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Best way to mount inkjet prints?

Jeff Hintzman , Aug 11, 2005; 11:53 a.m.

What is the best way to mount inkjet prints? I use mounting tissue and a heated press for mounting conventional photographic prints (color and blaok & white) to an acid-free mount board. Will the heat cause premature damage to inkjet inks and media? Is it better to use a mounting spray like the 3M? What's the most archival solution (recognizing that most inkjet prints themselves are not really archival).


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.[. Z , Aug 11, 2005; 12:32 p.m.

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Eric Friedemann , Aug 11, 2005; 12:41 p.m.

Inkjet prints I frame always have an inch or more of border on all four sides. As such, I simply use archival corners to hold the print in place on an archival matte board:


Then, I over-matte and frame. Since I'm printing on sheets of heavy 100% rag matte (e.g. Ilford Galerie Fine Art Matte) paper, I haven't had any problems with prints curling or buckling after framing.

Bruce Hooke , Aug 11, 2005; 01:48 p.m.

For the record, I don't think any method where the entire photograph (or other work of art on paper) is glued down to a backer board is truly "archival." Archival standards require that the mounting process be fully reverseable, and as far as I know it is pretty hard to reverse the dry-mounting or spray-mounting process. The MOST archival solution is probably to use hanging tabs made of Japanese paper glued with rice starch glue. For details get your hands on a copy of the book "Curatorial Care of Works of Art on Paper." Whether these lengths are necessary for your photographs is a seperate issue of course.

Bruce Watson , Aug 11, 2005; 01:59 p.m.

Eric Brody , Aug 11, 2005; 02:45 p.m.

I've been using my Seal drymount press to mount inkjet prints, made on my 1280. Some are as much as 5 years old and seem fine. My "real" photographs are made in my darkroom on fiber paper, processed in the traditional archival fashion, washed for an hour in a proper washer, selenium toned, and drymounted on the best acid free board I can buy and will doubtless outlast me.

Your last sentence is probably the most important. I do not doubt that prints made with the newer Epson and HP pigment based inks will last a long time. As with all these questions, what matters is the definition of a long time and who will want to look at them. Actually, as I think about it, it may be more important to have long lived digital prints than those from traditional negatives given the improbability of there being ways to store the original digital files "archivally."

If I can find a negative, I can still print it (at least as long as there are either traditional materials or a proper scanner available). The future of digital files is less certain.

Brad - , Aug 11, 2005; 03:03 p.m.

Eric Friedemann has it right...

I'd never drymount any print that I cared about. UNLESS, the print is so large that archival mounting to a backing board with corners will not provide adequate support. Then I'd cold press with archival materials.

Bill Pearce , Aug 11, 2005; 05:30 p.m.

An interesting sidelight to this is that for years, Kodak recommended dry mounting for archival materials. The theory being the dry mount tissue is neutral, and isolates the print from any impurities in the mount board. Don't know if they still do, or even care.

Reversable is the standard for museums.

Bill Pearce

Dana Clemons , Aug 11, 2005; 05:52 p.m.

Jeff, another angle to consider. I first went the archival hinge mounting routine with a good amount of overmat, and while it was more archivally accepted, the client wants a great looking print today, as well as tommorow. It may be fine printing some 12x18's and hinge mounting them in Arizona, but here in humidity-laden New England, you'll definately notice some curling and buckling eventually. I've been doing the art show circuit for 5 years, and now own my own gallery, and after seeing customers (not photographers) reactions and comments, I'm firmly convinced of keeping that print perfectly flat. It just doesn't sell once it starts to wave. I've been printing and drymounting with my Epson2200 and now Epson 4000, and a Seal drymount press for three or four years now, and the prints look just as good as the new ones off the press today. I frame using all acid free materials and UV glass to help ensure longevity. Maybe they lose a tad (some debate) in longevity, but they'll look better throughout the owners lifetime. And heck, if they want to change the mat or frame, they still can, just not the acid free backing.

David Elm , Aug 11, 2005; 10:44 p.m.

I have not had problems dry mounting matte materials with Seal Colormount at 175F for 1 minute. Let the print dry one day before mounting.

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