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Thread: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

  1. #1

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    What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    With the move to a new house semi-settled, decided to get out the Seal 210M dry mount press and all related to try dry mounting some fiber paper prints made years ago. Shopping for dry mounting tissue and related supplies, discovered there appears to be a trend to not allow or use dry mounting of fiber based prints by the archival folks. The claim against dry mounting is based on the print not being removable once dry mounted and degradation of the print due to materials and process of dry mounting.

    Question is, I've got dry mounted fiber prints done decades ago that are not much if any different than the day they were dry mounted. Granted these mounted fiber prints were properly stored. Yet this has got me wondering what is all this !!!! about. Historically, dry mounting the print was part of the photographic print making process. Any serious photographer would deliver finished B & W art prints dry mounted. Color transparency images were a different deal.

    What wrankles me about the dry mounting of fiber paper prints, if not dry mounted to keep them flat, they do not look acceptable at all as the mounted print is part of the finished print.

    Add to this, the suppliers and all have changed.. lots.


    Bernice

  2. #2

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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    I have seen the same but still dry mount. Paul Strand's friend, Walter Rosenblum, dry mounted his prints on single ply board which was then mounted to the larger matte and over-matted. I don;t know how the mounted prints are attached to the larger matte. I have adopted this for the time being, at least, simply because I varnish the prints, as he and Strand did, but don't have space for storing many images on 16x20 mattes.
    Conservation is important, but it can go overboard (no pun intended), as when conservators severely underlight a B&W print exhibit.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    Dry mounted prints simply look better over time. The mounting board becomes part of the piece. Sure, mount boards can become damaged, but so can unmounted prints.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  4. #4

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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    Seal had removable dry mount tissue. Don’t know what happened to it but you might check with some archival storage/mounting and art supply dealers if it or something similar is still available.

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    I was taught to Dry mount 20 years ago in a college class

    My prints from that era look great and i am still friends with the instructor

    I recently bought a lifetime supply of NOS 8X10 Kodak No2 Dry mount here on the forum

    and have some 11X14

    For the last Print exchange I asked people to not dry mount to conserve box room and International shipping costs.

    I heat flattened my 8X10 print in a Seal Press and it hangs by one pin behind me.

    A little curl...
    sin eater

  6. #6

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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    i love dry mounted photos. they look finished.

    i started dry mounting 50 years ago, n still use the same press. i also have a ton of mounting tissue left over, mostly 8x10 which i hardly use.

    my 16x20 tissue went years ago. i recently ran out of 11x14, n talk about future shock, i cant believe what it costs these days. i keep my eye on the classifieds since that's always the best deal in town.

    presses are selling dirt cheap n a great tool in the darkroom not only for mounting, but also for flattening prints. i heard you can also make a great cubano sandwich with m too.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    Drymounting is extremely alive and well. Some of the manufacturers and brand labels have changed, but everything necessary is still available, even if products and sizes way beyond the needs of common home darkroom users. In many ways drymounting actually adds protection to a print because it provides a barrier to the backside of the print, and allows secure attachment of a different perimeter material for handling. Sometimes hand-coated media on textured surfaces like watercolor paper look more natural hinged and "floating" than pressed flat; but for most silver prints, especially glossy ones, they look horridly sloppy and incomplete without it! I would defy anyone to show an instance where a known vintage image lost even 1% of value due to drymounting, unless it was done incorrectly to begin with on an unsuitable substrate. That kind of error did sometimes happen, but there's no reason for it now. A lot of misinformation gets disseminated about this, validating the common axiom, " a little knowledge is dangerous".

  8. #8

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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    I dry mount everything that I exhibit. As far as I'm concerned, the mat board is part of the art work; it's color and surface is important to me. I don't want someone else matting my prints on whatever color of off-white they can find that clashes with the whites in the print. Plus I like the presentation of an exactly-trimmed, well-mounted print with the opening in the window mat cut slightly larger than the print. It is flat, three-dimensional and seems to be a window to another world, not just a piece of paper with an image on it. I hate wavy fiber-base prints mounted with corners and with the window mat intruding into the image.

    There is also evidence that dry mounting a well-processed print on good-quality board with good-quality tissue actually contributes to longevity of the print. I think conservators who advocate not dry-mounting prints are often basing their preference on storage space considerations rather than aesthetic considerations.

    I use BufferMount (Bien Fang now or maybe whoever their successor is... not sure anymore). It is heat removable. I have successfully unmounted and remounted many prints (I had to do quite a few after a water leak in my print storage ). Works just fine. It is low-heat and buffered; perfect for black-and-white materials.

    If my prints don't last as long as someone else's because I dry mounted them, then so be it. I don't want to display or sell them any other way.

    Best,

    Doremus

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    Follow up. Doremus has made some good points. But I don't trust Buffer Mount. I've seen it fail when prints have been shipped or stored in hot environments, even briefly, like a car trunk. And alkalinity, or added artificial CaCO3 buffering, is not good for certain kinds of photographic images - another "archival" myth. It all depends.

  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: What Happened to Dry Mounting Prints?

    This thread reminds me that my last stock of dry mount tissue was defective. I'll be needing some soon. What do you folks recommend? I'll be mounting fiber-based double weight BWprints. No need for the tissue to be removable.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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