“Fantastika” – Ilford Plastika Darkroom Paper

On the off chance, I picked up some more papers to add to my ever growing collection. Some say old papers are fogged and damaged, well I say that’s not my experience at all. Of course from time to time you get unlucky however more so – I get lucky!

Today was no exception to that cause. The absolute surprise was this Ilford photographic paper name ‘Plastika’. A product brand I had yet to hear of it until I researched a little on the Internet.  The ‘Plastika’ moniker was used by Ilford from 1938 until sometime into the 1960’s.

I guessed from this and a brochure I found (PDF), one can conclude the papers fits somewhere between 1955 and 1965 roughly. The results from this 60 or so year old paper are, I believe are wonderful.

Ilford Plastika

Ilford introduced ‘Plastika’ in 1939. Plastika was a long lived product, and ran until the 1960s.

Ilford Plastika Print
Ilford Plastika Print

It is a Chloro-bromide paper, generally speaking, has characteristics intermediate between bromide and chloride. With a speed slower than bromide, but faster than chloride, it will produce a warm-brown tone that can be influenced considerably by exposure and development.

This paper was a precursor to the rapid papers or the high speed chloro-bromide papers such as ‘Record-Rapid’.

Source https://darkside.photography/technical-basement/yesterdays-papers/

Ilford Plastika 20x30cm Paper
Ilford Plastika 20x30cm Paper


Unfortunately the more I read in forums concerning the darkroom papers especially posts made in the last few years there’s seems to be a lot of nonsenses. All I say is, try it and see. This is becoming my darkroom mantra especially with these old papers finds.

I’ve also noticed something of a trend in prices, a hike for so called ‘vintage’ papers. Unfortunately also images of boxes opened on display especially on eBay. Such beautiful old papers destroyed in seconds. Nonetheless there are plenty of papers still around at least for now.

Ilford Plastika is “Fantastika”!

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