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Glossary

Acid-free
Acid burns (yellow-brown burns) appear on artworks over time if materials with acids are used to mat or mount works. Meter uses acid-free materials for all matting.

Aluminum mounting
The print is mounted to aluminum, which gives the effect that the print itself is floating when hung. Because the aluminum is so thin, it almost disappears. The face of the photograph is covered with a UV film lamination for protection. The artist's signature is affixed to the back of the aluminum mount.

Archival properties
Different types of paper used in creating prints have different archival properties. Exposure to UV light causes photographic paper to fade over time. Humidity, temperature, pollution and acidity also contribute to fading. To keep works in archival condition, use acid-free mounts and mats, UV resistant glass, and display art in areas away from heat, humidity and prolonged, bright, direct light.

Chloro-bromide print
Chloro-bromide prints share the features of silver gelatin prints; deep rich blacks and crisp whites on a high gloss paper with good archival properties. The tone is warm brown-black.

Chromogenic print
Also called "dye coupler prints." This term represents the majority of the color prints made today. Part of the material that forms colored dyes upon development is included in the emulsion during manufacture. During development, the silver image is bleached out, leaving only the dye image. These prints are commonly referred to as a "Type C Print" if made from a negative and a "Type R Print" if made from a transparency. Introduced in 1936.

Cibachrome / Ilfochrome classic
A particular type of reversal (R-type) color paper and printing process, which gives strong colors. Printing in this way from a positive image results in exactly the same color saturation as the original, and greater contrast.

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Collodion process
Introduced by Frederick Scott Archer in 1848, this process creates negatives using wet plates. Photographers abandoned the Daguerreotype method and almost all pictures from 1855-1881 were taken using the collodion process. Collodion is guncotton (an explosive) dissolved in a mixture of alcohol and ether. Carefully cleaned glass sheets are 'edged' with rubber solution then coated with iodized collodion. When the collodion begins to set on the surface it is placed in a bath of acidified silver nitrate. The plate is then drained, placed in a plate holder and rushed to the camera for the exposure - perhaps 5-10 seconds in bright sun. It is essential to develop the plate immediately after exposure before the collodion has fully dried. An acid developer is used and potassium cyanide (a poison) is the preferred fixer. Wet plate photographs are normally extremely sharp and grain-free.

Color coupler toner See Mordant dye toner

C-type print
(also known as Chromogenic print) A C-type chromogenic print involves printing color paper enlargements from small, color negatives. This is the most common type of color printing.

Daguerreotype
An image formed on a silver-coated copper plate, sensitized by fumes of iodine. The image is developed in mercury vapor, which produces a unique direct positive image. Introduced in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, who had developed this process after his partnership with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. This process was widely used until 1860.

Edition
A set of prints, numbered and signed by the artist. Two numbers are often used - the first indicating the print's place in the order of all the prints in the edition, the second number indicating the total number of prints in the edition. See limited edition.

Ferrotype
See Tintype.

Fiber-based paper
Fiber-based paper is normal photographic paper: a paper base without a plastic coating. Normally there is a layer of baryta (barium sulphate), an insoluble white coating, between the paper and the gelatin emulsion, which adds brightness and prevents the image sinking into the paper.

Fiber-based papers can have bromide or chloro-bromide emulsions and be available as multi-grade or single grade papers. Many photographers use fiber-based paper for high quality exhibition prints.

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Fresson print
The Fresson print was invented in 1900 in France. This method of color printing produces an image that is characteristically diffused and subtle, reminiscent of pointillism Impressionist paintings with rich and deep tones. This process is extremely time-consuming, requiring from four to seven separate transparencies. Color pigments are used, and the print is developed in as solution of water and sawdust to give it the characteristic effects.

Fuji color crystal archive print
A print on a C-type color resin-based paper made by Fuji. It has excellent color reproduction and has superior archival properties.

Fujiflex
A C-type color paper made by Fuji with a glossy finish.

Gallery Plexiglas mounting
The print is mounted on one-eighth-inch-thick Sintra board and a full box wooden brace is glued to the back. Plexiglas is mounted to the top of the print for visual effect and protection. The image is flush with the edges of the Sintra board and Plexiglas.

Ilfochrome
(also known as Cibachrome) See Cibachrome.

Interneg
(also known as Intermediate Negative) A negative made from a positive transparency or print that can then be used to make prints.

Limited edition
For a limited edition, an artist determines a size, type of paper and a total number of prints to be created. Each print is numbered and signed, and because the number of prints is limited, they are considered unique. The value of a limited edition often rises over time.

Lithography
A printing method based on the principle that oil and water do not mix, but remain separate when added together. A flat polished stone was used when lithography was first invented. Modern lithography uses a printing master instead of a stone. The printing master is similar to a printing plate except it is made of thin flexible sheets of metal or fiber so it can be wrapped around a cylinder or drum that rotates. The printing master can be made by using photography, where the image is divided up into two kinds of surfaces. One surface contains clear areas that attract water, but repel oil-based inks. The other surface contains areas that attract the oil-based ink, but repel water. When printed, the complete image is formed.

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Melainotype
See Tintype.

Mordant dye toner
Mordant dye and color coupler toners are able to produce the dramatic color changes. These toners usually consist of two solutions. The bleach or activator solution is the "mordant" which alters the silver in the print to receive the dye. After a wash, the print is put into the dye solution, then cleared and washed. Different colors can be combined in one print by toning first in one color then another. Mordant dye and color coupler toners are not archival and the colors may fade with time from light exposure.

Mounting
A photograph is sometimes mounted to present the image and protect it from creasing and bending. Traditionally, photos have been mounted with acid-free board. Modern prints more often are mounted with Sintra board, a more stable material not as susceptible to heat and humidity. Meter offers some pieces that are mounted on aluminum and some that are mounted with Plexiglas.

Negative
A sheet of transparent film coated with silver salts which react when exposed to light (usually in a camera). In black and white negatives, one layer of salts reacts to white light (the full spectrum of light). The result is a reversal of normal vision: the shadows are light, the highlights dark. In color negatives there are normally three layers, each reacting to either red, green and blue light.

P Max art paper
Manufactured by Kodak, this resin-coated paper has a rough feel and subtle tonal qualities.
Dan Weeks uses this paper for his large prints.

Palladium
An iron (non-silver) process for making photographic prints in which palladium is reduced from a salt to form the image. Introduced around 1916 when platinum became very expensive because of World War I. This process is still widely used today.

Photogram
A photograph made without a lens or camera by placing objects directly on top of a sheet of photographic paper, which is then exposed to light. Where the objects obstruct the light, the paper remains unexposed (light in tone), while the rest darkens through exposure.

Photographic collage
A single image built up from several different photographic prints.

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Photogravure
Also known as heliogravure. Copper plates are acid etched directly from an original silver print, the etched areas then hold differing amounts of ink in order to correspond to the tones of the original print. If prints remain untrimmed, the impression of the printing plate will remain on the paper (around the image). Blacks often appear as delicate charcoals, and whites - when printed on high quality paper - stay white.

Platinum print
Similar to silver gelatin prints, but using iron and platinum instead of silver salts. Platinum prints are valued aesthetically for their range of tonal variations (typically silvery grays) and unrivalled archival properties, although the price of platinum makes them expensive to produce. During World War I, platinum family metals were hard to come by in the United States and platinum papers had to be imported from Europe. By 1941, commercially produced platinum papers were no longer available. Today, photographers who desire the unique qualities of platinum printing usually create their own printing paper by mixing the light-sensitive chemicals and coating paper by hand.

Polaroid
A manufacturer/trademark of a photographic system which gives 'instant' prints, by which film, paper and developing solution are combined in one unit. As soon as the film/paper is exposed and pulled from the camera the image begins to develop, developing fully within a maximum of five minutes.

Positive
A positive is the opposite of a negative - that is, it is an image which is not reversed.

Prestige RA4 Ilford print
A prestige print is a handmade print. RA4 is the paper process used in printing color prints from color negatives.

Recto
The front of a piece of art. Opposite of verso.

Replacement toner
Replacement toner chemically replaces the silver salts in the print emulsion into a different metallic compound. This usually alters the print's color as well. See
Selenium toning and Sepia Toning.

Resin-based paper
Plastic-based paper type, also known as RC paper. A common paper type for printing images as it gives greater gloss potential than fiber-based papers (e.g. supergloss on Fujiflex). Dan Weeks prints his 6-foot wide photo of New York's 42nd Street on this paper.

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R-type paper
R-type papers work in the opposite way to traditional papers. A transparency (positive) is projected onto reversal paper which develops a positive image.

R-type print
An R (or Reversal) type chromogenic print. A positive slide or transparency is printed onto R-type paper to give exactly the same color saturation as the original image.

Selenium gelatin photogram
See photogram and selenium toning.

Selenium toned silver print
See silver gelatin print and selenium toning.

Selenium toned photogram
See photogram and selenium toning.

Selenium toning
Selenium toning cools the image slightly, removing any olive hint. Extended toning gives the shadows a distinct purplish black hue. Selenium toning intensifies shadows and brings out shadow detail but has little effect on highlights. Selenium can also be used to intensify black and white film images and to increase the archival properties of the print.

Sepia Toning
Sepia toning involves replacing the silver in a black and white photographic print by silver sulphide, which is brown. The print is first bleached, briefly washed and then treated with the sulphide toning solution. A range of different browns can be obtained by varying the pH of the solution. Because silver sulphide is more stable than silver, sepia toning increases the archival properties of the photographic print.

Signature
On works of art, the signature establishes the work is genuine and created by the artist. On photographs, the signature is usually in pencil and found on the verso (link to verso).

Silver bromide print
Silver bromides share the features of all silver gelatin prints, with rich blacks and crisp whites, as well as having good archival properties. Compared with silver chlorides or chloro-bromides, they have a neutral, deep black tone.

Silver chloride print
Silver chlorides share the features of all silver gelatin prints, giving deep rich blacks and crisp whites on a high gloss paper, as well as having good archival properties. Compared to silver bromides or chloro-bromides, they have a cooler tone.

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Silver gelatin print
Silver gelatin prints have deep rich blacks and crisp whites. The archival properties are good. There are three key types of black and white gelatin prints: silver bromide, silver chloride and chloro-bromide.

Silver salts
Silver salts are light sensitive chemical compounds. When exposed to light - either in a camera or in the dark room - the silver salts react by darkening in proportion to the amount of light reflected from the subject.

Sintra board
A plastic-based product that is extremely durable. It is often used as a mounting surface because it is stable, archival and not effected by humidity.

Straight dye toners
These are the simplest of the toners. Actually a tinting (link to definition) process, straight toners actually tint the paper base instead of dying the silver of the emulsion. This can decrease the contrast of the image, depending on the color and intensity used, so the image to be tinted usually needs to be printed with more contrast and/or darker than normal.

Surface finishes
Matt, gloss, supergloss, satin and pearl are all finishes available on different paper types. Satin and pearl are different names for the same finish as glossy-matt.

Tintype
Also called Ferrotypes or Melainotypes. A variant of the wet Collodion process producing a direct positive image on a thin sheet of lacquered, or "japanned," metal, which was usually iron. Later, in the 1880s, the collodion was replaced by dry gelatin. Popular from 1855 to 1930.

Tinting or tinted prints
A process similar to toning, but involving the addition of a single color over the whole print. The effect is most visible in the image's highlights and mid-tones.

Toned silver gelatin print
See toning.

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Toning
Toning images allows an artist to alter the colors of a photographic print (by replacing the silver in the silver salts with another metal) and to increase the archival properties of the image. There are four basic types of toners: replacement, mordant dye, color coupler, and straight dye toners.

Transparency
A positive photographic image on film, viewed or projected by transmitted light. Film transparencies are a positive film. See positive.

Verso
The back of a print. Signatures are usually found on the verso.


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