U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: buffered matte board??

RE: buffered matte board??

I must slightly disagree with Gawain Weaver's statement. I have actually used mild alkaline solutions to bleach or lighten cyanotypes. A cyanotype matted in a buffered board will be unaffected provided that the humidity is low. I have seen cases where there has been some bleaching of the edges of a
cyanotype print where it has been in close proximity to a buffered matt board probably as a result of being kept in a higher humidity environment. I would not take the chance of using buffered board to matt any of my cyanotype prints that I consider worth matting. I'm not sure about chrysotype
but why gamble when unbufferd board doesn't cost any more.?

Bob Schramm

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From: Gawain Weaver <gawain.weaver@gmail.com>
Reply-To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: RE: buffered matte board??
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 17:38:59 -0400

Since the same question came up on a conservation listserv last year, and my
opinion hasn't changed since then, I will copy and paste my response below.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has had a negative
experience using buffered matboard for the storage of photographic prints of
any kind.

There is no definitive list of which photographic processes are most suited
to unbuffered enclosure materials because there is no evidence that buffered
enclosures are harmful. The "list" often includes cyanotypes, chromogenic
prints, dye transfer prints, and albumen prints. The issue of alkaline
materials affecting albumen prints was first raised in the early 1980s by
James Reilly based on his research at RIT. By 1984, and after further
testing, Reilly retracted his initial statement that alkaline buffering in
enclosure materials is deleterious to albumen prints. There has been no
research since then to suggest otherwise. The other processes have made it
on the list based on theoretical speculation. For example, it is well-known
that a cyanotype will undergo fading by alkaline hydrolysis when placed in
an alkaline solution. Dye transfer and chromogenic prints can also be
negatively affected by such treatment. However, it has not been demonstrated
that the alkali reserve used in buffered enclosures has any negative effect
upon any of the photographic processes.

There is some concern that in a disaster involving water, the alkali reserve
from the enclosure could raise the pH of the water in which a print is
immersed. Based on such considerations, some have chosen to "play it safe"
and use unbuffered enclosure materials for cyanotypes, and less frequently,
for other processes as well.

Gawain Weaver

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow
Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation
George Eastman House

-----Original Message-----
From: Hans Klemmer [mailto:hansklemmer@mac.com]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 3:54 PM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: buffered matte board??

Does anyone have a comprehensive list regarding
which processes need buffered mattes and which need unbuffered mattes?

Hans Klemmer

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