View Full Version : displaying prints survey

james mickelson
30-Nov-2003, 07:56
I just returned from NoCal and wanted to relay this observation. I didn't get to as many galleries as I had hoped but the galleries I did get to are about equally split between dry mounting the prints onto mountboard but not foamcore and all had window mats hinged at the top. The most prevalent corner mounted prints were the color regardless of whether digitally printed or manually printed such as Ilfochromes or dye transfers. Of the black and white silver prints I saw and was able to look closely at, the majority seemed to be dry mounted with window matts. All of the alt process prints with just a few exceptions were mounted with cornersand some type of double sided tape which held them firmly to the mount somehow. Talking with the gallery assistants gave me the impression that it was up to the artists as to how the prints were handled and mounted. I will relay what I find about this subject to the forum when PhotoLA comes around in Jan. This is a very interesting exercize.

Richard Martel
30-Nov-2003, 08:46
Thank you for your research...Richard

Ted Harris
30-Nov-2003, 10:12
For those that are interested in going into depth on the subject the book "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" is a good place to start. Archivists seem almost universally opposed to dry mounting while photographers themselves are divided. I dry mount my prints for sale and exhibition and then overmat them. The four sided tape referred tom deoending on its type, can also have problems.

As for the asethetics you do what appeals to you. As for the permanence there are many threads here and on photo.net on the subject. See especially several posts by Michael Smith regarding how he and Paula now deal with presentation.

tim atherton
30-Nov-2003, 10:21
"The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" It's the standard Museum and COnservators reference.

you can download the entire tome for free:


2-Dec-2003, 18:11
I forget his name, but a fellow who is quite well-known for being involved in the research of archival storage, found that of all of the antique photos which he studied, those which were dry mounted had fared better than those which were corner-mounted or otherwise mounted.

Personally, I go with the Weston style, and dry mount only. No window mats, just dry mounted to a sheet of buffered mat board. I like the way it looks, and it keeps the print permanently attached to the mat board. This provides a barrier to any contaminants coming from the back of the print, as well as permantly affixing it to the object (the mat board) which contains my signature and, on the back, print information.

Bruce Watson
3-Dec-2003, 08:39
I hear and read more information that agrees with Jason above.

There are clearly conflicting opinions from creditable sources. Some say dry mount. Some say hinge mount (larger prints) or corner mount (smaller prints).

If you dry mount, your print is permanantly attached to the board. If the board is damaged (say, the framing allows some moisture in and the mount board warps or delaminates) then the print is toast. This is why conservators don't like this approach.

If you hinge mount (linen tape with rice glue for example), you don't have a nice way to sign and ID your print. Plus, you put adhesive on the front of the print.

Difficult choices. It would be nice to have a definitive answer, but I'm not going to hold my breath!