Fine Art Printing

The value of “Forever Prints” or fine-art Silver Prints for preserving your visual assets

“Silver Gelatin printing is the only process I use for the special images I frame of my family and my son Morrison because I know these images will last. And these are my family heirlooms. They are that special.” – Jennifer Loomis

Jennifer Loomis Photography believes that the images we create together are your legacy – your visual assets – and are special enough to preserve for future your future generations. At Jennifer Loomis Photography, we consider the Silver Gelatin fine art print, or “Forever prints” as one client called them,  process the heart of our business. Our clients treasure these gorgeous prints of their images and create vast photo walls to showcase their family photography.

It is with your legacy and preservation in mind that for more than 20 years, we are proud to have offered the true archival Silver Print for our clients’ images. The Silver Print is a rare and collectible museum print that still reigns as the most valuable and sought after by collectors of fine art black and white photography. These prints are found around the world in museums, galleries and estates of Ansel Adams, Ruth Bernhard, Sally Mann, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Michael Kenna.

Silver Prints Photo Wall

 

Historical significance

Black and white Silver Gelatin printing has existed since the 1870s and is the foundation of modern photography. Since the prints were, Silver Gelatin prints have been the gold standard for archival prints. These collector’s items are made using a wet process, in the dark, with chemistry called the developer, stop, and fixer. These prints capture the complex range of gray tones between black to white and their longevity is fact, not speculation, given there are examples in museums dating from the 1800s.

 

Abraham Lincoln, Silver Gelatin Fiber print by Matthew Brady 1862

Extremely rare

In the last 20 years with the rise of digital photography, the Silver Gelatin print has all but disappeared from the offerings of many photographers because of its complex, expensive, and time-consuming printing process but Jennifer Loomis Photography continues to believe in the value of these prints.

 

Print samples and definitions

printing-samples

Selenium-toned or Sepia-toned Silver Gelatin prints are the highest quality, most expensive, and most beautiful. The image is first printed on fiber paper and then the print is placed in a bath of toner. Selenium toning intensifies the shadows with a distinct purplish-black or umber hue and brings out shadow detail but has little effect on highlights. Sepia toning creates a browning of the images’ highlights and shadows. The intensity can vary depending on the image. These processes ensure maximum longevity of the prints as well as offer a beautiful timeless feel.

Silver Gelatin Fiber Museum prints are our favorite choice. The paper has the silver embedded into the cotton fibers of the paper. The image thus becomes a part of the paper unlike the RC or digital prints where the image lies only in the thin plastic emulsion on the top layer of the paper. Gelatin Silver Fiber papers are truly archival and can last for hundreds of years with proper care. This wet printing technique has been used since the beginning of photography and is the choice for those that want the look, feel, and longevity of a fine art photograph. Gelatin Silver Fiber prints will show a greater richness and depth of tonality and detail in shadows

Silver Resin Prints are a different substrate than the cotton fiber paper but still use the wet process and contain silver.

Luster prints are our least expensive custom print and commonly sold at most prosumer labs. Most photographers call them gift prints. We use a professional printer to make sure they are done correctly.

But I purchased archival prints from my other photographer? Unfortunately,  even photographers who claim to sell archival prints can’t guarantee they are archival unless they are Gelatin Silver Fiber prints. Why? Because the manufacturers won’t guarantee their paper is archival and it hasn’t been around for hundreds of years to make sure.