Does everyone mount with bright white mats?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by CPorter, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Was wandering if bright white mats are what everyone uses to mount their prints. I know the idea is for the print to be mounted on a neutral, uncompetitive color, so I was wandering if anyone mounts on something different, that is also neutral. I was specifically thinking about a color that is tantamount to neutral gray, not middle gray, more like a zone 3 or 4 tone. The reason I ask is that some websites present a similar tone for the background color and I think it really enhances the print values, but maybe this would not translate to the physical print and mount.

    Your thoughts. Thanks
    Chuck
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's a very personal choice, I used to use a grey like you mentions and the prints look OK, card's not that expensive try matting a print.

    Ian
     
  3. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Lately, when mounting B&W I go with a "natural" white, a bit less in-the-face than bright white. But my thoughts on this have varied over time. A couple of recent color photos, I used a very light grey (Zone 7?). I might on a rare occasion pick a darker grey or a color for some particular effect but I can't remember the last time I did so.
     
  4. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I haven't begun shooting again but a million years ago middle gray was my choice. I preferred it because it offered a nice contrast for both the darkest shadow areas as well as the highlights. Bright white, IMHO, doesn't allow whites in the prints to sparkle. The tough issue is finding a gray that precisely matches the prints because the slightest variation in tone is annoying... even ugly.
     
  5. asp.artist

    asp.artist Member

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    Just another thought, where are the prints going to be shown? Gallery walls are generally very white, walls in peoples homes come in a variety of colors, corporate is a mixed bag, and you are in control of your portfolio. Might be good to matt a print in several variations of white to grey, and try them out. Hang them in your house, lend them to a friend, enter them into shows, etc. I was just lucky enough to see 2 of my pieces side by side in a gallery show, and simple matt and frame worked much better than I thought (your work looks different when you get it out of your working space). As others have noted, styles and tastes change. And also, viewing a website is a different visual experience than viewing something in person.

    Anne
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Personal taste, mood, etc aside, the idea is to find a mount, overmat and frame what does not compete with the image tones and does not fight for attention. A full-scale print has all tones from paper white to the darkest black the paper can produce. A black mount competes with the shadows and makes them look weak. Bright white mounts compete with the highlights of the print and makes them look 'dirty'. To maintain print brilliance, the highlights in the print should be lighter than the mount. The best color is an off white or very light gray. Attached is an example how mount color affects identical print tones. A light gray surrounded by white looks darker then the same gray surrounded by black.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    My choice for mat is consistently a very pale cream; only the slightest hint of a warm tone. [I'm not great at describing colours]. It's warmer than bright white, but not even close to buttery. To me, the very slight warmth balances or complements the cool, neutral tonality of a fiber print.

    A friend made a fiber print in my darkroom, and chose to have it double-matted; black over white. He's quite happy with it. I'm not yet convinced.
     
  8. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    Why EVERYONE mounts with Bright White Mats......except those who don't.

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself...
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Crescent Select Pure White CS9804
    I buy it pre cut from American Frame in Toledo, OH
    Americanframe.com
    tel:800.537.0944

    John Powers
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Mark Twain said that there are two types of people:

    • Those that divide people into two groups
    • and those that do not.
    Steve
     
  11. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I didn't anticipate it being a very active thread, but I wanted to get some thoughts on what color mounts that others may be using-------thanks for the well meaning thoughts. I believe I like the idea of trying an ivory or off white mount.
     
  12. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I never use the very stark whites that look like the shirts they have on washing powder adverts. Too bright. I use the regular whites and soft whites etc.
     
  13. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I usually mount black
     
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  15. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Natural, bone- or off-white works very well with B&W or colour, but it is a personal choice. A good framer will help you decide on the best complimentary matting. Personally, for more than 26 years I have framed all my Ilfochromes under bone-white 9-ply rag mat with a plain black frame.

    I don't really think that websites should guide or otherwise influence your decisions and choices on matting physical prints.
     
  16. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    It's all a personal choice? However, a black mount makes it very hard for the printer to get vivid blacks into the image, and most black mounts are not archival. I think the black is too depressing, and I knew a few printers who did it, because they admittedly had some problems with printing good highlights, and they hoped to overcome it with a black mount. They are right, it does help with the highlights, but they are paying for it with weak blacks in the print. Once they learned to print the highlights, they dropped the black mount.

    Having said that, one function of the mount is to isolate the print from its surroundings. Depending on the wall color, black may work well.
     
  17. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    That's a timeless classic choice, and it happens to be mine as well!
     
  18. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I go for the creamier toned from pure white matte if I have a warm toned paper, and the matting suits the image.

    I printed an image from the last of one of my Ektalure packets and developed to in warm (like 76F) Ansco 130 over the holdays. It dd not fit with an all white matte well at all.

    I do find some images work well in a black matte, but it varies.
     
  19. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Personal choice is what it boils down to. Mine is Westminster Rag Board from Light Impressions in bright white which some how gets toned down when covered by glass for silver prints and in natural white for pt/pd prints (mine are warm tone). I wouldn't mix for the same media. Also I have pretty much stopped dry mounting and use archival corners because if the mounting board gets damaged or climate stained it's a problem.
     
  20. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    At our gallery we have found that double matted photos sell the best. We use a toned down white outer matte and a slim black matte as the inner matte. We have experimented with colors and grays, but the black and white seem to do the best/ Don
     
  21. wiggywag

    wiggywag Member

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    Natural white, off white, antique white is my choice for BW work. But a BW print have color in it as well, especially after toning...so it depends on the BW print/paper which mat I prefer.
     
  22. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    As Ralph mentioned, many people will avoid a bright white to avoid having a mat that is brighter than the whites in the image. In general, I will use the bright white but I like high contrast and deep saturation in my colors so I also like the frame and mat to be high contrast but that is my personal preference. If I am doing soft pastels, sepia tone, or low contrast black and white, then I will definite go with a less bright white mat such as the Bainbridge “photo white” mat which is good general use white for photography…thus the name.

    Black is another commonly used mat color, but it is not as safe as white. My companies largest selling mat colors are by far white, with the slight off white and the bright white both selling in high quantity. One thing I have noticed is that most large orders will tend to be colors like photo white which indicates that it is mostly more professional people ordering it.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  23. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I mount most of my B&W's with Bainbridge Alphamat, matte white, which is slightly bone coloured, or photo white, which looks a little more grey. This depends on the type of paper I use, either warm or neutral tone. For high key prints I will often use a double mat, with black being the inner.
    A double mat of the same colour can be quite effective also, but adds considerably to your cost. I find that most galleries around here are very conservative, and just want that off-white mat with a thin black or natural wood frame.
    I never have had much success with black mats, but these can be effective with colour. Bainbridge make a grey mat called photo grey, which is as near as damn it to your Kodak grey card, and this can work well with low key prints, especially with an off white inner mat.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I use the white mount/mat boards from Freestyle for practically everything. For larger mats, I get 32x40 sheets from a local art store and cut them down.
     
  25. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I use off white mats. Which color off white depends on the paper, the photograph and whether or not it was toned. The only rule that I follow is which color mat will make the print display the best.

    Steve
     
  26. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I try to match the highlights in the print. For cold neutral prints, white is appropriate, but not a bright white, maybe something ever so slightly off white. For warm toned images, off white or slightly creamy works well. And for toned prints in sepia or viradon with creamy yellow highlights I like again an off white mat or more than often a cream colored mat.