Originally Posted by Katharine Thayer
regarding brom silver printing; when last year I actually made some baryta prints, I tried glossy and matte surfaces and decided that on the whole, I liked matte better - also because they are easier to hand-colour, should I want so.
Katharine and Loris,
Regarding gum prints, with my technique of fixing the paper on a rigid substrate in order to re-register for larger prints, I found I have to varnish them in order to keep the gum from somewhat dissolving again in the hot water bath which is necessary for separating the paper again from the substrate. I used some semi-matte varnish which did not make the prints glossy, nor did it actually obscure the paper surface, it added a silky sheen. I printed a small portfolio last year which was exhibited twice, once in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, and this winter/spring in the Anthropological Museum, Munich. As I said, this was first by necessity, but I noted an increased luminosity of my prints at home. The ambient light particularly in the Pergamon Museum was somewhat difficult, and even though I had no direct comparison, because all my prints I brought there were varnished, I was very pleased how well they fared there, also being under glass.
All the same, I am somewhat concerned about permanence. For me, the permanence of alt prints is an issue, and I don't want to compromise this through the varnish. On the other hand, a varnished print may possibly also be exhibited without glass. I cannot help thinking this adds an immediacy to many prints, of mine, at least.
Sandy and Andrew, I have never tried waxing, and I don't know how a waxed print looks in comparison to a varnished one. I note that varnishing may bring you back not the whole, yes, but a part of the lost luminosity (I have varnished reject prints partly to check that). I do not have a reflection densitometer, but my point is also not so much about measurable dmax. Of course, then again it is question whether one still likes the feel of a print.