View Full Version : Mounting, Framing Without Gass.....??
I thoroughly dislike mounting my B&W prints with glass, non-glare or otherwise. Glazing detracts from an otherwise luminous print and reflections are bothersome. But...
After mounting with no glass, the overmat-print-mounting board sandwich seems to bow outward after a few months or the window overmat separates from the mat. Does anyone have a workable solution to this problem?
Funny you should ask. I am contemplating putting up some ledges around the house and filling them with prints. My wife gets the Pottery Barn catalogue.
Rather than doing the glass, mat and frame thing, I have been pondering the ďartistís studioĒ approach. Got my eye on wet-mounting glue from Light Impressions and imitation canvas boards from Dick Blick.
Canít decide on the coating to make them washable. Krylon spray lacquer is a possibility. As a woodworker, I am also considering my homemade brew of extra-blond shellac flakes. It doesnít yellow with age, you know.
Iím sure the archival police have already stepped into the bathroom to wretch at these methods. But I consider display prints to be semi-disposable. I coddle only the original negatives.
Robert A. Zeichner
There are some serious problems that could potentially arise from no protection of a fiber based silver gelatin print. I also know the objection you raise as I feel likewise about glare, however you might check into a type of glass from Truview called "AR" glass. Unlike "non-glare" glass which scatters light and eliminates any possiblity of seeing black (or fine detail for that matter), AR glass is optically coated, just the way a lens element might be. It is not 100% effective in eliminating glare, but it does a great job of reducing glare to the point where most times, the image jumps out at you. It's not cheap, but it will reduce transmission of harmful UV by a fair amount not to mention keep insects, moisture and other damaging forces off the surface of your photographs. By the way, museums use this stuff to glaze valuable paintings and if the lighting is controlled, the glass just disappears.
I haven't tried it myself but have thought about mounting prints to thin plywood, maybe 1/8 inch 5 ply aircraft grade. You could use the traditional dry mount press and give the print a rigid backing. The overmat can also be dry mounted to avoid the separation you mention. Some people will mount prints on aluminum sheets but I haven't tried that either. The glass seems to work for me and does protect the print from dust and the elements.
Frank, I battle the same thing partly because it's always ME who pays for all the materials for a show that others will enjoy. Bottom line is without glass the stuff will look shopworn and cheesey in a year........or less. The coated glass mentioned is probably the nicest and most archival solution but alas it goes wrong direction on the "cheapskate" chart. I've done it both ways and after seeing how crummy the presentation looked after a short time am resigned to install a window.
In my experience, most of the problems with reflections on glazing are due to improperly placed lights. If the lights hit the glazing at about 30 degrees at eye height, most reflection problems go away. Even in daylight. The lighting usually cuts through the glare from windows. It's counter intuitive, but it does work. However, if you want other display solutions, I've seen a couple.
One is "prints on a print rail" like John's wife wants. Instead of a frame without glass, what I've seen work and be effective is to dry mount the print onto a backing board as if to frame it. Then display it like that. No overmat. No frame. If done right it's pretty nice, and you can't get much cheaper. It does put a premium on your ability to position the print precisely on the backer board though.
Another way is to cold mount the prints onto aluminum panels. This is usually done with very large prints, but it would work with any size. It's a very modern "tech" look. If you put holes in the panels in the upper right and left, you can then hang the panels from a ceiling rail. Hang them out from the wall a couple of cm and let them swing. Again - no overmat, no frame. Just an aluminum panel. You'll have to look around some to find framers that can do this, but they are out there.
Neither of these methods is archival. To be archival, in addition to using archival materials, you have to use archival methods. That is, you have to isolate the print from the display environment and provide UV protection for it. But if they are your prints, you should do with them what you want.
Frank,I can attest that the right lighting can make the glass "disappear". This past week I hung some work in a group show in Mendocino. We installed some track lighting. Near the end of the reception someone mentioned that one of my pictures had no glass. I looked at it and was confused for a second, as I also couldn't see the glass. I think it was because the light was shining from an angle, and not directly straight on.
Thanks for all the good ideas. Having proper lighting at the correct angle does indeed take care of the problem, as Jon and Hogarth point out. I now realize my problem is architecture: I live in a mid-century modernist house in which the interior is bathed in light ----- and reflections. Things look OK at night with the lights on.
Robert, do you have an e-mail source for the Truview "AR" glass?
Well, you could glue your mats together with Elmers. Then hang with clips.
Tru Vue http://www.tru-vue.com
But you have to order it through a distributer. A relatively high end art shop with framing should be able to supply this, or a good framing shop. I use the Reflection Control product which is etched only on one side and is a good balance between reflection/UV control, loss of resolution and cost (not cheap). With lights appropriately placed as desribed above, this glass disappears.
Jon: Please do not do that. Elmer's is polyvinyl acetate, a material that yellows with age and is far from having archival qualities. Additionally, it releases acetic acid, harldly what you want in photographic prints. Also, it is a water borne product that requires pressure to hold whatever in place so the photo would have to be kept in a press or similar until sets. Water can cause uneven warping of the print, I know that some water based glues are sold for photos but I would not advice their use. Dry mounting materials are more likely to be archival, they require heat, another potential problem with some prints. PVAc however is the last thing you want.
Well, this might be too simple a solution but why not put double sided tape in between the mat and the board, this should keep it from bowing out.
Yes, Julio, Elmers is not acceptable for archival standards. But archival standards are not always necessary for personal use/enjoyment of photographs.
I think Jon Shiu's thinking has great merit. Daytime lighting in my house is the problem -- proper gallery lighting where works are up for sale is not. I don't need archival standards for "proof prints" hung at my house for a few months at a time. These are for evaluation not for sale.
Thanks to all for helping me clear up my thinking.
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