

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Re: what to call a digital print and why is there no standard?
« Reply #39 on: April 14, 2023, 01:05:24 pm »

“Giclee” always makes me think of glacé cherries for some reason.

Just saying…
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