Does everyone mount with bright white mats?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Originally Posted by CPorter
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.
Why EVERYONE mounts with Bright White Mats......except those who don't.
Sorry, I couldn't help myself...
Crescent Select Pure White CS9804
I buy it pre cut from American Frame in Toledo, OH
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