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Photographic Print Sample Sets

Set 1 (Historic)


Until now, it has been difficult to find photographic prints made from the same negative but in different processes that allow one to compare – “ apples-to-apples” – the similarities and differences of various processes. These prints provide the opportunity to examine the general features and compare detailed characteristics of different processes: the single-layer structures of the cyanotype and salted paper print; the two layers of the albumen print; and the three layers found in the glossy and matte gelatin prints. Using magnification, the same details in each type of print may be compared, clearly revealing the tell-tale traits of the various print layer structures.

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Set 2 (Digital)

The Digital Sample Set, compiled by the Mellon Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation, consists of 25 digital and traditional print samples all made from digital files. Useful as a research tool or for educational purposes, this binder of prints is being offered for sale as long as supplies last. Subsidized by generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, some of the print types included are extinct, and others are rare or expensive within the mainstream use of the media. 

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Set 3 (Gelatin)


Papers used to develop this set include vintage stock from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) and National Gallery of Art, Washington. The sets include 4 samples for each available paper type, 1 printed and processed, 1 printed, processed and toned with selenium (Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner), 1 printed, processed and toned with a sulfur toner (Kodak Sepia Toner) and one fixed only (white) sheet. Pertinent information regarding processing and toning will accompany the samples.  Currently 8 different paper types are available and have been printed and processed. 

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Upcoming Projects: Set 4 (Analog)

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In the age of digital, PMG attempts to gather analog printing processes while we still can.  Most printing practitioners using analog have long-since closed their doors, but a few remain and are willing to help us in our endeavor.  Photograph conservators care for collections with many photographic processes that are now extinct.  The 20th century saw many wonderful photographic inventions and also the dawn of the color photograph.  The set will include 16 processes including color and black & white prints and also the most popular negative and transparency films.