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

RE: buffered matte board??

  • To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
  • Subject: RE: buffered matte board??
  • From: Gawain Weaver <gawain.weaver@gmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 11:18:00 -0400
  • Comments: "alt-photo-process mailing list"
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Title: Message

Yikes, I haven’t seen the Le Secq’s before. I might go take a peek soon.  Sorry if I seemed a bit harsh about Bob’s remark on edge fading. It certainly was not meant that way. I would consider my own observations of that nature to be entirely anecdotal as well—without a properly designed experiment we don’t know what the actual cause of the fading was. It could have been the chalk buffer or it could have been some other impurity in the mat board or any number of other reasons. A bad batch of paper was the beginning of the “albumen prints are harmed by buffered boards” myth—and that was in a lab. Relying on such evidence is the beginning of many myths, as I believe has been mentioned time and again here with regards to alt processes. But I’m always interested in such evidence since it often points to where further research is needed.




From: Loris Medici [mailto:mail@loris.medici.name]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 10:47 AM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: RE: buffered matte board??


I understand you perfectly, but in the same time, I think you're being a little bit harsh -> *upon Bob's remark about the fading edges of his cyanotypes*. Anyway, I will never mat my cyanotypes using buffered materials -> have you noticed Le Secq's Cyanotypes in Eastman Collection? Why do you think they're yellow? Probably someone naughty washed them in alkali solutions...!?



 -----Original Message-----
From: Gawain Weaver [mailto:gawain.weaver@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 4:55 PM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: RE: buffered matte board??

And I’ll third that opinion. But at the same time it should be noted that Ware, who is the most knowledgeable and thorough researcher that has ever studied the cyanotype, quotes the standard 1945 Holtzman reference—which uses a pH 9.4 solution of sodium carbonate/bicarbonate to test the resistance to alkaline hydrolysis of various cyanotype formulations. And Ware’s own tests used a paste of calcium carbonate powder and water. Rather extreme tests, and still no one has demonstrated their applicability to real life storage conditions. A valid case has been made by Ware, but he also relies on the old “generally-accepted conservation practice”—a practice that began and has been continued by people often unaware of the facts behind the myths.






From: Loris Medici [mailto:mail@loris.medici.name]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:06 AM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: RE: buffered matte board??


Second this...

See a quotation from the paper "A Blueprint for Conserving Cyanotypes" by Mike Ware:

"...The question of buffered storage enclosures and mounts
It is now generally-accepted conservation practice that cyanotypes should not be mounted on, or stored in alkaline-buffered materials. Calcium carbonate clearly poses a threat to cyanotypes when in direct contact with the image; but it has little ability to migrate through cellulose, so the dangers of chalk-buffered enclosures can be overstated. It seems prudent, however, to continue the use of unbuffered materials for the mounting or wrapping of cyanotypes, where direct contact is involved..."

Full text URL (in Word format):

I personally prefer to act in a prudent manner (just like Bob, Mike and many others) - in place of being disgraced later by an unproven fact...


-----Original Message-----
From: Robert W. Schramm [
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 4:40 AM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: 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
but why gamble when unbufferd board doesn't cost any more.?

Bob Schramm