Current fashion in displaying prints

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Maine-iac, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I went to the exhibit of Magnum photographers at the Portland (ME) art museum today. For this exhibit, new prints of uniform size have been made from the original negs of the photographers, both living and dead. It was a fine exhibit, though I'd seen most of the photos before over the years.

    However, as in many recent (last 5 years) photo exhibits I've seen both here and in Europe, the particular fashion for mounting and displaying prints is to have the print trimmed of borders, dry-mounted on the backboard, and then to have the window mat cut about 3/8 of an inch wider on all sides than the print itself. The edges of the beveled window mat do not overlap the edges of the print.

    Anyone know when and why this fashion began, and if there's a particular rationale that makes it better than the old way of having the window mat overlap the print edges a bit? And what about the dry-mounting?

    Larry
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Are you sure the prints were dry mounted.

    All the exhibitions I've seen in Europe, and the US, have have overmats, some leave a small whie border around the print some crop into the print.

    Except for amateur images I've never noticed dry-mounted prints, in the last 20+ years, at gallery exhibitions.

    Ian
     
  3. unregistered

    unregistered Inactive

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    I never saw that way of displaying Magnum or any other prints like that when I lived in Paris for 3 years, ending 2 years ago. Nor did we mat any of the Magnum prints we did, and we were their major lab and we did matting, like that for them.

    Very strange.
     
  4. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Yes, it bothers me also. But I don't have an answer as to why it's done. Two prints I've bought recently were mounted that way. It does (kind of) make the presentation about the medium rather than only the content of the image which personally I do like. But when you've payed a considerable amount for a print and it will be forever mounted to the one backing board .... well.

    Personally I prefer hinge mounted, and present all of my own that way.
     
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  5. jeffneedham

    jeffneedham Subscriber

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    i was there last night. i actually like that way of mounting.

    unfortunately, there were about ten thousand other people who were all trying to squeeze in too. the platinum prints on the second level were great.
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Larry, I've been drymounting and matting my exhibition prints that way for 20 years. Archival dry mounting keeps the print flat. Leaving a little of the undermat visible makes a good space for a signature. Using one size frame and mat make for a neat exhibit, and much convenience and economy for whoever does the mounting, matting, and framing.
     
  7. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I've made it a point to tally the way prints have been exhibited at the AIPAD shows in NYC over the last several years (although I didn't get to attend this past February). All seemed to be dry-mounted (they were quite flat, but maybe by other means). About half were mounted with a space between print and mat with the other half having the mats cover the edges of the prints. One rationale for leaving a border is to make it unequivical that the 'crop' is the photographer's and not the framer's. To collectors, that can matter a lot.

    The other fashion in presentation has been the complete changeover to black frames from silver with only a few (and those were usually color) mounted in natural wood or stainless steel wide-border frames. Save those silver ones though...the pendulum will swing their way again someday.
     
  8. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I don't think there is anything 'new' about floating mounts - I know some photographers that prefer to do theirs that way. The more common bleed mount is easier to do though, and needed if you are going to do a hinge mount.

    Bob
     
  9. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I must admit that I favor dry mounting and I have tried float matting a couple of times but wasn't impressed with the results enough to switch.

    I thought that mounting on a darker board and then float matting in white would create a good separation between the light areas of the print and the mat. It did, but I didn't find it a huge visual improvement over over-matting so I'm back to conventional now.
     
  10. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Yep, on some of them, it was just possible to see the edge of the dry mount tissue bleeding out the edge of the print. They were definitely dry mounted.

    I think I saw this first while living in Paris five or six years ago-- can't remember the exhibit, since there were so many of them there, and I went to most of them. It may have been the big Edward Weston retrospective at the Carnavalet where I first noticed it. If so, then probably the dry-mounting, if not the overmatting and framing were probably done in the U.S.

    Larry
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    It's a very old way of showing prints.
     
  12. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Yes I also believe it goes way back and was/is common with contact prints to tack the dry mounting tissue on the untrimmed print and then trim all the rough black edges and tissue before finally mounting the print to backing board. Also fashionable from time to time is leaving a small black outline around an uncropped enlargement to demonstrate it wasn't cropped - a bit pretentious I think. Does this really make it more "authentic"?
     
  13. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Small question on mounting (kinda part of the thread): how does one keep the tissue from showing when doing a floating mount? My tissue seems to be irregularly sized compared to the print, and when I trim before tacking, I can only get rough equvilant sizes. Tacking doesn't seem to give a good edge for further trimming.

    After the print is mounted, and the skirt of the tissue is apparent, it seems a little late.

    And technique for getting accurate floating mounts consistantly?
     
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  15. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I spot tack the tissue to the center of thre back of the print and then trim them both together. This ensures that the tissue and print are exactly identical and perfectly aligned.

    I'm not an expert on float matting but I just measure the trimmed print, add the amount of "float" that I want and the cut the mat to that size. I carefully align the mat to the mounted print and then trim and hinge the two boards.
     
  16. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Are you using a rotary trimmer? Mine holds both print and tissue under a guide bar reasonaby securely. They are both trimmed rather precisely when they've been tacked together as Flotsam describes. The rotary blade doesn't 'pull' on what it's cutting either the way a knife arm sometimes can. Good luck.
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    jvarsoke -- I tack the tissue over a fairly large area with a clothes iron to one end of the back of the print. When trimming print and tissue, I hold both flat on a guillotine trimmer to keep the print from curling and perhaps not trimming flush with the tissue. If a bit of tissue shows after mounting the print, a razor blade and metal straight edge let one trim it.
     
  18. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    Dry mounting the print and "floating" the edges of the print within the bevelled mat edges was Ansel Adams's preferred way of displaying prints. I bought some of George Provost's prints a couple of years ago, and he displays his prints this way also, and as I understand it, so do Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee.
    It's hard to do it and get it right. Mostly, you have problems with getting the print trimmed right with the dry mount tissue tacked onto the back of the print. Then, getting the print positioned right in relation to the mat can be difficult, too. I know all this from experience. I did several back when I was first gettng started, over 30 years ago (do I have to admit this?). Since then, I've always overmatted.
    For awhile, I contacted 8X10 onto 11X14, with a mask I cut out of kodalith. Then I'd dry mount the print, and have the mat cut to show the edges of the neg on the paper. That looked kinda cool. I'm thinking of trying that again, but without the dry mounting. Dean
     
  19. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Man...am I ever out of the loop way out here at the end of the road...things have changed? To those who don't dry mount - how do you ensure the print is flat...or do you just live with 'the ripples'?

    My way of dry mounting is to first cut the back mat and the over mat with its window. After butting them together along the top edge, with the window mat face down and the back mat face up, temporarily hinge them with a couple small lengths of linen tape. (These will get cut just before the print goes into the drymount press, so I put a couple pencil marks across where the two mats join so I can line them up accurately later).

    Then I cut a slightly too big piece of dry mount tissue, lay it on the back of the print, put a small patch of seal release paper in the centre, and then tack it with a tacking iron. Then, from the centre I draw the tacking iron towards all four edges (but not the corners) of the print without going to the edge. Now it's ready to be flipped over and trimmed to final size and the tissue won't 'creep'.

    After it's trimmed I lay the print face up within the window of the temporarily taped together mats and position it carefully. (To keep the print from sliding around put a piece of soft cloth under something small and heavy and put that in the centre of the print). Once you find its sweet spot, tack a corner of the tissue to the backing mat.

    It's now ready to be put in the drymount press, so cut the temporary hinges and carefully place the print and back mat in the press. After pressing, place a clean mat and a big book over the print and leave it for a few minutes.

    After it's cooled, lay the mounted print and the over mat on a flat surface, line up the pencil marks you made earlier, and tape together with a couple small pieces of linen tape. Flip the overmat over to ensure the print is where it should be within the window, flip back, then apply tape along the whole length of where the mats meet , and then 'burnish' the tape with your thumb nail. I use 1 1/4" Lineco Self-Adhesive Linen Hinging Tape (item #L533-1055).

    That should hold the whole show together for a very long time.

    BITS OF DUST & CRAP WILL DENT & RUIN THE PRINT!

    Murray
     
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  20. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Very common and very practical, you sign the print on the board that the print is mounted on not the matt. If the matt should become edge worn or damaged it can be replaced. The entire print is visible so there is an "honesty" of inclusion. There will not be an edge line from the matt overlapping on the print after years of display or storage. The entire print ages in the same way, no defining lines to later cover up. I could go on buts that's enough. Did you ask the curator of the show? They should know or they should go.

    Regards,

    Curt
     
  21. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I use the procedure for dry-mounting outlined in the Seal manual. Pre dry matboards and prints. Tack drymount tissue to print. Put print (with tissue) in press between two sheets of silicone release paper. Press for a little while. Take print out. Use a Rotatrim to cut print (and bonded tissue) to exact size. Postion print on mat board. Tack, press, and cool under a weight. The artwork becomes not just the print but the print plus the backing board. That way the print stays flat, and the title and signiture are clearly visible on the work of art itself, as opposed to on a removable mat.
     
  22. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Peter, I haven't read the Seal manual but what you're saying makes alot of sense.

    Are you using Color Mount? Do you initially press for about 30 seconds or so? I guess the trick would be to not melt the tissue, but just to get it to stick to the paper...this makes it possible to peel away one corner so you can tack it to the mat board?

    Murray
     
  23. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Hi Murray,

    Yes, I mainly use Color Mount. I bond it to the back of the print for about 30 seconds, although I don't think that this is too critical. The mounting tissue does bond completely to the back of the print. After the print/tissue is trimmed to size--which guarantees that the print and the tissue are exactly the same size, and that they are perfectly aligned--position the print on the mount board. Tack a small spot by putting your tacking iron on the front of the print, using a small piece of release paper between the print surface and the tacking iron. I always do this along either the top or bottom edge of the print, as Seal recommends. I haven't noticed any problems on the prints from doing this. Then into the press it goes.
     
  24. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I don't get it. What holds the window mount to the back board? I thought you tacked the mount paper to the picture back, placed the oversized paper on the back board and window mount on top and 'pressed' the entire assembly. I don't have a dry mount press and have never dry mounted anything.
     
  25. Jerry Basierbe

    Jerry Basierbe Member

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    Bruce, You hinge mount the window mat to backing mat at the top with a fabric tape.

    Jerry
     
  26. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Thanks Jerry, makes sense now.