IN CELEBRATION OF THE BLACK-AND-WHITE PRINT To many, including some close photographer friends, Black-and-White is…
I’ve been playing with some different print finishing techniques, with a goal of meeting necessary print protection requirements, while avoiding the use of heavy cover glass, and those annoying reflections its use introduces. Beeswax Lavender Oil seems to be the best among them.
Most coatings I’ve found don’t work. Obnoxious, sticky, some introduce more glare, all obstructing the original image in some way and degrading it. Or, as with using Museum Glass, extremely expensive and quite heavy. But Museum Glass does get the job done reasonably well.
I did some research on preserving cotton since the papers I print on are made from 100% cotton fiber. Beeswax Lavender Oil was the answer I came up with. In fact, I found a body of information on using this Beeswax Lavender Oil combination on fine art prints.
At first, I didn’t like the look of Beeswax Lavender Oil on my prints at all. Not until I got the consistency and percentage of wax to oil ratio where it needed to be and with warmed wax. Then I found I needed to heat the print sufficiently after the wax application to melt the wax/oil mixture coating the fibers of the paper.
This end result I quite like. The wax/oil mixture increases the dMax visibly, helps widen the dynamic range, and additionally seems to enhance the beautifully sweet glow or shine platinum prints always have in the highlights when the print has good lighting.
To my eye, using Beeswax/Lavender Oil as a print coating is a positive visual improvement in addition to its normal physical protection capabilities.
I want to see how it ages on a few prints before I adopt it across the board, but I am quite optimistic about what I see. If prints will age with this look without seeping or weeping, which it looks as they will, I am going to change my mounting/framing accordingly.
I’m not the first photographer to try this coating on fine art cotton prints. Not by a long shot, many have used it successfully for 150 years before me in fact. The literature seems positive overall and so does the look of the print!
“Portrait of Barbara Doux & Paul Gero at Santa Monica Pier”
Watercolor toned Platinum/Palladium print
by Chuck Jones and Suzanne Birrell
on 11″x15″ Arches Platine Fine Art Paper,
hand polished with white Beeswax and Lavender Oil protectant/finish.