In a dye imbibition print, commonly called a dye transfer print, three separate sheets of negative film are produced through red, green, and blue filters. From these negatives, gelatin matrices are created with cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes. The matrices are lined up exactly on the paper, and the combination of transferred dye images creates a final full-color print. Dye imbibition prints are noted for their permanence. The black-and-white matrix film used in the process is more stable than chromogenic color film, so new dye imbibition prints can be made for many years after the original print.1

1 The text for dye imbibition prints is taken from a handout defining technical terms produced by the Department of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago to accompany the exhibit When Color Was New, February 24–April 29, 2007.

Irving Penn. Eye in Keyhole, New York, 1953, printed 1984. Gift of Irving Penn, 1996.241.

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