Photography started from a desire to fix the image from a lens (or even a pinhole) for posterity. Various methods were tried over the years, leading to a number of different means of achieving this end, and with varying success. Always, the aim was to achieve permanence. The great problem with the majority of ther methods was that they ultimately depending on the stability of various chemicals, or the ability to prevent a chemical reaction taking place with the image-forming substance. Carbon prints were highly regarded for permanence because they used carbon which is pretty well inert to make the image. It wasn't a simple process, and other simpler ones succeded it. And, yes, people do still make carbon prints, but it's not as far as I know mainstream. Platinum and palladium printing gives a different print to silver; Frederick Evans (of Sea of Steps fame) used this method of printing, and was said to have given up photography when the First World War caused the supply of materials for the process to dry up. The longer tonal range of these processes is often cited; it goes hand in hand with a "softer" print, in terms of contrast. Silver gelatine gives another look to prints. But how many people decry Pt/Pd because Ag is better, or vice versa? They are generally accepted as equally valid, although they look different. Now the contentious part. Suppose inkjet printing had been invented in 1880. Photographs made with pigments, possibly even carbon as the pigment. More permanent than anything else so far. Would research have continued given that in the early years it was directed to permanence, and carbon was seen as the unattainable answer to the problem? To those who say that an inkjet print doesn't look like a conventional one - what sort of "conventional" one doesn't it look like? A silver gelatine print? A platinum print? A cyanotype? And if being different (even granting that the appearance is different) to a silver gelatine print makes it inferior, where does this leave all the host of alternative processes which also look different? Does it matter how a print was produced? Aren't the important things how it looks and how well it will last? OK, galleries can push up prices by advertising silver gelatine, but does this really affect the print in the hand? A "conventional" print can lay claim to being a one off, incapable of being exactly reproduced (question: how well did Ansel Adams do at making exactly identical prints for his portfolio volumes?) but this comes down to an assumption that the same digital file will be printed each time. Why shouldn't the artist create each print as a one-off with different edits, unless he thinks that he has achieved exactly what he envisaged with the version just printed? In which case, either he stops at an edition of 1, or makes inferior (by definition) additional prints. Discuss.