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C-Type Prints

C-type prints, also known as C-prints or chromogenic prints, are color photographs printed from a color negative or a digital image. Produced during the mid-20th century, the process of printing a C-type involves chromogenic chemical reactions to produce the dyes that make-up a color image. The term C-type originated from paper of the same name, made commercially available by the Kodak Company in the early 1940s.

In a chromogenic process, the paper, which has been is embedded with layers of cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes mixed with silver salts, is exposed optically from the negative. A series of chemical reactions take place to process these chemical compounds with another emulsion called the dye coupler allowing each color to remain in its layer and forming a full color print.

C-type prints can be made using digital methods as well. An LED or laser printer, such as the Lambda model, is used to expose the image. Processing takes place in a more traditional way, as C-type prints are extensively washed to remove residual chemicals and increase the archival nature of the print.

Quick Facts

  • American photographer William Eggleston is known for both his banal subject matter and the rich color he achieves in his chromogenic C-print photographs
  • Photographer Gregory Crewdson is well known for his digitally printed c-type photographs. His subject matter is staged scenes of American domestic life, using a theatrical lighting and rich tones that often hint at a sinister underbelly to the scene
  • The modern equivalents of Kodak's Type-C paper are Kodak Endura and Fujifilm Crystal Archive papers. Used in chromogenic processes, the papers are used by many professionals and have a long history of good quality

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