Drymounting = Print value degradation?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by rmi, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. rmi


    I have read that if you drymount a piece of artwork you have just
    reduced its value considerably due to the fact that the artwork is no
    longer removable from the mount.

    When it comes to large (>16 x 20) archival, limited edition, fine
    art, inkjet prints,how do you mount them? I heard that the only way
    to get large prints to lay flat with no bubbles or waviness is to
    drymount them. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of producing fine art
    in the first place?

    I would like to hear your views on this subject and also how you
    personally mount your large inkjet prints.

  2. rmi


    If you are advertising your limited edition prints as "archival", shouldn't you be mounting, matting, and framing according to Conservation Framing standards? I.e., no dry mounting?
  3. According to a large percentage of gallery curators the dry
    mounting process devalues the print to being worthless. They
    would rather have it wavy in the frame than have it dry mounted.

    For me,...I can't stand to see my images anything less than flat in
    the frame. so anything that I frame is dry mounted anything that
    is sold unframed is hinge mounted. (so that the customer can
    choose how they want to present the work.)

  4. Phil,

    Ilfochrome does not lay flat in prints larger than about 16", from my experience. The new material I'm using is Fuji Crystal Archive and the printers are telling me it will lay flat allowing hinge mount methods. Images sold at the Telluride Galery are hinge mounted.

    As I mentioned in your other thread, I'll receive a 24x30 next week, my first at that size, and I'll know shortly.

    I personally don't care for large inkjets so far but this may be due to my flat bed scanning and or printing techniques.

  5. I have only ever hinge mounted my prints, and their waviness is generally a direct reponse to their environment (that's the whole idea behind hinge mounting). The more humid the environment, the more apparent the waviness. In Southern California, my 24x30 Ultrachrome's lay flat with no waviness. If I took them to Texas in July, it would be a different story.
  6. A T-hinge (as others have suggested) with a double mat overlay lies very flat up to 20x24 with a quality paper (might go bigger but I've not printed larger). FWIW, my wife does the same with giglee prints and they are less wavy than the original watercolors.

    I would drymount silver prints but not inkjet prints.

    So far as value is concerned, great prints sell. <g>

  7. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I wouldn't worry too much about the principle of drymounting. I
    was concerned about the same thing on LightJets a couple of
    years back and contacted Mountain Light Gallery who told me
    that all Galen Rowell's mounted/framed prints of 20" x 16" or
    larger was dry mounted. The Ansel Adams Gallery are selling
    John Sexton's work dry-mounted even down to 14" x 11"

    I do think some prudence is required about whether dry
    mounting is suitable for your particular paper/ink combination
    but I know it's ok for LightJets and it is apparently ok for silver
    gelatin on fibre paper. I have to say that I've had some
    conventionally mounted large Type R and LightJets look bloody
    awful after a few weeks in some environments. Spray-mounting
    is worse medium term since the adhesive lets go in patches.
    I'm now pretty close to insisting that all my prints bigger than 18"
    sq. are dry mounted onto foam core or better.
  8. rmi


    Here is an interesting article on "Archival" drymounting.


    I guess the question boils down to how you represent your drymounted prints: Do you claim they are Archivally mounted? Conservation mounted? or just "drymounted"?
  9. rmi


    Check out this article from a photograph conservator:


    Any thoughts?
  10. I have never seen a good explanation of why dry mounting devalues a photograph. Who cares if it can't be removed from the mounting board - and why would you want to anyway? I can see how this would apply to an original painting to keep it on its original substrate, but not a photograph.

    I have also never had a gallery or curator from an art display indicate that dry mounting my work was lessening its value. I really don't understand the fuss about it - and it certainly provides a better guarantee for flatness of your print. (There is no problem dry mounting inkjets either.)
  11. elf


    Two reasons why drymounting degrades the value of a print - first, the print is unsigned, basically, if the signature is on the back of the print, unless it's signed outside the image area on the front, and second, when it comes time to reframe the board it was mounted on may be of degraded quality and in need of replacement for the health of the print. That, of course, can't be done with a drymounted print without damage concerns.

    Now, I know, many b&w prints can be signed on the paper outside the printed area, but then and again, most b&w print paper that remains is either RC or fiber, and if it's fiber, which it better be if the print is going to have any value, it's also likely to be heavier and not ripple anyway and there's a good chance that it won't need drymounting if that's the case. So the entire discussion is moot for quality b&w.

    Color is another problem entirely because there's no white border unless you go into the color darkroom yourself and print it, or make a digital print. Now I have a very good friend who's commencing her 5th year of chemo for metastasized breast cancer because she spent many happy hours in a Cibachrome darkroom, and she's made a couple of lovely prints for me there but her life is going to be short because of those years of pleasure printing her own negs. And most of that is why, along with the convenience of the digital darkroom, so much color printing is now digital. And it, too, can have a border and be on heavy paper that doesn't ripple, like the gorgeous Lumijet Woven Fiber that I've used.

    But I think mostly we're talking about Fuji Crystal Archive, which is definitely not heavy and, despite it's appearance of being a solid sheet of plastic, ripples.

    So the temptation to drymount is pretty big and the problems I've put forth at the beginning of this message prevail.
  12. Emily,

    Obviously you've never made a B&W fiber print. They curl like potato chips when they dry.
  13. Phil,

    A couple of points to updat my previous thread. I've now drymounted about a half dozen 24x30 inch Fuji Crystal archive prints. You can see orange peel on the glossy prints but not the pebble surface, type N.

    I might now try framing the next set and not drymounting them.

    After doing the first print I ended up with a 32x38 finished piece of art, 4 inch width, double white matte. I signed my name, in pencil, on the inner 1/4" section of exposed matting. It looked way too small and insignificant, so on the next set I signed in black calligraphy pen on the face of the 4" exposed matting surface, 3/4" letter heighth . I like this way better. The downside is I'm left handed so it is somewhat chicken scratch looking. I just can't see signing on the print at this time.

    Anyway, I haven't heard anyone openly complain yet that the print is drymounted.


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