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Mediums: Photography

When talking about Photography, there are a great variety of ways to approach discussing it. People often talk about photography in relation to the subject matter such as sports or aerial photography. Other times it is more descriptive of the work itself such as black and white or color photography.

Then there are the mediums by which the print or image is produced. While this is not necessarily the most important aspect of a photograph, it does help to at least understand what you might be looking at or buying.

On Zatista, you will see the following “types” of photography:

Archival Inkjet

When talking about photographs produced as archival inkjet prints there are a few important things to understand:

  • The photograph was printed by some form of inkjet printer.
  • Inkjet printers range from consumer models that you might be familiar with to commercial and industrial models that are used for more professional work. Indeed Giclée prints are created from a type of inkjet printer.
  • The photograph was printed with special archival inks on special archival paper.
    This means the inks are specially designed not to fade over extremely long periods of time. Today’s archival inkjet prints can last as long as 65 years without fading if they are properly cared for. Things like direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time can still cause early fading just as it does with many other types of art.
  • The photograph was printed from a digital source.
    This however, does not necessarily mean that the photograph was taken with a digital camera. Photographs taken by film or other types of cameras can be scanned into a computer and printed as an archival inkjet.

Gelatin Silver (aka Black and White)

“Gelatin Silver” actually refers to the special photographic paper and process used to create black and white photographic prints in a darkroom. The process consists of exposing small grains of silver salts that can be found on the surface of a resin coated paper to light. The image is then developed in a combination of solutions which depending on time, temperature and strength will determine the resulting photograph.

For the most experienced photographers, the darkroom process is a mixture of exacting calculations, science, and exploration.


In literal terms a “negative” image is the tonal opposite of a “positive” (or normal) image. For example in a negative, the light colors are dark and the dark colors are light.

In photography the negative most commonly refers to the developed film itself with the most common being a 35mm negative film strip. However, negatives can come in other sizes such as those produced by large format film cameras.


Photogravure (dating back to the 1830s) is one of the earliest forms of photography.


Platinum photography refers to prints created on special “platinum” paper. The process for creating these prints is the same as Gelatin Silver but the resulting print can be strikingly unique.

The key difference in platinum photographic paper versus silver gelatin photographic paper is that on platinum paper the platinum crystals lie directly on the surface of the paper and are not suspended or covered with gelatin. What this means for the look of the print is that it is absolutely matte with the image appearing to be right on top of the paper.

Additionally because of the strength and stability of platinum as a metal, platinum prints can last exceptionally long.


When Polaroid cameras were created, in 1947 by Edwin Land, they became the first “instant” cameras. Polaroid cameras used a specific type of self developing paper which resulted photographs that developed right before your eyes. While many people are familiar with the more commercial cameras that were popular in the 1970s, Polaroid cameras have been around and used by artists for the past 50 years.

In February 2008, the Polaroid corporation finally ceased to produce Polaroid film and now the only company to produce it is Fujifilm.


Snapshots describe a photograph that was taken quickly and without planning. Often times because of their nature they can capture those unique moments in life that are unplanned or taken from a unique perspective.

They are often taken with “point and shoot” cameras. Snapshots can be printed on a variety of mediums.