Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are Silver Gelatin Prints?

2. What are Fine Art Archival Digital Prints?

3. Why are Silver Gelatin Prints more expensive than Fine Art Archival Digital Prints?

4. Are Silver Gelatin Prints better than Fine Art Archival Digital Prints?

5. Why are there some images not available in Silver Gelatin prints?

6. Why do Silver Gelatins take two weeks to be delivered?

7, What are Limited Edition Estate Owned Signed Prints?

 

 

1. What are Silver Gelatin Prints?

Silver Gelatin is a term to describe a process by which a photographic black and white film print is made. Developed by R.L. Maddox in 1871, silver salts are suspended in a gelatin coated light sensitive paper to produced a black and white print from a film negative. It was the traditional way that black and white photography was developed for many years. For a more technical explanation of silver gelatin visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin-silver_process
 

2. What are Fine Art Archival Digital Prints?

For purposes of this site, Fine Art Archival Digital Prints are created from the original Nat Fein negatives, which are drum scanned into photographic digital files. These files are then digitally re-mastered to remove any minor imperfections which may have been present on the original vintage negative. The Nat Fein images are then individually printed on acid free archival matte paper using a professional high definition ink jet printer. Our ink jet printers are designed to produce dark-room quality black and white prints using a three-level black ink technology which results in a print quality worthy of exhibition in the finest art galleries.
 

3. Why are Silver Gelatin Prints more expensive than Fine Art Archival Digital Prints?

Fine art black and white silver gelatin printing is a fading art requiring a highly skilled and experienced dark-room technician. For each individually made film print, the vintage negative is used and handled in the development process, exposing the unique negative to wear. Silver gelatin prints require much more labor and materials too. It is not uncommon for the most expert dark-room technicians to produce several film prints before creating the one that would meet the highest of standards. After the correct exposure and contrast for each individual photograph is achieved, the fiber base silver gelatin print undergoes several chemical processes and washes by hand before being set aside for a day of proper drying. Any minor imperfections on the print transposed from the vintage negative are then retouched by hand.

Although Fine Art Archival Digital Prints have the look and feel of silver gelatin prints, they are much less labor intensive to create. After the initial process of scanning the original negative and digitally re-mastering the photo file, digital prints are created using a professional high definition ink jet printer which can produce a perfect print each and every time. No added chemical processes or washings are required. No retouching by hand is needed and the prints dry quickly. With newer and more advanced technologies, Fine Art Archival Digital Prints simply offer a more efficient and economical alternative to Silver Gelatins, while still maintaining the highest standards required by fine art collectors.
 

4. Are Silver Gelatin Prints better than Fine Art Archival Digital Prints?

This question is continually debated by photography experts while the differences between the two become more undistinguishable with each advancement of professional imaging technology. There are a multitude of factors to be considered for this general question, but we will limit our opinion to how it pertains to Nat Fein photography and the quality of prints we offer.

Since 1994, we have served our clients who have insisted on the highest quality fine art photo prints available. Until very recently, the most clearly superior method of obtaining the gray tones and contrast needed for producing our Nat Fein photography was by way of silver gelatins. Refusing to sacrifice quality for expense, digital prints were not an option for us until now.

With the recent advancements made in professional imaging, Fine Art Digital prints and Silver Gelatins prints are very similar in quality. Top designs studios, professional fine art labs, and artists use digital developing to print fine art. With the three level black ink system now available, we can produce a black and white print that rivals silver gelatins. A negative's image can be digitally re-mastered so any minor imperfections transposed to the photo file can be removed entirely with no hand retouching spots. Digital prints also do not have to be immersed in chemicals and water, therefore the prints are perfectly flat and smooth, unlike silver gelatins which have a tendency to curl at the edges after drying.

Many of our silver gelatin clients however, prefer film prints because it has been the traditional method of developing photographs for over 125 years. Some clients maintain that the silver gelatin prints have a closer relationship with the original negative. Silver gelatin clients willingly accept the minor imperfections of film prints and believe that the traditional development process adds to the print's authenticity.

We feel that as far as the quality of the image is concerned, both Silver Gelatins and Fine Art Archival Digital prints are equal and we offer both to suit each individual's preference. We are confident in the quality of either medium and offer a ten day money back guarantee (minus shipping and handling) and a letter of authenticity with all our prints.
 

5. Why are there some images not available in Silver Gelatin prints?

Some of the vintage negatives have small imperfections that don't repair well by hand retouching, but can be made flawless when expertly re-mastered digitally as Fine Art Archival Digital prints.
 

6. Why do Silver Gelatins take two weeks to be delivered?

The art of Silver Gelatin black and white printing on fiber base film paper may soon become extinct with expertly trained and experienced fine art dark-room technicians harder to find. Many of the talented technicians that are left, only print about once a week because of the decline for the need of Silver Gelatin printing. These technicians spend much of their time with the more advanced professional imaging technologies now available. We only use the finest dark-room technicians in the fine art printing industry and are dependent on their schedules.

7. What are Limited Edition Estate Owned Signed Prints?

These are prints that have been signed by Pulitzer Prize photographer Nat Fein and inventoried from Fein's estate. They are part of what remained from Nat Fein's personal possessions and made available exclusively here from Nat Fein's estate.
 

Got questions not answered here? Call or email us. We'll be happy to hear from you.

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The Nat Fein Collection Inc.
21 Valley Drive
Glenwood, NJ 07418
845-353-5866

Publishers: Email or call for license inquiries.