Printing images is no longer the default choice for photographers seeking to display their work. Today, images are more easily shared and efficiently stored as digital files, viewed on the screens of smartphones, tablets and computers. But the downside to this portability is the uncertainty around whether today’s digital photographs will still be as accessible two centuries in the future. File formats change; hard drives fail or are damaged. Since gelatin silver prints have demonstrated lasting power—many examples from the 19th century still exist—photographers seeking to bequeath their work to posterity might consider printing it the old-fashioned way. Meanwhile, their clients, who hope to hand down memories from generation to generation, would be better advised to print a handful of important moments than to store thousands as digital files.
More than a century after Kodak founder George Eastman first mass-produced dry plates coated with silver halides, they remain the key ingredient in the professional photographic paper produced today by Kodak Alaris, which uses the KODAK brand under license. Today’s silver halide papers—such as KODAK Professional Endura Paper—are dramatically better than the gelatin silver prints of old.
They have a huge dynamic range, smooth flesh tones and accurate colour reproduction under almost any light source.
They will also endure for more than 100 years without fading in a typical environment, and more than 200 years in storage.
Kodak Alaris remains committed to the sector, researching and developing its printing technology. It launched or upgraded five of its silver halide products in the last 12 months, with more on the way.
Silver halide sets the standard against which other imaging technologies are measured. Its smooth, continuous tone makes it the gold standard for professional portraiture and the commercial print market. In addition, its colour negative paper (CNP) is efficient to print, process and finish, making it a cost-effective choice. Paradoxically, a technology from the past remains the highest-quality printing method available to professional photographers today, and the surest way of preserving photography for the future.
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