Alternative mounting

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Robert Kennedy, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

    Messages:
    750
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Just north o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Recently, I had the idea to try and work with lampshades as a platform for photographs. The idea being that a lampshade works much like a lightbox. It diffuses light.

    I figured there were a couple of ways to do this.

    One was to use a store-bought white lampshade. This would probably be good for things like emulsion lifts. I was thinking that an emulsion lift laid onto a simple paper or fabric shade would look pretty nice. Almost like a chrome on a light box.

    The other idea was to make my own shades using say watercolor paper (I should be able to find a large enough sheet). I could do something like an image transfer onto it, then cut the shade out of the paper and mount it on some lampshade rings. Like wise one could hand coat areas with their prefered chemistry and do everything from Pt/Pd shades to cyanotype shades.

    In theory.

    Now practice is trickier. First off, the IDEAL method seems to be the second method. Make your own shade from materials you pick. A $10.00 shade from say Traget may have all sorts of coatings on it that will botch things up. That is fine and dandy, but I have only a vague idea of how to do this.

    My issues -

    1) Where to get the rings needed to hold the material in place. Shades usually have a small top ring and a larger bottom ring. Both have a slot that the material sits in. Pretty simple. But where do you GET something like that? I have no idea besides ripping apart another lamp shade (which would get me killed by my GF....).

    2) What is the geometry you have to follow to make the ideal cone for a shade? The paper has to be cut exactly so that it forms a cone and matches the rings that hold it in place. Any ideas on how to figure that?

    So, can this be pulled off? I am utterly bored and figure this could be a nice creative thing to play with. That is if it can be done easily.
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If I were to contemplate doing something like this I would begin by determining the diameter of the rings that you are wanting to use. I would then figure circumfrance of the ring by muliplying diameter by Pi. (3.1416). The next thing to consider in your layout would be the distance between the upper an lower rings. One would need to allow for overlap at the top and bottom of the shade so that the paper would be fastened to the ring by folding back on itself and gluing. Additionally one will need to allow for an overlap in the circumfrance of the two rings, again for the purposes of gluing. I would then lay this out on a flat sheet of paper, cut it out, and glue it up. There may be other ways to do this, but this is the way that I would proceed. Good luck and have fun.
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..
     
  4. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,133
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    buy a lampshade that suits and (carefully) tear it apart and use the 'shade' bit as a template. When you put it all back together, with your new 'shade' you'll have all the bits necessary (the rings, base, etc) and hey presto... a very unique lampshade! Sounds like a nifty idea!
     
  5. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Kodak used to sell a film that was to be used for Lamp Shades. The last of it got bought up by a guy in the Big Bend National Park area. I saw a lamp once that had that material for the shade. It was an image of three soldiers crossing the Rio Grande River. That seems redundant. Big River River...On with the story. These soldiers were on horseback. You could tell that it was 2nd Lt. Dwight D. Eisenhower and 2nd Lt. Geo Patton and 1st Lt McArthur. It was very cool.


    lee\c
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A question about presentation:

    I have been wodering about the relationship between the image size, undermatting, primary mat, sizes and colors, and the overall frame size.

    I do all my own framing (reason: frugality) and I notice that some combinations seem to "work" and others ... don't. I have *NO* idea why - what mathematical formula may be involved or what other factors are involved.

    As with printing, I have put the assembly together, decided that it did not "work", took it apart, and redid it again - sometimes three or four times - or until I reached the point where I decided it was simply time to stop.

    I have seen effective presentations involving relatively small prints in relatively large frames ... a 5" x 4" in a 20" x 16" frame ... that both seemed to work, and others that did not "work" at all ... Black mats, white, every color and color combination of the rainbow...

    So ... what are your thoughts on this, gang? Any "discovered" methods to ease the pain in this exercise?

    There must be something "fun" in matting and framing. Someday, I hope to find out what it is.
     
  7. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

    Messages:
    1,627
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Ed,
    I think in the case of figure work I tend to print images small around 8x10 then mount 16x20 with the figure I think it deserves the privacy a larger matt creates. With landscapes I use a much less matt to print ratio, landscapes tend to be more dynamic and take up enough space on their own. The street stuff I don't usually print very large, But I do give them their own space with a larger matt. Then frame color depends on the furniture surounding and weather I want to seperate the image from the wall or not. Also don't be afraid to consider a black matt an black frame for certian prints.
     
  8. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

    Messages:
    229
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Worth,
    I notice that some established photographers (meaning, they sell their work for good money) offer prints in pretty much a set fashion: one size, mounted and matted one way.

    These days one trend (not the only trend) is toward smallish prints on large mount/mat board. I'm wondering how these will play in years to come, considering changes in tastes.

    I recall seeing a movie from the 1980s, "Boys From Brazil" (Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier), in which one scene featured a room decorated with several square format prints that were either unmatted or with very small overmats - I couldn't tell on my TV. Today that would seem rather dated.

    Or would it?

    I also don't often see the black side of mount/mat boards used. Why is that? There are many images that could benefit from a darker surrounding. Misty seascapes seem to fly away unchecked against white boards. Sometimes I wonder whether that's the real reason Michael Kenna, Rolf Horne and others tend to burn the edges of their prints so dark - because their galleries demand white mats and the subject matter of these photographers would seem ungrounded or fleeting against such a background.

    Just ruminating...
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..
     
  10. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

    Messages:
    229
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Worth,
    It's odd, the rules photographers accept for themselves.

    When I visit museums I see paintings mounted in all kinds of frames, from modern to rococo. One local museum has a Monet displayed in the most garish frame you can imagine - it resembles an ant farm. I doubt many people notice and fewer complain. It's probably the only framing material they had in that size, or they simply decided to go with a "period" style regardless of taste.

    But photographs are nearly always mounted, matted and framed uniformly, like little obedient soldiers.

    Why do we accept this? Is it because we believe it's right? Or because we believe it's what others believe is right?
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    First, as to lamp shades:

    Ask your GF. Do you know, there are actually specialist shops for that sort of thing? There was even one right here in Bergen, Norway (pop. 250 000) until a few years ago! I'm pretty sure it should be fairly easy to turn up lampshade "skeletons" and patterns, too...

    And then print/matting/frame sizes.

    I've been thinking about this for years, and here's some of my thoughts:

    There seems to be some sort of mathematical relationship which describes the optimum print size for any given image. Some images show a definite shift of focus with changing size, but these are rare. A good example is my "Commercial Bank of ...", in my personal gallery here. At sizes up to about 8x10" the main subject is the bank building, at a size of 16x20" the focus shifts to the small group of people in front of the building. I have not made even larger prints to see what would happen.

    The main variable seems to be what I call "Smallest Significant Detail", or SSD for short. I have chosen this term with an emphasis on "Significant" - it doesn't have to be either small or detailed. I just can't come up with a better term (yet).

    As the so called "normal" viewing distance is dependent on the size of hte print, it is obvious that this does not enter into it. Instead, I have come to believe in a "standard" viewing distance of around 80cm (about 2' 8") instead, which in most cases is a comfprtable distance to view a picture. You would move closer for a close scrutiny or step back for an overview, but just look at people in galleries...

    Now, a very large picture seen from this distance can either include a lot of "background" making the SSD about 10-20 cm (4"-8") big, or show a pronounced "poster effect". The poster effect is what makes viewers back across the room to get to a "safe distance"... Smaller pictures will have relatively larger SSD compared to the image size, or the perception may shift.

    The SSD can be just about anything: In a portrait, it will be the face; in figure, a body; in landscapes, a tree... This is possibly the key to making a picture "work" at any size print. Returning again to the bank picture example, we see the perceived SSD changing from a building to a group of people simply by changing the size of the print. I wouldn't be surprised if the SSD would change to a single person (the white-clad one) with even larger print size!

    So how does matting influence this?

    The matting functions as something between background and frame, with some elements of both. A wide matte can influence the perception of the SSD - or rather the selection of it. In extreme cases it defines the entire image as SSD, and invites a very close scrutiny of that small rectangle. At the other extreme, an unmatted print in the same size frame would imply that most of the picture is "background".


    And that, in my opinion, is a very short summary of why some ictures need to be big, some small, some matted with wide margins, some with hardly any, and a very few images can work regardless. But those last ones are so rare that I can't remember ever having seen one.
     
  12. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have often read that small prints such as 4x5 don't work for hanging in a gallery but work better for portfolio viewing where one can hold the work in their hands to view. I think I have figured out a way around this problem...
    MOVE CLOSER.... maybe we need to make a label for prints " this print should not be displayed behind the sofa if it is a small print or not displayed in a hallway if a large print"
    Just a thought
    Wm Blunt
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    And a very good thought it is, too. My only displayed print of "Commercial Bank of ..." is hung in a narrow hallway, forcing the viewer to see the "perspective" I want. It's a 20x30" print, and still a bit on the small size for full impact :wink:
     
  14. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I guess we should factor in the viewers eyesite, the older I get the more trouble I have getting the bifocals just right to view a print on the wall or in my hands...
    Making rather small prints, 4x5, 5x7, 4x10 and 8x10, paid off money wise a few years back when a local bank purchased 18 to display in small areas of their banks. One never knows....
    Wm Blunt

    Guess that doesn't have a lot to do with lampshades, sorry!