Mounts and mounting

If your finished print is to be shown mounted with a border, choose this carefully, because pictures are strongly affected by the tone or color of their immediate surround. Compare the two identical black and white prints (Figure 44.3). On a white mount dark parts such as the shadows form a strong comb shape, whereas on a black mount the pools of sunlight become more emphasized. Even a thin white border left from the masking easel can change the picture by enclosing and separating it from a dark mount - just as a black edge-line drawn on it would do the same on the white mount.

Don't overdo colored mounts or they may easily dominate your pictures. Color prints usually look best against a mid-gray or a muted color surround in harmony with the picture. If the dominant color scheme of the shot is, say, green, try a gray-green mount. Always use

Figure 44.3 How final picture appearance is influenced by different colored mounts and image size in relationship to whole frame.

archival quality photographic display board - other card may contain chemicals which in time will stain your picture.

A window mat form of presentation is relatively simple and effective. You attach your (untrimmed) print to the mount along one edge only with high-quality adhesive tape and then secure another card with a correctly measured cut-out 'window' on top. Use a firm, really sharp blade when cutting the window - make sure corners are left clean and free from bits.

If, instead, you simply want to mount directly onto board (surface mount), trim the print first and coat the back with a spray-on or paint-on photo-adhesive, or use wide double-sided self-adhesive sheeting. Then, position your picture accurately on a mounting board, allowing the same width of surround at the top and sides. Some spray adhesives are designed to allow repositioning after mounting and so are useful if you need to adjust the position of the picture.

For the cleanest, flattest most professional-looking mounted result, it is difficult to beat dry mounting. However, to do this job properly you need access to a dry-mounting press and an electric tacking iron. As the image quality of some digitally produced prints will deteriorate when heat mounted, always test a scrap of the printing paper first to make sure that the image is unaffected by the process.

As shown in Figure 44.4, there are four main steps:

1 Cover the back of your print with an oversize sheet of heat-sensitive mounting tissue. Briefly touch the center of the tissue with the heated iron, to tack them together.

2 Trim print and tissue to the exact size you need.

3 Position your print accurately on the mount, then carefully lifting each print corner, tack the tissue to the board. Keep one hand on the print center to keep it steady.

4 The mounting press must be set to the recommended temperature for your mounting tissue. This may be between 66 and 95°C, according to the type of heat tissue that you are using. Cover your print and board with a sheet of non-stick silicon release paper, insert the whole sandwich into the heated press and close it for about 15 seconds.

Figure 44.4 Dry mounting. (1) Tacking mounting tissue onto the back of the print. (2) Trimming print plus tissue. (3) Tacking onto mount. (4) Inserting into heated press.
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