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Silver gelatin refers to what most people associate as a normal black and white photograph.The paper is manufactured commercially where light sensitive silver is suspended in gelatin and coated onto paper. The paper is commercially available in a variety of different types and sizes. The paper is very receptive to toning and when properly processed is said to last 500 years without any noticeable fading. If toned they can last even longer.
In short......Silver gelatin prints are made by placing a negative in an enlarger where the image is projected onto the light sensitive paper. The artist is able to make some areas lighter or darker by "burning and dodging" or controlling how much light hits the paper. The print is then developed and processed to archival standards, dried, flattened, spotted and signed.