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Thread: Pressing Photos

  1. #1

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    Pressing Photos

    Do photos that are flattened in a dry mount press remain flat indefinitely or will they curl again given the right humidity/aridity levels?

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    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    They don't stay flat indefinitely. In fact I often see prints in frames that are quite buckled and warped.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

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    Yeah, I figured as much. I was considering a dry mount press, but I think I'll save my money. I just wish there were a magic way to get prints perfectly flat permanently.

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    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmal View Post
    I just wish there were a magic way to get prints perfectly flat permanently.
    This is why I'm absolutely thrilled that I'm not a Phamous Fhotographer. I can, with no guilt whatsoever, dry mount my prints for a permanently smooth and perfectly flat presentation. And never worry for a minute that some museum curator is going to take me to task for making his life more difficult down the road.

    Geez I love anonymity...

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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    fdi
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    Dry mounting uses a heated press to apply a thermal activated adhesive. For the most part, if done properly and the print is not exposed to high temperature then it will stay as flat as the substrate you mount it to does. Roller press using pressure activated adhesive also works well when properly done. A lot of prints that bubble and peal are improperly mounted, or they are spray adhesive mounted without using a press or roller. Some people are good at mounting small prints by hand, but for large prints if you do not get all the air out and evenly and fully activate the adhesive across the entire print then it will fail sooner rather than later. Also if you improperly tape a print or t-hinge a print then it will fail soon. I have several prints that were t-hinged 5 years ago and they are all nice and flat. They are in my company’s show room and the AC or heater is always turned down in the evening so they get exposed to fairly wide temperature swings. We are in Dallas TX though so they don’t get exposed to as much humidity as some coastal cities get.

    Cheers,
    Mark

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    Mark, I suppose I should have been more clear. I was not asking about dry mounting to a substrate, but rather using a hot press to flatten prints which would then be stored in a box, not mounted. I feel like I see others' prints that remain much flatter than my own when stored this way. I have found ways to deal with curling for the most part, but they are never perfect and sometimes with changes in humidity revert to their rippled state.

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    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    I actually think if you work with fiber paper it is worth it to have a press. In a box, the prints do stay pretty flat after flattening.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

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    Tony Egan's Avatar
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    I have a hot press and use it for mounting and flattening. In my experience flattening removes the smaller bubbles and buckles in fibre paper but there is a natural concave curve that most papers seem to revert to, I assume due to the shape and size of the original large roll they were cut from. It varies by brand. An important tip is to immediately place the print in a cool down press straight out of the hot press. In my case this is two heavy pieces of very flat kitchen benchtop off-cuts. After cool down and with sufficient border space my un-dry-mounted prints stay quite flat. I still prefer dry mounting final exhibition prints but would also like to be famous someday!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Egan View Post
    An important tip is to immediately place the print in a cool down press straight out of the hot press. In my case this is two heavy pieces of very flat kitchen benchtop off-cuts. After cool down and with sufficient border space my un-dry-mounted prints stay quite flat. !
    Remaining flat until cool is very important to keeping the print flat long term. It helps to flatten the print if it is dried between two screens. This eliminates some of the curl.

    Some brands of paper curl less than others. I have used Kentmere Fineprint for several years and have seen that it curls far less than Ilford Multigrade or the Kodak Polymax I used before Kentmere.

    When storing in a box it will help to store with a flat weight of similar size on top of the prints. There are sheets of heavy metal made for this, but I don’t have a brand name. Often the weight of multiple prints is enough as you have seen.

    John Powers

  10. #10

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    Good Morning,

    Should maximum flatness in unmounted FB prints be necessary, try a sandwich. Take a completely fixed and washed blank sheet of paper and dry-mount it back-to-back with the print (a trial or waste print can serve the same purpose, of course). The sandwich makes for a thinner package than mounting on mat board.

    Konical



 

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