I originally purchased the ace of spades printed onto flash paper for some slow motion work I was doing last year. After the shoot, I had placed the extra flash paper in the supplied heavy-duty zip lock storage bags and forgot about them. But when I came across the 1-year-old flash paper recently, I found that there was some kind chemical deterioration happening, and after combing the web, it tuns out that the deterioration I was seeing was similar to the way old nitrate movie film disintegrates.
Flash paper (or nitrocellulose) is made by soaking paper or cotton in sulphuric and nitric acid, rinsing in cold water then drying. It becomes highly flammable when completely dry. Nitrocellulose was used as the first flexible film base, beginning with Eastman Kodak products in 1889 and nitrate film was used in the motion picture business up until 1951. It thankfully was replaced by safety film that featured an acetate base.
header image is a small section of the 36″x24″ photo at 100%.