Image with wide border - dry mount or just put a mat over it?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by tkamiya, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I just made a print on a 11x14 paper. The image itself is centered and about 7x10.

    My usual method of presentation is to cut paper flush with the image itself and dry mount it on a museum board, then put an over mat with gap anywhere from 1/2" to 3/4".

    With this wide border all around the image, I have an option of not dry mounting but simply over matting with gap between the image and the mat window. I've seen this done before.

    How are these two method considered in market place? Not that I'm going to sell this image but I'm curious. Is one better method or more correct method than the other?
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I know that museums do not like dry mount photographs and therefore assume that collectors and art dealers don't either.
     
  3. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    I always dry mount and float the work inside a larger matt, same as your usual method. It's an exquisite presentation. I also sometimes steam my paper surfaces, so a perfectly flat mount really shows that off.

    As far as museums and collectors are concerned, thankfully I'm not St. Ansel. Or even Uncle Bill. But I have heard that MAS dry mounts all of his work, and he's a little better known than any of us...

    :wink:

    Ken
     
  4. blind_sparks

    blind_sparks Member

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    I work in custom framing - dry mounting, while it has the obvious benefit of keeping the primary medium absolutely(ish) flat, is not ideal for ultimate preservation. I know dry mounting tissues usually state that they are archival/acid free, but a small part of me would personally doubt that. Additionally, unless the under/float mat is something other than white there is really no advantage over using the photograph's own white margin. We usually only dry mount when the customer specifically requests it or the photograph/whatever is impossible to keep flat. Also, damage is possible while dry mounting...unlikely, but possible.

    It also presents a problem to potential buyers, who may like the image but would present it in another way. Sure, they could just trim off the excess mat, but most won't. They also then must crop since there is no longer any base medium to secure down. Most of the art dealers with whom I have dealt have simply suggested simple window matting as the presentation. If someone really likes your work, they will spend (maybe :laugh:) the money to get it framed.


    I don't have anything against dry mounting, as it affords some unique ways to present work. I've used it quite a few times, usually for books (but those were palladium prints with just a small strip of adhesive to just tack the top edge into the book, no need to worry about curling with that process).

    I recommend these for mounting work behind window mats - no adhesive touches the work and it's absolutely reversible. Some double-sided tape to seal the mat to the backing board on which the art is mounted and you are set.
    http://www.lineco.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=1251&primary=1&parentId=&navTree[]=1257&navTree[]=2087&navTree[]=1251

    There's my long-winded, caffeine-induced two-cents :tongue:. Ultimately, do what's best for your work and style.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2012
  5. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    If you are not selling the print the only "correct" way is what works for you. If you are selling the print, the only official "correct" way is what works for your customer.

    Since your paper size is 11x14 you have the option of no mounting at all. Just drop the print into an 11x14 picture frame behind the mat and you are done. You can quickly change the image out later and since you have done nothing to the image, all of you options are still open for a different future presentation style.
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    For many years I did as the OP does. Some older prints show discoloration of white mats around the edge of the print. This is also true of a Cole Weston print from about 34 years ago. Now I print with a white (or occasionally toned) border that extends beyond the overmat window. Smaller prints in 12x16 frames are trimmed to that size and are self-centered in the frame. Larger prints are hinged to a backing board.
     
  7. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I'm not getting rid of my dry mounting press I agree with blind_sparks and stopped dry mounting my prints a couple of years ago. If dry mounting is requested then I will accommodate. Living in Florida even with constant air conditioning and always having mounted on acid-free board with Seal archival tissue I have found some boards to have developed "climate" spots while the photographs remained pristine. I've gone to leaving a border, signing with pencil on back of the print, archival corners and having the cover mat window flush with the image. While it doesn't show a signature it does make for a clean attractive presentation with no distraction from the print. Another advantage is that print storage takes less room especially after many years the closets get full.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If ANYTHING at all happens to the materials the print is dry mounted to, you are basically screwed, so I will never dry mount.

    Like tkamiya, I print with a one inch border (or more) on all paper sizes, and use photo corners on a piece of rag as backing board, and overmat with rag also. Since I use matte paper I leave a half inch of white paper around the top three edges of the printed image area, and 3/4" on the bottom. To me it looks great this way, and if anything ever happens to the backing board, I just buy a new one and move the print over. Easy peasy.
     
  9. Richard Boutwell

    Richard Boutwell Subscriber

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    If you have a perfectly square easel (and assuming the paper base matches the matboard pretty well) then it wouldn't be a problem to leave a channel with a little white boarder showing around the edge of the image. When mounting my platinum prints I make archival paper corners that I tape to the underboard with linen or tyvek tape because the self adhesive plastic ones are generally too small and flimsy. If you print right up to the edge then you will need to use something like the clear view photo corners. I would only suggest going with a slightly smaller channel—1/4-inch on the top and sides, and 3/8-inch at the bottom, especially if it is an 8x10-16x20" print. I have seen a lot of prints mounted with larger channels and the proportion to the print always feels a little off.

    That is one of the main reasons conservators frown on drymounting. The other reason is that fewer options are available for conservators to stabilize an affected print when when it has been drymounted. I just saw a Weston shell that had moderate silvering on the edges and was drymounted and shown with the full original 1927 underboard. Now that most people are aware of proper fixing and washing standards and with the availability of extremely high quality matboard the chemical stability of the print is less of a worry than straight physical damage.

    One of the main reasons for drymounting, and why Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee do so, is because single weight papers like Azo are impossible to keep flat and will crimp if you so much as look at it wrong. Drymounting to a larger underboard is the best way to keep the print surface and edges safe when handling and displaying. The other reason is that even if the black edges were not trimmed from the contact prints the window would need to overlap too much of the image too keep it completely under the opening.
     
  10. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Either way certainly works. Michael Smith has a page on his website that compares the stability of dry mounted vs not dry mounted. He claims that dry mounting is better. Not sure if he is right, but let's call it even The argument about a damaged mount is certainly true and museum preferences, but to me it is an aesthetic choice and I prefer to dry mount regular gelatin prints. For my few alternative process prints, I've used corners since they are very flat to begin with.
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Dry mounting is a very old method of presentation and as already pointed out it is then fixed on this support. Some years ago I went to a Weegee exhibition in Oxford and as far as I can remember the prints were put up with drawing pins or some similar simple technique, but it didn’t matter as the images were fantastic.
     
  12. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    why not ask your customer what ththey prefer? i dry mount,because i prefer the look the 'floating' print.and because that's how i was taught to do it.
     
  13. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    Agree with Ralph. After all, it's your work, not some conservator's. He should be accommodating you, not you him. At least if you're at the level that it matters at all. Fortunately, I'm not.

    Can you imagine? A museum conservator approaches the man holding the brush and says, "I don't care how subtle her smile is going to be. If you paint her on that particular type of wood I'll have nothing to do with it. Storing it will be just too much of a pain in the ass for me."

    So a miffed Leo replies, "Forget it then, pal. You don't deserve a painting of her anyway. I'll go find another subject."

    And the world would have been better for that exchange exactly how?

    Ken
     
  14. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    This response from some previous writing. Those interested should reference my interview with the inventor of the ArtCare board, and see the test results that accompany it. After the tests were made, it was obvious it was a no-brainer to dry mount for archival purposes. The article: http://www.lodimaarchivalmaterials.com/lam/index.html

    http://www.lodimaarchivalmaterials.com/lam/index.html

    My understanding is that the molecular sieves in ArtCare board trap the pollutants indefinitely and that under no circumstances are they released. I could be wrong--that is just my understanding and I am not a scientist. But ArtCare materials are still the best way of protecting work.

    The tests convinced me that dry mounting provided the most protection to the work. But aside from that, a dry mounted print lies flat and provides a more satisfactory viewing experience for the viewer. And isn't that the point--that when you look at a work of art it looks good and is presented in a away that enhances how it looks--without strange reflections from a print that is not flat.

    Azo paper is single weight and dry mounting protects against physical damage. It even protects against physical damage with double weight papers.

    And there are other issues. Let's say you print on a larger piece of paper than the image size--an 8x10 print on an 11x14 paper. Now you hinge it to the mount board and overmat it. Surely you would not want to "float" the print. If you did, the border around the print to show--if it were white it would be the brightest thing and would distract the eye, and if it were black it would also be distracting. So you cut the overmat to exactly match the borders of the print. Exactly matching the borders is almost impossible. I don't know about anyone else, but as a photographer I feel I am responsible for every square millimeter of the picture space, the way a composer is responsible for every note. Everything in my photographs count--right up to the edge. If the overmat for a hinged print overlapped the print by even 1/16 (or less) of an inch the delicate balance of tones and spaces would be destroyed. (Maybe not on every edge on every print, but on most of them.) And so I dry mount my prints and float them with an overmat the leaves a border. The matte surface of the mount board is not distracting as the reflective surface of a print with a gloss surface (even a dull gloss surface) would be.

    Although I am concerned with archival processing and take every care, the concern with this can go too far. Many paintings from the 1950s are in need of serious restoration. And then, I recall that in 1989 when I was commissioned to photograph a community in South Florida by Art in Public Places, they were restoring a million-dollar sculpture at the airport (also an Art in Public Places project) that had deteriorated because of the pollutants in the atmosphere. The sculpture had been installed only one year before.

    Michael A. Smith