Archival Qualities of POP and other Alt Printing Techniques : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I just starting reading up on Alt Printing techniques such as albumen, salt prints, printing out paper, cyanotype, and so on. While intriqued, especially by POP, since it's supposed to be available factory made, I was bothered by the complete lack of any discussion of archival permanance.

So, my question is: How archival is POP, and also, secondarily, the other alt processes, in general? I am assuming toned prints for those alt processes for which toning is usually considered mandatory.


-- Paul van der Hoof (, March 18, 2002



I'm sure you'll get more technical answers, but here's my take... For any process to be archival all steps must be carried out properly. Even properly done, silver based images are not as stable as images made with noble metals (i.e. platinum or palladium.) Most salted prints and commercial POP prints use silver and if processed properly can be quite archival, but IMHO neither can ever be as archival as a Pt/Pd print - I guess it comes down to ones definition of archival.

If I remember correctly, Albumen uses eggs? If so, I would seriously question its archival qualities, due to attack by living organisims.

I'm only familiar with Centennial's POP and in order for it to be considered archival, it must be processed properly and toned in gold.


-- Pete Caluori (, March 18, 2002.

There is a great page on processing POP at It can definitely be made archival.

I've been printing Vandyke Brown, for which it is very necessary to get all the iron out by washing in a slightly acid solution. I tone them in selenium or gold, and I'm satisfied they will outlast me if properly mounted.

Bromoil, carbon, and gum are all quite stable.

Doug Nishimura (of the Image Permanence Institute) emphasizes that storage conditions are the primary factor in the longevity of all kinds of prints.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, March 18, 2002.

Try this as well...everything you'd ever want to know about Albumen from a historical & preservation perspective is here...James Reilly from the IPI as well, has done alot of this site I believe....he also wrote a great book on historical processes that Kodak put out: "Care and Identification of Nineteenth Century Prints"'s a classic text and includes a great wall chart showing characteristics of the different types of processes....I'd look at the actual artifacts, if you will, to see how well they've survived the test of time...FWIW, we have quite a few albumen prints, POPs etc. in our collection and some have survived very nicely, and others have not....but almost all the old prints that I've ever seen have shown some form of damage over the longterm. It could be that if you made one of these now though, you could use better materials and better storage though....these prints I'm referring to have come from everywhere, and weren't "fine-art" to begin's the link, and as always, MY opinions only, folks.

-- DK Thompson (, March 19, 2002.

Here's another link for you too....this is for the Chicago Albumen Works...they are the distributor for Centennial for this country. In addition to this paper--CAW does alot of historical printing and negative duplication for some pretty big archives and institutions....they are one of the few labs, besides maybe the NEDCC that actually do this type of work. My opinions again.

-- DK Thompson (, March 19, 2002.

Thanks to all for the GREAT tips!


-- Paul van der Hoof (, March 21, 2002.'s one more!

this is the archives page to a listgroup for conservators....there are alot of professionals, researchers etc. on here. I've read quite a bit on here about POP stability, early images etc. Some of those IPI reaserchers are on here, as well as folks like Louis Nadeau. Just do searches or look under the yearly heading for subjects. This thing is huge, and goes back many years, so it should keep you busy for awhile.....MY opinions as always.

-- dk thompson (, March 22, 2002.

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