For your review — one box of light sensitive paper: 11×14 x 250 sheets — open only in a room properly configured….
I buy em one at a time — these days the one box lasts about a month. In the long past time, this box would have been empty in a few days. That was when Kodak sold paper in 500 sheet boxes — dealers regularly shipped cases weekly to the big studios and in-house labs.
The paper comes in 2 black plastic bags. For the past several shipments Ilford has included a tightly sealed foil bag – about 5×7 inches. The first one of these I encountered I thought: cracker jack, a prize; then, proceeded hoping they had included test paper, or perhaps some form of quality control material. Nope — nada — nothing cracker jack about it.
Instead it contains an ad — maybe useful to some. It is a brochure for Ilford’s Print Storage System: Archiva. I prefer Godiva: silver stripped bare for your enjoyment. However, we are in the age of Capitalizing our customers. If you can’t find new customers, find new things to sell the old ones.
How about some shiny stickers?
Maybe you will use the stickers to proclaim your devotion to Ilford paper.
I don’t. I don’t print for archival purposes. I print for my purpose. Understanding my world. Making things that my cohorts enjoy.
I understand the need to save, to preserve, to feel that you are leaving something to the future. I just don’t have that need. That isn’t an element in my work.
As a young teacher, I made the mistake of imposing an attitude of ‘craft for the ages,’ upon students. I regret doing that, though that is a minor error of mine.
Ilford is the current standard in darkroom prints. I am happy to use several of their products, but use some caution.
Cautions & Advice
When the paper arrives, tape the box. This box weighs about 20 lbs. and even though it is packed in two cardboard wraps, the box will probably have pressure tears such as these:
Tape them. Tape them before taking the box into the darkroom. Don’t break the Ilford seal, just add tape to any break.
I also date the box (month and year is enough). Then into the darkroom where I cut the Ilford tape seals.
With the big box (250 sheet) I cut all four sides. For the smaller boxes I only cut three sides, using the “label,” as a hinge.
The big box lid has to slide up too far to have a hinge.
Inside the box, the paper is in 2 blag plastic bags. Since I have many extra bags (collected over the years) I transfer several sheets (~30) into a working bag which goes into my paper safe for work. The box is put aside, sitting flat.
I do make a standard test of the paper, checking for fog, and confirming that it prints the same as prior boxes. (I cut one sheet into 4 pieces to make these tests) If all is well (has been for years) I print. And do it again in a few weeks.