Echoes from the Vault

Printing out paper, or “P.O.P.” in photo-specialist jargon, constitutes the progression of the photographic print medium following the reign of the albumen print. Strictly speaking, earlier photographic processes such as salted paper prints and albumen prints are “printing out” processes themselves, but the name P.O.P. is now commonly used to describe this particular process which flourished from 1885 to 1910.

The physical characteristic which distinguishes P.O.P.s from albumen prints is the additional third layer employed in its production. A cross-section of earlier albumen prints would show a paper base, which gives photographs their shape and physical rigidity, and an emulsion layer which is microscopically thin and holds the photograph’s image forming silver particles. P.O.P.s contain a third layer separating the paper base and the emulsion. This material is called baryta and it serves the purpose of masking the paper fibres, thus giving the base a more reflective quality and…

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