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Author Topic: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?  (Read 928 times)

John Hollenberg

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Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« on: June 12, 2019, 12:56:42 pm »

I need some help with a project I am doing at the mental health clinic where I work. The plan is to put up 50-75 of my photos in the interview rooms.

Printer: my Canon ipf6300
Paper choices: Hahnemuhle photo rag baryta, Hahnemuhle photo rag pearl, Ilford gold fibre silk, or Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique (this will be my first foray into papers with very few or no optical brighteners)
Print sizes: range from 14X21 to 20X30 (most likely size if image good enough) with a very few that might be 24X36

My goal is to make prints look as good as possible with estimated life of 25 years or more before noticeable fading while not breaking the bank.  I will be donating the prints.  Mounting etc. will be paid for by the clinic (but not sure of the budget yet).  I want to mount the prints with no border and hung on the wall.

Choices for mounting:

Aluminum - eliminated due to possible sharp edges and weight which could be a risk to a patient who wants to harm themselves (a very infrequent occurrence, but safety is very high priority)
Dibond - expensive but would probably look the best
Gatorboard - half the price of Dibond, lighter (I think), but probably wouldn't look as good

Environment: - light levels measured at 350-500 lux for most of places photos would be hung.  Lights probably on about 12 hours a day.  Color temperature reading with Gossen color meter on flurorescent lighting - 5500K with -80 Mired

My questions:

1) Would outgassing from Gatorboard be a concern for affecting lifespan of photos?
2) I will be using a custom profile made by a third party for whatever paper I decide.  Is it worthwhile getting a profile made for the light source (I have the ability to measure ambient light source and provide to profile maker)?
3) The shop I went to is Weldon Color Lab in Los Angeles (https://www.weldoncolorlab.com/materials.php).  They can't laminate unless the paper is a true glossy paper as there is otherwise a risk of tiny bubbles spoiling the print.  The can put a protective spray on but don't know if they can go up to 20X30 from what they said.  The cost for the spray is the same as lamination.  Would you suggest a protective spray given my stated longevity objective? 
4) The wood liners (https://www.weldoncolorlab.com/woodlinersinfo.php) used on Dibond to support and hang the photo are about 2/3 the price of the mounting.  Any other good options for hanging dibond that would be less expensive?
5) Are the prices listed in the link in line with what I might find elsewhere?

Any help, alternatives or other suggestions welcome.
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dgberg

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 05:58:22 pm »

I have done several hundred canvas on gator board in a metal frame for a local hospital and a half dozen of their wellness centers.
The sizes were mostly 24"x36" with some 16"x20's mixed in.
The canvas was sprayed with 2 coats of BC Glamor II. Applied to the gator with Miracle Muck. 1/4" for the 16"x20"and 3/8" gator for the larger ones.
Easy, cost effective and they look fantastic. Don't discount metal prints either. They can be hung with any type of aluminum frame.
The attached picture shows the aluminum back frame we use for our metal prints when not actually framing the print.
Aluminum back frames or regular metal frames can also take the twist locks to attach the print at the bottom so no one can steal it or bump it off the hanger.

David Sutton

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 06:14:20 pm »

Hello John.
A great project but difficult to do on a budget. I agree with Dan that it may be worth checking out canvas. You can do that on the 6300, but I imagine there would be a learning curve. Here are some thoughts on you questions:
1) Outgassing wouldn't be a problem. The two things I can think of to watch for in that time frame would be direct sunlight and ozone (keep them away for a refrigerator).
2) I wouldn't bother initially with a custom profile. Make a few prints and take them to the site. See how they look. Trust your eyes. It's more likely you may need to adjust a print for viewing in low light.
3) Lamination may be a good option. 20x30 should be no problem. Shop around.
The issue with mounting is usually warping. One solution, which I'm trying out at the moment, is to glue a second sheet of the mounting material to the back of the mounted print, say 2 to 3 inches in, to float the print off the wall. I may then glue two horizontal strips to the back, top and bottom, the base of the top strip cut at 45 degrees. I can attach a matching strip to the wall cut at 45 degrees to hang the print on.
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Gary Damaskos

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2019, 11:59:26 pm »

Quote

Gatorboard 3/4" thick and with finished edges of black, white, brushed aluminum, are super light, really nice and captivating without a frame and floating. I  especially like matte paper, but most delicate if exposed to dirty hands or such. Still I have this way on display for long time and holding up real well.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2019, 12:51:41 am »

I think your paper choices with your hopeful longevity span is highly optimistic.  Those papers are soft and delicate. Framed and with proper glazing they are magnificent, but exposed to the cleaning lady and other potential damaging circumstances, 25 years is a lot to hope for even if you coat them.

There is no point in using a paper of this type if you are going to laminate, and it seems if you are trying to present these “elegantly”, using a laminated print on gator or as Dan suggested a high quality coated canvas print, using a couple of ½” gator strips top and bottom to float them out off the wall would offer you a nice clean look that might fit your budget. If you use an RC paper for the laminated print, or miracle muck for the canvas, I think this will isolate the the print enough that any outgassing front the gator will have no effect.

Another issue with longevity is the lighting, if there is any UV light then laminating with a good UV laminate will be more beneficial than trying to stay away from OBA’s. I don’t think Canvas coatings do much to stop UV light either.

25 years is a long time for a typical office/medical center environment, as they tend to remodel/refurbish every 10-15 years, and typically they change out any decor significantly enough to make sure the refresh is noticeable.

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dgberg

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2019, 06:31:25 am »

The inexpensive route would be gatorboard with canvas and Miracle Muck like my attached pictures. Plastic end caps can be cut to length to give a more finished look.
Personally I would go with an inexpensive metal frame. If they want these locked on the walls it is the way to go.
If you want to do this project yourself you can buy the gator cut to size and purchase the frames chopped. Assemble with a screw driver and done.
Keep that money in-house we say.
With a matte paper I would laminate it. Some really good laminates available but then it is an outsource project.
You certainly can spray several coats of a solvent or water based finish for protection and still maintain the matte look of the paper.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 06:37:47 am by dgberg »
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dgberg

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 08:21:49 am »

Free time this morning.
Here is an artist reproduction I did recently
Canson Edition Rag laminated with a matte vinyl laminate mounted to 3mm Dibond with the brushed bronze back. (Certainly not necessary if you have budget concerns.)
You can attach any kind of standout back. The aluminum back frames are perfect especially when you want to lock the bottom of the frame to the wall.
You can do all of this yourself once you have done a few.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 07:21:00 am by dgberg »
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John Hollenberg

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2019, 11:32:52 am »

Another issue with longevity is the lighting, if there is any UV light then laminating with a good UV laminate will be more beneficial than trying to stay away from OBA’s. I don’t think Canvas coatings do much to stop UV light either.

25 years is a long time for a typical office/medical center environment, as they tend to remodel/refurbish every 10-15 years, and typically they change out any decor significantly enough to make sure the refresh is noticeable.

Since all the lighting in the clinic is fluorescent there would definitely be UV light.  I thought the protective spray would help with that but sounds like I was wrong.  Do you think there would be a problem with micro bubbles applying a glossy laminate to anything other than a true glossy paper?

PS I work for Los Angeles County so a typical refurbish is more like every 25 years.  We were promised to move to a new clinic in 18 months, but it took eight years until we actually made the move.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2019, 01:07:39 pm »

Since all the lighting in the clinic is fluorescent there would definitely be UV light.  I thought the protective spray would help with that but sounds like I was wrong.  Do you think there would be a problem with micro bubbles applying a glossy laminate to anything other than a true glossy paper?

PS I work for Los Angeles County so a typical refurbish is more like every 25 years.  We were promised to move to a new clinic in 18 months, but it took eight years until we actually made the move.
A lot of difference between a new clinic and a refresh. Not really pertinent to the conversation, but unless the clinic moves to LED tubes to replace all those fluorescents 25 years might be tough.  Not sure how effective laminating films are at UV absorption, even UV glass might have trouble with bright fluorescents hitting them every day for 25 years.

Once you laminate, the surface of the original paper is irrelevant.  For the best results you need a very smooth paper with no texture, otherwise there will be challenges preventing silvering and micro bubbles. Best results are from an RC based paper.  The final look will be based on the chosen laminate, for example if you print on Epson Semi Matte, but laminate with gloss laminate, it will pretty much look the same as if you printed glossy paper with gloss laminate. We actually prefer face mounting with semi-matte over gloss, as the semi matte surface gives it some “tooth” and the acrylic seems to adhere a little better. There are many laminates with nice surface characteristics other than gloss, but the challenge will be to find those that are very good at absorbing UV light.
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Gary Damaskos

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2019, 10:05:36 am »

Laminating over anything other than perfect gloss perfectly smooth surface creates micro bubbles that look or add a grayness to the image.



Since all the lighting in the clinic is fluorescent there would definitely be UV light.  I thought the protective spray would help with that but sounds like I was wrong.  Do you think there would be a problem with micro bubbles applying a glossy laminate to anything other than a true glossy paper?

PS I work for Los Angeles County so a typical refurbish is more like every 25 years.  We were promised to move to a new clinic in 18 months, but it took eight years until we actually made the move.
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Gary Damaskos

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2019, 10:10:49 am »

I have tried "matte" surfaced laminates and other surfaces other than gloss and in every case, the not gloss surface seriously interfered with the visual experience of the image covered; loss of depth, contrast etc. What laminate products have you used that did not do that (other than gloss), if they did not do that?



Once you laminate, the surface of the original paper is irrelevant.  For the best results you need a very smooth paper with no texture, otherwise there will be challenges preventing silvering and micro bubbles. Best results are from an RC based paper.  The final look will be based on the chosen laminate, for example if you print on Epson Semi Matte, but laminate with gloss laminate, it will pretty much look the same as if you printed glossy paper with gloss laminate. We actually prefer face mounting with semi-matte over gloss, as the semi matte surface gives it some “tooth” and the acrylic seems to adhere a little better. There are many laminates with nice surface characteristics other than gloss, but the challenge will be to find those that are very good at absorbing UV light.
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2019, 02:00:47 pm »

Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?

I believe you will be rather hard-pressed to fashion an “elegant” presentation given the lighting for the environment you’ve described. I think you can find “economical” however, if you consider what’s more appropriate and typical for the space. Framers and installers can be surprisingly inexpensive in the L.A. area but excellent at their craft and service. Also, interior decorating for healthcare-type facilities is an industry specialty and the decorators have lists of materials known to be off-limits.

You may eventually find your images will be best installed using security hardware for rounded metal frames with paper prints sandwiched between acrylic and a particular backing board or as recommended by experts. Color accuracy, paper type, extra print protections, etc., will be of little importance at the end of the day. It may help to know that round-tube U.V. filters for fluorescents are readily found in Hollywood and in sheet form too, although picture framing acrylic for long term installs will already have U.V. protective qualities.

I recommend you strive for what’s “appropriate.” An audio specialist would not install a fancy box speaker in a poor listening, utilitarian environment. They would flush mount a reliable speaker behind a grill on the wall or ceiling for 25-year duty. “Appropriate” may last a very long time and probably won’t be giant razor blades hanging from the wall.

As for elegant, fund, or find the funding for an expert who will surely begin with upgrading the lighting. Get a plaque with your name on it and be sure to sign all your prints in pencil before they get framed.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2019, 03:34:29 pm »

Laminating over anything other than perfect gloss perfectly smooth surface creates micro bubbles that look or add a grayness to the image.
Smooth yes.  Absolutely.  Gloss, no. In fact Epson semi-matte is a better surface because the adhesive will bond better.  Yet it is perfectly smooth and actually has less likelihood of showing silvering or bubbles.  I have laminated and face mounted thousands of photos, and if you have a good laminator with heat assist there are some thin laminates that work perfectly fine on even e surface papers with no silvering or bubbles.

Bubbles are generally caused by particles on the print. Silvering is the result of inadequate pressure/heat, or papers that are not hard enough or are two delicate, or just poor laminating equipment or technique.

Facemouting is a different story, since the material is rigid, it requires a very smooth and consistent firm density. That’s why for us only RC based papers stock works.  We face mount hundreds of prints a year, and we have found that if face mounting inkjet, Epson Premium Semi-Matt is the easiest to work with, easier to get clean, and once face mounted visually you cannot distinguish between an epson Glossy paper to the semi matte paper.  In fact you can’t really distinguish between a FujiFlex print and an epson semi matt print as far as gloss and finish once they are both face mounted.
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deanwork

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2019, 06:17:07 pm »


Wayne is 100% correct. Every mounting expert I’ve ever talked to suggested a semi-gloss, satin or luster  surface for the cleanest lamination.

Recently we had several 40x60 prints on on the Canson Rag Photographique matte cotton fiber, laminated with a satin laminate and they were all perfect.

I don’t like what happens to the black density of any of these papers but that’s another issue.....

John

Smooth yes.  Absolutely.  Gloss, no. In fact Epson semi-matte is a better surface because the adhesive will bond better.  Yet it is perfectly smooth and actually has less likelihood of showing silvering or bubbles.  I have laminated and face mounted thousands of photos, and if you have a good laminator with heat assist there are some thin laminates that work perfectly fine on even e surface papers with no silvering or bubbles.

Bubbles are generally caused by particles on the print. Silvering is the result of inadequate pressure/heat, or papers that are not hard enough or are two delicate, or just poor laminating equipment or technique.

Facemouting is a different story, since the material is rigid, it requires a very smooth and consistent firm density. That’s why for us only RC based papers stock works.  We face mount hundreds of prints a year, and we have found that if face mounting inkjet, Epson Premium Semi-Matt is the easiest to work with, easier to get clean, and once face mounted visually you cannot distinguish between an epson Glossy paper to the semi matte paper.  In fact you can’t really distinguish between a FujiFlex print and an epson semi matt print as far as gloss and finish once they are both face mounted.
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PeterAit

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2019, 08:44:28 am »

A simple, elegant, and relatively inexpensive approach that my wife used for her recent show: print on an inexpensive paper such as Epson Premium Luster, which gives surprisingly good results for its cost. Mount on Gatorboard. Spray with PrintShield. Put in a very thin, matte black frame. No glazing.
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John_Harris

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Re: Economical/Elegant Presentation of Mounted Photos?
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2019, 06:03:24 pm »

There are many ways to cut costs and still get a nice presentation for your space. Many have been mentioned here in the thread thus far. Foam-core and Dibond are great substrates, but for a 25 year presentation life, I would stay away from the soft Gator or foam-cores. Diabond does have aluminum laminated to both faces and can be picked loose with enough time and attention.  Aluminum edges and corners on metal prints can be rounded to reduce the chance of injury. We do this often for large installations - hospitals, hotels, etc.  Metal prints are soft though, and easily damaged by broom handle or a careless bump unless you glue them directly to the wall with no float frame.  We are currently working a large project for a children's psych ward.  The images are mounted on flat photo plaques (Gallery Mount Flat) then attached to the wall with industrial adhesives.  The flat holds tight to the wall so fingers can't get behind it. The beveled edges prevent getting a grip and hanging from the art.  A proper lam will minimize loss of blacks and still reduce glare.  A patient can throw themselves at this art all day long and it won't harm them any more than an empty wall might.  The MDF can be specified to meet fire and health codes.  You won't likely get that approval with DiBond, or Gator. 


Fire Rated MDF and Aluminum are about your only choices in a public building.  Plastics are toxic when burned so they will NOT meet IFC requirements.  If the fire department spots them hanging on your walls, be prepared to have to do the project all over again using proper materials.

Similar projects have been done using printable wall paper materials with a nice trim applied around the edge as a "frame".    All three are fairly cost effective options and smart, given the intended use of the installation spaces. 

With any artist who is looking to do any installation in a public space such as health care, school, city building etc.,  I very much encourage you to seek the assistance of a long-standing company in your area who has experience in these types of installations before spending any resources.  You could end up wasting thousands of dollars otherwise.   In the very least, take the time to study the IFC (International Fire Codes) applicable to the type of building you are bidding for installation.

Hit me up with questions!

John H
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