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Color Coupler Prints

Colour coupler prints, also known as chromogenic color prints, are full color photographic prints. They are made using chromogenic materials and processes that work by forming an original silver image and then replacing it with a dye image. This process is one that many are unknowingly familiar with, as it's the same process that creates the photographs from color film rolls developed at drugstores.

The first commercially available colour coupler print process was named Kodacolor and was introduced by Kodak in 1942. The process has been continually improved since then through the creation of enhanced couplers, which improve image stability. Though the procedure is a complicated one, it produces cost effective, stable prints.

Colour coupling printing is still a process employed today by photographers. Artists who have worked with colour coupler prints include Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, and Matthew Barney.

Quick Facts

  • Matthew Barney's colour coupler "Envelopa: Drawing Restraint 7 (Guillotine)" sold for $123,500 at Christie's in 1998
  • Andreas Gursky's colour coupler "Paris, Montparnasse" sold for $600,000 at Christie's in 2001
  • Cindy Sherman's colour coupler "Untitled" sold at Christie's in May 2011 for $3,980,500, making it the highest price ever realized for a photograph at the time

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