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Chromogenic Prints

Chromogenic describes the process of producing a contemporary color photographs produced using the commercially available papers introduced in the mid-20th century. The process can involve printing from a color negative or a digital file, and can be exposed optically or through a laser or LED printer.

Also known as a Type-C or C-print, the process involves chemical reactions to produce the dyes that form a color image. The three colors used, cyan, magenta, and yellow, are embedded with a silver solution that reacts with other chemicals during the development process, which follows exposure in a camera. The prints must be thoroughly washed to remove the silver compounds and ensure the archival nature of the print.

When the chromogenic process came available, roll film cameras were widely available for amateur photographers to take color snapshots, but the process has been assimilated by professional photographers as well. The paper used for chromogenic photographs was termed Type-C, and modern equivalents are the Kodak Endura or Fuji Crystal Archive papers.

Quick Facts

  • Though the term is widely applied to most color photography, the first chromogenic process was introduced by the Kodak company in 1942, called Kodacolor
  • The American photographer William Eggleston brought chromogenic printing to the fore in the early 1960s and 70s with his use of the dye transfer chromogenic process
  • Photojournalist Robert Capa is widely known for his World War II photographs published in Life magazine. Though most of his images were printed black and white, his lesser known color images were shown in a landmark exhibition at the International Center of Photography in 2014

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