A big part of the joy of analogue photography is seeing your image on a print after what may be months of waiting. We now offer this joy on a much larger scale with our new printing service. For our prints we use Baryte paper, the highest quality paper available for photographic prints.
Martinez-Sanchez and J. Laurant developed Baryte paper in 1866 in Madrid as a base for light sensitive emulsions. The classic photographic paper for black and white images consists of a firm paper layer, a white barium sulfate (“Baryte”) layer and finally the light sensitive layer of silver gelatine common in traditional photography. This layer is called the “emulsion.”
The barium sulfate layer that gives the paper its’ name is also responsible for its’ white color. At the very top of the paper sits a light sensitive layer that consists of gelatine and silver halogenide. Most papers are finished with a protection layer, the so-called super-coating. Different paper grammages and finishes (glossy, matte, pure white or warm tone) are available for Baryte paper.
The silver halide of the photographic paper is sensitive to blue and purple light only and can be processed in red or yellow-green darkroom lighting. After exposure (i.e. the projection of a black & white negative onto the surface of the paper, duration and intensity needs to be controlled very accurately in order to achieve a correct exposure) – using an enlarger – (imagine a big slide projector projecting from top to bottom) the photographic paper is developed, fixated, watered and dried. To keep the paper from distorting, a press is used in the drying process.
Until the 1970s only Baryte papers were used for photographic enlargements. Nowadays there are PE (Polyethylen ) and RC (Resin Coated) Papers that have a plastic coating, and classic Baryte. Modern plastic papers are much easier and quicker to handle. So one might ask, why use Baryte anyway?
Two reasons: A properly stored Baryte print can last for 300 years and more. Long before this, a PE-Print will disintegrate to dust. Also, the white tone of the PE paper image will be dominated by the appearance of the white plastic. But not only does Baryte look better, it also feels much better – a real thick and firm paper with a gelatine layer. Therefore Baryte is nowadays used by museum archives and photo artists.
The greatest disadvantage of Baryte paper is the high expenditure of time and work, compared to common modern polyethylene papers. That’s why nowadays, Baryte papers are only used for high grade photo processing. They have lost their importance in the mass market.
LomoLAB Analogue Prints are now available for color and black and white prints from our online shop. Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship. You can rest assured, no scanning or pixels are involved in the making of these analogue beauties!