is a dye destruction
positive-to-positive photographic process used for the reproduction of slides on photographic paper
Photographic paper is paper coated with light-sensitive chemicals, used for making photographic prints.Photographic paper is exposed to light in a controlled manner, either by placing a negative in contact with the paper directly to produce a contact print, by using an enlarger in order to create a...
. The prints are made on a dimensionally stable polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...
base, essentially a plastic base opposed to traditional paper base. Since it uses azo dyes on a polyester base, the print will not fade, discolor, or deteriorate for a long time. Characteristics of Ilfochrome prints are image clarity, color purity, as well as being an archival process able to produce critical accuracy to the original slide.
In the 1960's, the Cibachrome process was originally engineered by the Ciba Geigy Corporation of Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....
. Ciba acquired Ilford in 1969, and sold it to International Paper
International Paper Company is an American pulp and paper company, the largest such company in the world. It has approximately 59,500 employees, and it is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.-History:...
in 1989, in 1992 the product was renamed to "Ilfochrome". Colloquially, however the process is still referred to as "Cibachrome".
Ilford Ltd prior to 2004 comprised 2 main manufacturing sites, Mobberley in the UK, where most traditional products were made, and Fribourg
Fribourg is the capital of the Swiss canton of Fribourg and the district of Sarine. It is located on both sides of the river Saane/Sarine, on the Swiss plateau, and is an important economic, administrative and educational center on the cultural border between German and French Switzerland...
(Freiburg) in Switzerland where Ilfochrome and Ilfocolor papers were made, as well as the inkjet papers. The UK side was subject to a management buyout, and the Swiss operation (Ilford Imaging Switzerland GmbH) was sold to the Japanese Oji paper group in 2005 and to Paradigm Global Partners LLP in 2010. The Swiss plant retained the Ilford name, while the UK operation was inaugurated under the name HARMAN, taken from the name of the founder of the original Britannia Works, later to be Ilford Photo HARMAN Technology Ltd
Ilford Photo is a manufacturer of photographic materials known worldwide for its black-and-white film and papers and chemicals, as well as its range of Ilfochrome and Ilfocolor colour printing materials. Ilfochrome was formerly called Cibachrome, developed in partnership with the Swiss company...
can still use the Ilford brandname and logo under license on previously existing products, while new products will carry the Harman name.
As of 2006, Ilford continues to produce Ilfochrome Classic in front-lit products, back-lit products, micrographic film, and the required chemistry.
The composition of the emulsion
An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible . Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion is used when both the dispersed and the...
used in Ilfochrome prints is responsible for color purity, image clarity, and being archival. Azo dyes, which provide stable vivid colors, are embedded in the Ilfochrome emulsion are bleached out in processing. Since the dyes are in the emulsion rather than in the chemistry, the image is also much sharper and clearer because the dyes create an anti-light scattering layer which keeps the reflected image from being diffused when viewed. As the colors formed from the azo dye are far more stable, the prints made from the process are archival and insisted on by galleries and art collectors as they will not fade in normal light.
Use directly in camera
A somewhat "alternative" use of Ilfochrome is that of using the paper directly inside a large format
Large format refers to any imaging format of 4×5 inches or larger. Large format is larger than "medium format", the 6×6 cm or 6×9 cm size of Hasselblad, Rollei, Kowa, Pentax etc cameras , and much larger than the 24×36 mm frame of 35 mm format.The main advantage...
or ultra large format
Ultra Large Format photography refers to photography using cameras producing negatives larger than 8x10" .The ULF photography 'movement' has known a revival in the last few years, and is still expanding, along with film photography which, despite the very large market share of digital photography,...
camera. This creates a unique artefact, though the image appears reversed left-right. When techniques similar to this were used in the past (e.g., daguerrotypes) photographers used 45 degree mirror add-ons that - when put on a lens - would reverse the image sideways thus recreating the correct view on the in-camera paper/plate.