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  1. #21
    hpulley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worker 11811 View Post
    Archivists hate dry mounting. I know a museum archivist who literally shudders at the thought of dry mounting.
    Sandwiching between two pieces of archival matte board or mounting on photo corners are the two best methods I can think of which wouldn't cause Anita, the archivist, to have a fit.

    It's not for presentation but she would probably recommend storing photos flat in an archival box with pieces of glassine or archival polyester between.

    If you absolutely had to mount a photo to a matte board I would guess that archival wheat starch paste would be the thing to use because, if you had to, you could use steam to remove it from the backing. However, the problem I think you'll find is that, in any kind of fixed mounting, the photo emulsion, the base paper and the backing board will all absorb and release moisture at different rates which will cause the photo to try and crinkle and curl. Since the photo can't move when it's fixed to its backing board, it will eventually self-destruct.

    I have photos that I made in photography class 20+ years ago that were carefully dry mounted on matte board. When they were first made, they looked nice but, now that they have aged, the surface is slightly wavy. To make a photo to keep for a long time, whether it be 50 years or 500, I wouldn't dry mount.

    I vote with Chris. Use photo corners and sandwich between two pieces of matte board, the front piece, of course, has a window cut out.
    It's easy to do. It doesn't require any special equipment and, done carefully, the photos will last longer than you will.
    That`s the problem with archivists, they don`t believe photos should be viewed at all. Every photon hitting the image and every molecule of air wafting by is ruining it, even if it is in a small, imperceptible way.

    I should try some photo corners.

    That said I like dry mounting as it really looks and feels finished to me. A photo rattling around in some corners between a couple of pieces of matboard doesn`t seem as finished but if it is better then perhaps that`s alright.

    For me the dry mounting also helps to make the picture truly flat but if as you say it will eventually wrinkle itself on the mounting board then I wonder, what if you do the more modern thing of mounting it on foamcore instead of matboard?
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  2. #22
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    Once someone has decided that they have nothing to learn from those who have knowledge, they cannot be helped or taught. Do it how you want guys. The OP asked a question, I answered it with the correct answer. The photo corners I recommended are archival, cheap, easy to use, fully reversible, and acceptable to museums and galleries if he is fortunate enough to get shown by any.

    As for dry mounting, 80 yrs as some mentioned for Adams work, is not really long. There really are good reasons NOT to use permanent adhesives.
    Chris Crawford
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  3. #23
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    There are many ways to attach prints to boards. Several of those methods will look great for years. But "years" is not the same as archival. Archival refers to centuries. That is why you should investigate and use methods that are tested under advanced aging conditions by people like those at the Wilhem Institute and George Eastman House. These are people that have PhD's in document preservation/conservation. They test new materials constantly, yet they still recommend the same methods. Are there new materials that pass? Yes, some new silicone based adhesives, but they are very expensive for the home framer.

    If you are not concerned about true longevity, then mount however you want. I have before for temporary installations, but for archival mounting I drymount or use photo corners, I process and wash my prints to ANSI standards for archival longevity, and I only use 100% rag boards.
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  4. #24
    hpulley's Avatar
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    Do you mail prints mounted on corners then, or just naked prints or in an archival translucent sleeve? There isn't much point in mailing a new mounting board for the back though I suppose if you had a window in mind you could mail that...
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  5. #25

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    I think the best way to avoid drymounting is to print with a border, use tape to hold the print to a backing board, and cut an overmat. Cutting the overmat takes some time, so I don't know if that qualifies. Also, prints won't be absolutely flat as with dry mounting.

    I belong to the dry mounting camp, personally. I see no reason not to do it, unless you are going to sell the prints to someone who wants them loose. If you want to change the mat in the future, just cut an overmat that crops out the mount board entirely. The only thing you lose is the "gutter," and only if there was one in the first place.

    But for most of us to worry so much about the archival qualities of our prints is just silly, and sometimes bordering on arrogant, as long-term archival permanence is largely a concern with work of great monetary value and/or historical importance. I have crates of photos 80+ years old that have survived in cardboard boxes in garages, attics, dresser drawers, cheap sticky-paged photo albums with plastic overlays, etc. in the Southern CA heat, and they look great. After seeing this, and working at a museum exhibit preparation business editing and restoring historic photos, I am certainly not worried about anything I keep on a board in a frame or in a box indoors with relatively constant temperature and humidity. That is luxury living for a print compared to most. I have also seen lord knows how many "classic" and "vintage" dry mounted prints in apparently-perfect condition in museums and galleries. I would say that poor care and storage is going to be the end of a print, not whether or not it was dry mounted. My two cents...dry mount away.
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  6. #26

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    I used to dry mount also, with archival tissue, and do agree that there is a nice quality to the flatness. But I kept getting comments from gallery owners and framers (not just archivists) that many art purchasers do not like the idea of a permanently mounted piece, just because they might want to re-frame it later. Yes, they can offer to obtain a loose print, but then the deal can't be made on the spot, and might be lost.
    I started printing with a 1/2 inch border, and cutting an over-matte which reveals about half of that border (I use linen tape to tape the top of the print to the back of the matte, so no worry about lining up the matte to the backing). I keep the prints flat until just ready to matte and frame. I have to say, unless you are right up on the print, it looks just as good on the gallery wall. Most of my stuff is 16x20, or the square equivalent.

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