Dye destruction print

  • Dye destruction print

  • Tirage à destruction de colorants

    A dye destruction print is a silver-process- colour print obtained using a positive transparency – normally a slide – or, from the 1990s onwards, a digital file.

    Based on a technique developed by Dr Bela Gaspar in the first half of the 20th century, an image is formed from the selective bleaching – or selective destruction – of dyes during the development process. The process is based on subtractive three-colour synthesis: the print support is composed of three layers of yellow, magenta and cyan-coloured gelatin on laminated paper or a pigmented plastic film. Unlike the supports used for chromogenic processing, the image is formed from dyes already present in the sensitized paper which are then destroyed according to the amount of light received.

    Following a research agreement made between photographic-support manufacturer Ilford and the chemical group Ciba, in 1963 the technique was marketed under the name Cilchrome®, which later became Cibachrome®, and finally, in 1991, Ilfochrome®.
  • Tirage à destruction de colorants

    A dye destruction print on a polyester support has a unique aesthetic. The plastic support produces an ultra bright image, and the azo dyes reproduce the transparency's luminosity and depth of colour. When a RC (Resin Coated) support is used, the colours are softer, and the surfaces more varied, satiny and bright. The prints are similar to those obtained from chromogenic processing, but the print's dyes have a much higher level of stability.

    Ilford's 2013 bankruptcy declaration signaled the technique's gradual disappearance.
  • Tirage à destruction de colorants

    Visual glossary of photographic techniques © ARCP / Mairie de Paris, 2014

    Images from the top:
    Loretta Lux, The Walk, 2004
    Enlarged detail x 2
    Enlarged detail x 8


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