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What medium are my digital prints?

Elizabeth Allen , Aug 23, 2009; 08:55 p.m.

I have read through the forum, and am still confused. I am entering an art show, and need to label the medium of my work. This is my first time showing something other than prints produced in the darkroom, so I am not sure the standard medium title for digital prints. My images are all color, and some were printed on an CSI LightJet printer on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, and others through Smugmug/EZ Print with a Lustre finish on Kodak Supra Endura paper. To further my confusion, an employee at one of the places told me my color LightJet digital image is still a silver gelatin print (said the paper is still exposed to light). Any input/clarification/ideas on labeling the medium would be most helpful. I was going to say "digital print" but that sounds so unappealing!


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Roger Smith , Aug 23, 2009; 09:00 p.m.

I don't believe it's silver gelatin but Lightjets/Frontiers use a chemical process called RA-4. I have seen then described in galleries as "Lightjet prints of Fuji Crystal Archive paper" or more generically as a chromogenic print (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromogenic).

Andrew Rodney , Aug 23, 2009; 09:32 p.m.

These printers expose conventional silver paper using a light valve or laser. They are often known as chromogenic prints.

Dave Redmann , Aug 23, 2009; 10:41 p.m.

I think that optically-produced color prints (whether with a digital enlarger light a Lightjet or Frontier or a conventional enlarger) are not properly described as silver halide because, although the paper comes with silver in it, unlike regular B&W paper, the final image is formed with dyes and no silver remains. People who care probably know what a Lightjet is, so I might use that description, where appropriate.

Ben Goren , Aug 23, 2009; 10:45 p.m.


I just call my stuff “photography,” and be done with it. Especially if it’s an art show (as opposed to a photo club meeting), I doubt anybody would even blink at the fact that you’re omitting what amounts to trivial details. Have you ever seen a painting specify the brand of canvas and paint used? If anybody cares, they’ll ask you at the opening reception — along with whether or not you use a filter to protect your lens (and if so what brand and model number).



Michael Axel , Aug 24, 2009; 03:03 a.m.

It should be called a C print, from a presentation/gallery standpoint. The fact that it is a Lightjet just means that's the way the image is projected onto the paper. It is still developed in RA-4 color chemistry. You can call it Chromogenic too, and that would be accurate and standard. Digital print really is not the way to describe it. Some also call it an R print, but that is not nearly as standard as the other two.

Dave Redmann , Aug 24, 2009; 10:01 a.m.

I agree that C print will work fine as a description.

But Michael: I thought an R print was an optically-enlarged color print made from (positive) transparency film, directly onto positive paper? Such materials were formerly available, but I think are all gone from the market. (I realize Cibachrome / Ilfochrome is still out there, and it's similar, but not the same.) No?

Mark Ci , Aug 24, 2009; 06:52 p.m.

Chromogenic print or C print.
Color prints are certainly not silver gelatin. There is no silver in them at all after processing.

Greg Thomas , Aug 24, 2009; 07:04 p.m.

Can someone comment on Dave Redmann's post? I've been wondering that myself.

Michael Axel , Aug 25, 2009; 01:10 a.m.

Hi Dave, I think you got me on one of those messy fine points that I managed to screw up. I should have said that some people call them R-Types because they are printed with RA-4, but the transparency to print process (now discontinued) is technically an "R-Print", not R-Type. R-Prints were still silver based prints as I recall, where Ciba/I-chrome is totally a destructive dye process. Sorry I miss-spoke/typed, but you are right.

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