Monday, July 28, 2008

Deep Time Photographs...

On a related note to the wartime photo post below, I ran across this interesting piece on one artist's attempt to create truly archival photographs, ones that can withstand the ravages of time - even "deep time", or spans measured not in years or even decades but in centuries or even millenia.

As is pointed out, photographs, particularly color photos, tend to have a shelf life not much beyond that of milk, and I worry about where all the wonderful images made since the advent of photography will be in 100 or 200 years. The link above gives one possible solution.

There's only one problem:

On the stage Burtynsky showed a large carbon transfer print of one of his ultra-high resolution photographs. The color and detail were perfect. Accelerated studies show that the print could hang in someone’s living room for 500 years and show no loss of quality. Kept in the Clock’s mountain in archival conditions it would remain unchanged for 10,000 years. He said that making one print takes five days of work, costs $2,000, and only ten artisans in the world have the skill, at locations in Toronto, Seattle, and Cornwall. Superb images can be made on porcelain (or Clock chamber walls), but Burtynsky prefers archival watercolor paper, because the ink bonds deep into the paper, and in the event of temperature changes, the ink and paper would expand and contract together.

Hmmmmmmm... sounds like the home version is still a ways off, huh? Dang.

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