Dry mount or hinge?

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Is dry mounting more archival? Do people buying photographs prefer one method over the other? Im going to be mounting photos soon and I am having trouble deciding which method to use.-J

-- Josh (devil_music@usa.net), March 27, 2001


Response to Dry mount or hindging?

I would expect hinging to be safer w/ respect to permanence as no potentially harmful substance has contact to the print. If you mount a print using some kind of glue, adhesive film, or whatever, the print will always be in close contact with some chemical, even if it is guaranteed not to penetrate too much into the base. A hinged print, on the other hand, can always be removed from its mount w/o any problem. So I'd recommend hinging using archival matte.

Regards, Thomas Wollstein (thomas_wollstein@web.de)

-- Thomas Wollstein (thomas_wollstein@web.de), March 28, 2001.

Response to Dry mount or hindging?

With due respect to the hinging faction, I'd like to cast my vote for dry-mounting. For me a rippled print held down by an overmat which defines the borders is not an acceptable presentation. I prefer mounting the print flat on the board and cutting the window a bit larger than the print dimensions. This was once fairly standard, but I'm not just following tradition here. The placement of the edges of the print is very important to the overall composition (of my work at least) and exact borders can only be made on a good-quality rotary trimmer. (Forget the expensive four-blade easels and buy a decent trimmer.) The mat board then becomes an integral part of the artwork and actually protects the print itself from physical damage. If a corner gets dings, it can be hidden under a window mat, but the print itself has not been damaged. Also, signature, print info, etc. can go on the mat board and is then always with the print. What value does a print have as an art work after it has been removed from the hinges and one can no longer identify the artist, place, subject, etc.? If you intend to have your work permanently attached to the board in some way, then dry-mounting is the way to go. Hinging is fine for displaying prints that are normally stored unmounted in archives (news and historical photos, etc.) Finally, there is now evidence that dry mounting actually protects the prints better from air-borne contaminants than hinging by acting as a barrier to the back of the print. (see View Camera Magazine, Nov/Dec 2000). Good news for me, since my decision was primarily aesthetic in nature. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), March 28, 2001.

Response to Dry mount or hindging?

I second Doremus' opinion. Dry mounting is far and away more archival than hinge mounting. I would quote the very same View Camera article, which gives examples of accelerated aging tests with dry-mounted and hinge-mounted prints. The dry-mounted prints were actually protected by the dry mount adhesive. The article also recommends a particular kind of mount board called ArtCare Conservation Board, which has a substance in it which sequesters aerial pollutants and prevents them from attacking silver prints.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), March 28, 2001.

Response to Dry mount or hindging?

I third Doremus statements. One other thing I would add is that if you are going to be framing these that you make sure you have space between the glass and the picture. Over time your picture can start to transfer onto the glass if it was touching.

I also like the look of a floating matte.


-- Scott Haraldson (bike@minister.com), March 28, 2001.

I have always avoided dry mounting my prints in recent years because of a prevailing 'archivally correct' belief in the photographic art community that the only good mounting method is the one that impacts least on the photograph, the 'hallowed object.' However, I have always composed from the edge inward as it were, and am therefore always sacrificing some edge to the 'archival goddesses [or gods]'by overmounting. I'm often driven a bit crazy as to which part of the edge gets axed! I am therefore gratified by Doremus' comments, and perhaps will try this 'old-fashioned' method in the future--- rosalie frost, einczig@yahoo.com

-- rosalie frost (einczig@yahoo.com), April 01, 2001.

Conservation is a field that is complex, and not fully understood to this day. I understand the points of mounting board protecting the print from mechanical damage, and maybe also from pollutants attacking from the rear, and I also see the point of the signature being permanent. (Old Ansel already mentioned this one.)

Doremus wrote "For me a rippled print held down by an overmat which defines the borders is not an acceptable presentation."

It is possible to dry a print in a way to avoid ripples, leaving nothing but a light cylindrical curvature. Attach the print to the mounting matte using archival photo corners, and the curvature is taken care of, and you also have mechanical protection and the pollutant-blotting/blocking backing.

If you dry-mount a print, permanence is also a question of the type of adhesive you use. Little is gained, if you use an adhesive which may not be harmful to your print, but which decomposes or dries out, leaving the valuable print more or less hinged, too, but far less reliably than if you do it properly from the start.

There may be adhesives that avoid such problems while still being stable, but I would think that with mounting, there is much more that can go wrong than with hinging. Whatever you do wrong with hinging can be undone w/o damaging the print.

Thomas Wollstein (thomas_wollstein@web.de)

-- Thomas Wollstein (thomas_wollstein@web.de), April 03, 2001.

Thomas, I have always used Seal Archival Mount (now called Buffer Mount) which is a removable, buffered, and supposedly inert dry-mounting tissue. I have never had any problems with mounting tissue decomposing, nor have I ever heard of any cases, but, as I greatly respect your knowledge and opinion, I would be very interested in hearing if you have heard of any such cases, or have evidence of such decomposition. Please post what you know for us. If there is significant evidence that dry-mounting tissues decompose over time, I might re-think my position. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), April 06, 2001.

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