Is this a ghost at work?


PFG, Picture Framing God
Nov 2, 2001
Centennial, CO, USA
This is a weird deal I'd like to share. I framed two photos for one customer. They were the same picture, just one was 11x14 and the other was 16x20. I prepped them at the beginning of the week and set them aside waiting for the frame which arrived today. They were prepped to the point of being dry mounted matted and non-glare glass covering them. I had them stacked on top of each other, the smaller one being on top, just sitting out on a table.

This is where it gets spooky, so everybody keep really still and don't make a sound and I'll tell you what happened next.........shhhhh....that is when I saw the ghost!eeeek!

The bigger one for what ever reason the image had ghosted on the glass. I thought it was a fairly odd phenomenon. The picture on top had no ghosting whatsoever. Since it was sitting on top of the bigger picture if it had anything to do with being exposed to light I would think it would have ghosted differently around where the smaller picture was posiitoned over the big picture. Anybody still following me?

What would cause one picture to ghost and not the other. More importantly why would it have happened so quickly? Was it the glass or was it the picture that did it? Wouldn't have spooked me if it happened to both pictures.

I am going to be peering over my shoulder and listen for loud eery sounds until I can clear this up. Boo! :eek:

Dollars to doughnuts says the prints were made on an inkjet printer. Even better odds say that the printer was an Epson and the paper is RC (resin coated) luster or photo glossy.

If so, what you see is called "outgassing" and it is a printer's nightmare!

In a nutshell, outgassing is caused by inks which contain glycol. Glycol takes forever to evaporate when printed on a resin coated paper. The ink cannot soak into the paper. Instead, it sits on top.

There have been numerous cures that all involve forcing the glycol to evaporate. Some printers find that using a hairdryer on the print for 5 minutes of so works. Other suggest extended air drying times (weeks). The only "real" cure I have found as a printmaker myself is to laminate the print....BUT it must either be a cold laminate, or a laminate that works below 185 degrees F. If you use a higher temperature laminate, the print will turn green! No kidding!

If you do not address this before framing, I guarantee you the customer will be back in short order - -over and over again with fogged up glass.

I had to recall 100 of my own works and open them up, repair the issue and reseal them again. I am talking from real experience here.

Or, I could be completely wrong and you do have ghosts:)
I don't think she has the RC paper... she said that she dry mounted them. That would have been aprox 180 degrees, and they did not turn green. So, I'm still on the theory that it was the work of a ghost.
Is there a printed watermark on the back of either print?

That may tell if it's an RA4 print or inkjet.

I would bet that the 16 x 20 is an ink jet where the wrong combination of ink and paper was used.

I would love to hear the reason. Of course it will be quite hard with all these new fangled processes.

Another reason why they should not be used to create fine art. These things are here today and gone tomorrow. I would never collect such a tempermental piece for myself.

Sorry this is how I see it. I know I will hear it for those comments, but oh well.

Patrick Leeland

ps i hope printmaker enjoys this one
I would guess that the bottom one ghosted because the pressure from the top one pressed the glass a little tighter against the print. The top one, being smaller, had lighter glass, and nothing on top of it, so the outgassing could get out. Spacers are called for here!
Patrick, properly printed inkjets using pigmented inks will out last every offset lithograph that you could produce. The problem comes from using in compatable ink/paper combonations.

I have items that have been it the front window for over 2 years with NO fading.

While I have had offsets fade in a matter of weeks.
We had a problem similiar to this.

A photographer brought in some beautiful prints of the Northern Lights, and there was a lot of black in them (treeline).

Within a few weeks of hanging up - there was a definate fogging of the glass - but only where the ink was black - which made it clear to us that it was the ink that was making it happen.
Ok just a guess. lol. Did you let them cool for a while before stacking them? If there was still heat in the foamboard of both the fomecore from the top one and the foamcore of the bottom one could have been hot enough to leave a ghost image on that one print glass since it was enveloped with heat?!! maybe???!!
well, now that I've checked behind all the closed doors and looked in all the cupboards and I don't see or here anything, it is safe to come out before the ghost comes back...... :eek:

As far as I can tell they were your run of the mill RC's. I had no qualms dry mounting them and their appearance didn't change after dry mounting. They were dry mounted in the morning and I cut mats and glassed in the afternoon so cooling wasn't a problem. I don't think spacers would have helped since they had the mats between them and the glass. I kind of wondered if putting the one on top of the other created pressure but if so, I had the smaller one sitting on one end not directly in the middle of the ghosted one. I figure the ghosting would have been inconsistent if that was a problem. But, it wasn't. Clear as day there was the image on the glass.

They were done for a ballet event and are montages of different poses, I assume done by a professional. Both are exactly the same and look to be on the same paper.

The two things that stand out in your comments is outgassing is the problem. The whole background is black so, that might be coming into play also. But, why is it not happening on the smaller one?

The picture isn't ruined, I just cleaned the glass and fit it and it looks fine now. I wonder if I should mention it to my client? I think I will.

But, sometimes there are no answers, strange phenoms occur that man or science cannot explain. There are other life forms out there and it could possibly be that a ghost lives within that one photo and those ballerinas are trying to manifest themselves to tell us something. Gives me the heebee jeebees! I'm getting out the garlic and a cross just to be on the safe side.
I don't really believe all that hocus pocus gobblydy gook, I'm just having some fun trying to tell a ghost story in an attempt to jazz things up.

Don't want you guys thinking I'm nutz or anything.....
Originally posted by Emibub:

This is where it gets spooky, so everybody keep really still and don't make a sound and I'll tell you what happened next.........shhhhh....that is when I saw the ghost!eeeek!
First of all.. that was really cute. ;)

That is pretty scary. I'd probably cry.

My dad has a really scary ghost story (the darkroom one, Dad) Or did he already tell that one yeeeears ago?