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Fusing Photographs

Synthetic papers shrink when subjected to heat. Needless to say: when you fuse (Fusing is the act of heating the surface of the paint in order to melt 'fuse' the layers together. Fusing layers together keeps the encaustic wax from chipping or flaking away). When fusing the surface, resin based paper has unpredictable issues such as peeling and buckling. Sticking to real, fiber based (non resin/RC) papers is recommended.

If you are bent on using a resin based paper- mounting the photo to a hard board- wood etc., will reduce buckling/shrinking (but won't eliminate it). Also caution is given when using varying types of adhesive; they can be flammable and resin based- only compounding the problem.
Speaking of flammable, you should slowly fuse layers of medium over the photo with low heat, which helps the paper from being scorched or burned.

`Below is a list of photographic papers thanks to my brother Nicholas.

Gelatin Silver paper- the contemporary black and white paper made with a ph-neutral paper base, light-sensitive and chemically processed. Classic examples are Ilford and Bergger papers. Very attractive to collectors and often used as the measuring rod for the quality of contemporary B&W printing methods. Think Ansel Adams.

(RC papers are not recommended for use in encaustic)
Resin-Coated (or, RC) Paper- a paper made with a polyester or plastic-like base. Comes in both B&W and color varieties. ex.: Kodak B&W RC and Kodak Ultra C-print paper (color). Color RC paper, or C-print paper, enjoyed its greatest popularity from the 70s until just recently; like its black and white counterpart, the plastic base allowed the print to be washed easily and processed much more quickly than fiber-base papers. On a consumer level the C-print is being replaced now by archival ink-jet prints although it is still readily available through Camera supply distributors like B&H photo and Central Camera.
Archival Inkjet papers are varied in their composition and many companies are enjoying the newness of the process and the flexibility to be had with ink-jet printing. Some have a base that is very similar to the polyester varieties used for c-prints and RC B&W prints. Others have very traditional bases made from wood pulps, cotton, or even bamboo. Specialty papers abound. Epson's Premium Lustre paper is the industry standard for a plastic-base type paper that one can expect to have a reasonably long shelf life. This paper is designed to actually appear like what most consumers recognize as a photographic material. My personal favorites are papers that employ a specific clay layer referred to as a "baryta" layer. The baryta layer became a popular standard in the mid to late 20th century gelatin silver papers like Ilford and Bergger. I'm a big fan of the Harman matte paper and the Hahnemuhle glossy but these papers will cost you an arm and a leg!
A significant feature of all of these papers is the surface finish. Whether its glossy, matte, semi matte, lustre, pearl, Albrecht Durer or William Turner (and on and on) and then, whether as a digital print it's duo (that is, two sided) or not, there is a mind-boggling array. Generally speaking, the more you are willing to pay the more archival and the heavier the bond or "gsm" is going to be.
On a final note, some materials are only as available as their specific processes are. As of right now, these processes/papers have suspended production: Positive chem-process papers used for printing positives, or slides, are no longer being produced. Cibachromes, a highly toxic process, with paper noted for its remarkable flatness and its monstrous color gamut, is also no longer available.
Specialty processes are also available such as Lambda and Giclee printing, Lambda being paper exposed with lasers as opposed to a lamp-head. One specific lab that does this printing is out of Chicago.
Another resource, especially for digital papers is Although I have had no need to check them out I know they contain lists and all sorts of reference resources.
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---------------------------------------{ A Note to Readers }---------------------------------------

Revisiting old topics and filling in holes is quite a chore, yet a necessary one, one that will offer more quality information. For example: recent activity and questions surrounding hardboard and/or masonite, has directed our attention to fill in the blanks on that topic (currently under revision/addition), as well as, more about gesso (specifically encaustic gesso) and other topics (search the tabs), all are in the works. 

Prior years were to get as much general information as possible up and available- a starting point. More and more however, new topics are focused and detailed, and old ones will be getting revisiting; removing any possibility of confusion. 

I should point out that this is a one person operation (takes me awhile to get around to everything, ohh yeah, I should make some art), Anyway, where was I?, oh! one person operation..., even though I tend to refer in posts and topics as we, it is to remove the need to revisit things later when it really is we. All of this whilst working, making art, and whatever may be the case.

As always, I welcome any opinions, comments, and questions- simply contact me.

Thank you
Jonathan Parks