An unintentional longevity test

I didn’t really set out to test for print longevity under less than ideal processing conditions. But when I was working on the BW400CN final prints, I tested a minor tweak in the exposure by running a test print using a partial sheet of 8×10. I did this because I wanted to see the impact of the exposure change across the most important area of the entire print, and because once I was done making the prints I wanted to make, the partial sheet would have been the only piece of Adorama VC RC Pearl paper I had left. So I figured I might as well use it since I don’t have any plans to buy more of it in the pearl finish.

I should point out that I quite like the Adorama paper, but I think my preference is for glossy finish rather than pearl, and after handling a print made on Ilford fiber-base glossy paper, I’m sold on using that type of paper for my good prints (just need to build a simple print washer so I can properly process the stuff without having to supervise a tray siphon rig for nearly an hour). On the other hand, their glossy RC paper is great for contact prints, and incredibly good value.

Anyway…the test print I made is a nice little print in its own right. My work print is filed away and notated for future use, so I went ahead and spotted, trimmed and mounted the test print to hang in my office at work. It ended up being about a 7×7 inch print, hinge mounted on a not-quite 10×10 inch off-cut of mat board I had lying around. I didn’t frame it, just hung it as-is, with the overmat fastened to the mount board using loops of tape.

Now, this print did not receive a normal processing cycle, because it was never really planned to use it for anything. It had about a minute in the (non-rapid, hardening) fixer, and sat in the soak tray for a minute or two, tops. Even though it’s RC paper, that’s nowhere near close to being properly washed, and may or may not be properly fixed either. This bad boy is possibly harboring some undeveloped silver halides and almost certainly lousy with retained hypo.

I’ll be curious to see how it fares. And when it does deteriorate, I can always make a proper print of it. I actually rather like the square crop that the test print ended up being trimmed into, and may run with that for any future prints I make from this negative.