I agree that these 'general use' whites are the best bet as you can mount anything in them. Sure, one of the brighter or creamier hues might be marginally better for a given print, but these medium whites are by far the best average for a body of work and looking at the mounted print on the wall with nothing to compare it it, it is extremely rare to think it would look much better in anything else (with no corner samples to play with!)
Bainbridge and colormount both used to have a nice clean but not stark general white that I found perfect. Better still colourmount had this hue and a 'soft white'. If mounting a portfolio, one might select the more appropriate of the two and use that throughout. Both lovely in texture and cut nicely.
Only briefly referred to above is the issue of conservation. The "industry standard" has been white, museum quality (usually cotton rag) board for a long time because they are neutral or buffered and contain no chemicals or acids than might damage the print. If one is concerned with print permanence (galleries and museums usually are), this will naturally limit the colors of board one has to choose from to whites of varying shades and maybe a light gray or two. Bright and darker colored boards usually contain inks and pigments that may contribute to print degradation. Maybe there are some newer materials that give more museum-quality color choices now than in the past, but, for many of us, the classic look of white board provides a neutral and widely-accepted background for the presentation of the photograph, which, after all, should be the focus of attention, not the presentation itself.
I prefer white board for the above and because I find it effectively underplays the presentation while being elegant at the same time. Unfortunately, there are a number of different "whites" available. I hate it when the whites of the board clash with the whites of the print. Since I print a lot at almost paper-base white, and since this is often at the edges of the print, it is important that the tone of the mat board be compatible with print whites. A too-yellow board can look terrible, kind of like that old white dinner jacket which has yellowed over time worn over a nice new white shirt.... yuck!
Since I use mostly cold-tone papers, I have chosen a bright-white board from Bainbridge (Alpharag Artcare board) for most of my work. Some prints I have with a bit creamier base, and find that the bright white Westminster board, which is slightly yellower than the Bainbridge, works well.
I'm still trying out other tones....
The original question is what's called in boxing "leading with your chin ":)
Take a look at Crescent "Bakers White"
Their "Select" (Alpha Cellulose fiber) #9800, or their Black Core #9900.
It's a very neutral bone white that I find works beautifully with any Selenium toned B&W image.
It is equally comfortable with Brown or Sepia toned prints.
A truly universal color for monochrome photography (and ideal for color, too).
Over the past 25+ years of fighting with the fickle foibles of the framing industry and their penchant for pushing the "Latest Trend" in designer colors, (determined by designer artistes pirouetting around in their tu-tu's), I finally found the softly subtle clean Bakers White to fit my presentation style beautifully.
If you're comfortable with something less than Rag or Alpha Cellulose fibers, Bakers White is also available in their International Whitecore #SRM3400.
Phone Crescent at 800-323-1055 and ask for their matboard specifiers.
I generally use bright white mat board but it really depends on the situation - grey is my next top choice. Bakers White, as mentioned above, was one of my favorites for a while but I have since switched to a different one.
I used to mount everything in black matts, but just lately I have used grey, after trying various shades I have settled on paynes grey,from Daler,
Westminster 100% rag museum quality bright white for silver prints and natural white for pt/pd from Light Impressions.
You are moving from black to white. Good choice! See you when you get there. :)
Originally Posted by R gould