What is the problem with vintage photographic papers?

  • Overexposed

Can't do anything with idiots that have found a box of old papers in a basement, don't know completely what is it, didn't read envelop and... opened it and then sold it to you. 

From my experience, about 30% of vintage analog photographic papers (opened box, not sealed) are useless due to overexposed. Accidentally or out of ignorance, one of previouse owner have opened it in day light. Paper exposed to sun is useless and all we can do with it is throw it out into the grinder. 

  • Cracked gelatine

I think it happens when paper was wet and then dry to quickly, gelatine has broke and leaving cracked pattern. Not sue the nature but I have found it on few papers, mostly very old ones. No solution to it. Prints will have signs of cracks and scratches but... if you will be clever you can use it to fill your prints with vintage look and feel. Up to you. I did it few times and people love it. 

  • While spots 

Looks like spot without silver bromides, like a place that was not developed, while area, like drops of water that prevent paper from working. I found it rarely and occasionally on one per dozen of sheets, not repeatable from one sheet to another (one can be bad, next one good). Happens to both sealed or opened boxes, seems very random but usually if one box from the same source have it - there is very high chance that other boxes as well have it.

Not sure what is it, do you? I think it might be... some bacterias or fungus eat silver gelatin? No sollution, just - use next sheet. 

    • Rolled up and bent

    Very common for vintage analog papers. The edges of the page are folded and twisted, sometimes whole box and all sheets are rolled up. Until gelatine is not broken, it is not something very bad. Try carefully straighten it by alignment with the edge of the table. Be aware to not do it too hard, don't break gelatine. Gentle. Such paper will work if you will give him a bit of love.

    • Smoke

     Long and my favourite topic for analog vintage photographic papers. Smoke.... paper is does not have white tone, not completely black. Paper is just a covered with grey fog of grey tones and can't go into proper (in your opinion) contrast between black and white. 

    Why? Because of time, temperature, humidity and lack of love. Too late to shatter the past, but be aware to store paper in cool and dry place. Ofc not too dry. 5-10°C and 55-65% humidity would be good. Someone didn't and now you have smoked paper... 

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