Dry mounting baryta fibre based prints

How to dry mount fibre based prints onto 100% cotton "rag" museum board for exhibition.

Dry mounting baryta fibre based prints for framing and exhibiting

Dry mounting baryta fibre based prints with only a week to go before my exhibition. I use the dry mount process for my prints, a procedure which has been around for many years. A print finishing method used by many well known photographers including Ansel Adams, it may not be entirely in favour with some gallery photographic conservationists.

I personally dislike the uneven surface of larger unmounted fibre based prints which can catch and reflect light and interfere with the viewing of an image. Why bother obtaining nuances of tone in high and low print values if viewing a print unmounted prevents you from obtaining a clear and unhindered view? I want to view a print in its entirety. Dry mounting creates a smooth surface and avoids the potential problem of unwanted reflections off the print.

As far as archival qualities are concerned this method is still used by some of the best and most collected photographers around the world. I have seen reports of archival tests showing comparing print degradation with time of dry mounted prints to unmounted.

Unmounted photographs are susceptible from chemical attack from both the front and rear of the print. Needless to say, mounted prints must be washed properly including the use of hypo clearing agent and partial toning in selenium or other toner to maximise print archival quality.

Mount boards should be 100% cotton rag avoiding all wood pulp. Wood pulp contains tannins which are acidic and therefore harmful to silver metal.

Sometimes I get asked about the procedure for dry mounting baryta fibre based prints so here are some sequenced images. Click on the images for step by step descriptions.

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Since 1989, Alex Bond has published cards, calendars, books, and posters under his imprint Stormlight Publishing. His images showcase the West Australian environment. Bond's handcrafted, silver-gelatin, fibre-based prints are personally made by the author in his darkroom.
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