gallery image placement heights.... and spacing of images....

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by scootermm, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    I did a search and nothing seemed to come up. so I thought Id start a thread about it.

    Im curious about the placement and heigth of displaying photographs in a gallery space.
    Im having my first show and before I go in and talk with the curator I wanted to get a good idea of the opinions and "standards" for what height and distance between images etc.

    Any suggestions?

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    There was a discussion about this in the LF forum. If I recall correctly I think the consensus was to hang the pictures so that a person of "normal" height can see them comfortably. I hang mine so that the top of the pictures is 5'11'' high. I figure this way people anywhere from 5'7" to 6'2" can see them resonably comfortably without suffering neck pains.... :smile:
     
  3. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    makes perfect (and obvious sense) jorge. likely the reason I couldnt determine it myself :smile:
     
  4. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Hi Matt,

    I usually hang prints at 59" to the center of the image.

    How far apart varies on the size of the artwork. 8x10's can be closer together than 7x17. I would say between 7x17 images should be 16" - 18" apart. If they are part of a grouping of images which are thematic they can be closer so long as when the theme changes there is significant room between prints so as not to confuse.

    Still larger prints need more space than 18"

    I like to space out horizontals and verticals so as to keep things interesting.
     
  5. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    thanks steve. I was going to email you abotu this but luckily you already caught it here. Im going to have an interesting situation with this show. I think Ideally Id want to space them like you said between 12-18" between prints but doing that and having the small wall space constraints Id end up with literally maybe 5 prints to show. As Id like to show more than that I may have to make some compromises and space them tighter horizontally so I can manage to show more of the big collection of prints I have.
     
  6. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Matt

    If your 7x17's are matted 15x25 or there abouts you can mount them one over the other. It works especially when you hang a vertical next to the double hanging of pano's. In the end you want to have a broad selection of your work, just don't crowd it in. Leave the public wanting more.

    Good Luck
     
  7. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    that was/is the plan steve. Ive managed to narrow the garden series down to 22 images total. I will likely hang 12-15 of them and grouping two horizontals together will help to make the 12-15 number possible. it works with the verticals as well. thanks for the ideas and suggestions. the 59" centering is a good one. when you hang two horizontals stacked do you place the 59" centering vertically right between the two?
     
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Good insights everyone. Thank you. It is a subject I have given a lot of thought to lately; I have a display of mixed size prints going up at a local gallery; 1 30x40, 2 20x24 and 6 11x14, so I have been thinking about how these should be displayed.
     
  9. nick mulder

    nick mulder Subscriber

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    I've been involved in a lot of student type presentations over the past 4 years - one thing that really stood out well was a well placed layout of text and pictorial elements (regardless of the content) ... I couldn't say there were any rules just common sense and an eye for composition which most photographers have a few or more ideas on in the first place ...

    - not necessarily directed at those who have posted in this thread already but anyone else reading and thinking about gimmicky mountings and 'bits' to make your exhibition stand out - they make me consciously avoid it.

    ... just a cynical (failed) students rant (;
     
  10. photomc

    photomc Member

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    This is good information...also, don't forget to spend time looking at other exhibits and how they are presented. Know this does not help you Matt (are you getting pumped?), but it is something I have really started to look at with each exhibit I view. One thing I have noted, since I am 5'9" (which seems to be an average height, except in the NBA) most work is at eye level. The space between prints seems to vary, but the one big show I have seen using pano format did indeed place prints one over (below) the other. There was some logic to the prints that were paired togother so the above comments from Steve is right on (not that Steve needs my confirmation). As to print info, please be sure that you have it posted, but as was mentioned, not cute stuff - just a brief description seems to work best, besides if they want detail tell 'em to buy the book (which will be the next step, right Matt :wink: )
     
  11. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Congrats, Matt... this'll be fun for you. I've been helping with hanging shows at a gallery in our local library. We usually hang the center of each piece at 56" from the floor. Someone else mentioned 59", I'm sure somewhere in that area will be fine. Also, if you choose to hang two with one above the other, measure both as if they were one piece of artwork. Include the space between the two photographs, and center them at 56" (or 59", whatever you settle on).

    As for space to the side... sometimes the best thing to do is eyeball it!! We usually rest the photos or paintings against the wall, and just try to find the spacing by looking at them all together. We have one corner that gets a little dark, so we tend to leave more space at the corners of the gallery, and keep the spacing even along the center of the wall. So, just be aware of how everything is lit.

    Good luck!
     
  12. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Michael Smith and Paula Chamblee had a huge show here in Atlanta several years.
    Everything was double hung fairly close together on both the long and short sides.

    As i am short i found the images to be hung just a bit high, but i think that had to do with my eye line.

    Interesting, my experience here in Atlanta is that the curator hangs the show, with the artist delievering the images and walking away leaving everything else up to them.
     
  13. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Hi Matt.

    After several "side-by-side" shows, I plan to take a radical departure for the next show I am now working on. What I have in mind is clusters of related images hung in no particular order. For instance, I may vertically hang 5 or 6 7x17s one on top of the other (so to speak), 9 8x10s in 3 wide 3 down formation, 8x10s with a 7x17 above and below etc... I am not sure how that would work visually and practically, but I sure plan to give it a go for something entirely different.

    Best of luck with your show, Matt.
     
  14. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    all such great and helpful information. Thanks to everyone. This discussion just keeps getting more and more helpful. Mike, quite the contrary your post was very helpful. I am getting pumped, very nervous, excited, apprehensive, etc. about any and every emotion in the spectrum. The space is pretty small and I have so many images I just dont want to "crop" out of the show. So I think I might have to just go against my desire and hang things a little closer together than I might naturally like. the grouping of two images horizontally stacked is a good idea. I have numerous images that seem to naturally "fit" together so it should work pretty well. I plan on mounting/matting them to 20x28. Gives a nice +/- 4" matt around all sides with the bottom being 5". using 59" and placing the bottom 1/4 of the top image at 59" puts the center of the bottom image at 42". Seems workable. and then allow me to put a vertical between two sets of stack horizontals. That was likely way more information than was neccesary. but Im just sort of talking it out.
    Its been interesting as over the last few months as Ive known this show was a mere possibility it made me start to look at the exhibits I visited seeing how people showed/presented the work.
    The curator may just have me give her the prints and hang them herself.... but from the conversations weve had so far Im thinking that she will want me to work with her on the placements etc. which Im glad about.
    anyways, thanks alot for the help and great info.
     
  15. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    OK, my two cents. When I hung my show to graduate, I was told by the gallery director to hang them 60" on center. Five feet is the average eye height. So 59" is close.

    I also like to see four or five images with equal spacing then maybe a double space prior to the next grouping of 4-5 images. Not so static that way and people tend to linger more over groupings of 4-5 images rather than keep moving down a line. If your images can present this way, try it.

    Best of luck.
     
  16. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    Hey tocayo,

    Congradulations again on your show.

    I would consider going with fewer peices and letting them breath rather than cramming all of your prints into a small space. I think that people remember images better that way...I know I do.
     
  17. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    The 59-inch-on-center seems to be what the Huntington Library used on the Weston exhibit. Being a shortie (5' 4" and shrinking), it was a comfortable way to view the prints. Stacking prints makes it difficult for us shrimps to view unless there is enough room to back up and view...but then we lose the detail.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Matt-

    I've hung several shows myself, frequently in odd spaces that were hard to view the work in (restaurants, etc). On the rare occasion I've been in some kind of formal gallery, usually there the curator/gallery owner does the hanging. I've shown mixed panoramics and standard format images - 8x20 inch prints were framed to 14x24, and 12x18 prints framed to 20x24. I was using some rather large, bold frames (black lacquer wood frames) to make sure the work popped off the wall visually. I aimed for the center line to be at my eye level (I'm 5'10", so around 63"... a bit high, but when you're showing in a restaurant, and the work may be close to where people are sitting, I'd rather go a little higher and avoid having someone's head take down some artwork). I grouped the work: three 8x20s in a horizontal, vertical, horizontal group, then five standard format vertical horizontal vertical horizontal vertical. I tried to keep a minimum of eight inches between each frame. Had the wall been white, I think I would have aimed for a bit more space between the standard format pieces, but the color of the wall provided a greater visual separation (that and we were running out of room on the wall). In a perfect world, I would like to see at least a foot between each frame, and I agree with the notion of doing groupings of three to five, then a bit more space. I would avoid cutesy groupings of images on the wall, however, unless that is part of the point of the exhibit. I find I start wondering about the purpose of the arrangement and not paying attention to the images when things are clustered in a particular formation.
     
  19. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    For the past 2 years I've been helping in the sequencing and hanging of shows in the Hoopers Gallery in London. During that time we've had to deal with shows where only 10 large (4ft x 6ft) images were hung or up to 50 images of various frame sizes were hung. We have settled on fixing the centre of the image at 62" where there is no stacking of images. When we show blocks of images we sometimes restrict the frame size to 12" x 16" and make a judgement on the spacing and height of the cluster but this is decided with the author of the work on show.

    I know the images will look great Matt I just wish that I could be there to see it and help hang it. Good luck on the opening night and may you make many sales.
     
  20. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    I've hung about 6 shows a year since 1989 and have always centered the image at about 60", but then, I show at a school filled with large young men. One trick I will pass on is the "magic stick." Take a 1"x4" board about 6' long. Drive a finish nail in at the height of the hanger for your first image and cut the head off it. Now you have a measuring stick that will put a small hole in the wall at exactly the same height every time. Just figure out the horizontal distance from center to center and move down the wall. The reason for the 1"x4" board is avoidance of a diagonal shift - a squared bottom keeps it vertical. I always use two small box nails spaced about three inches apart instead of one hanger to hang the work. That way I can shift the frame back and forth for corrections and the image never tilts. I can hang a show of 25-30 images in about 30 minutes if the frames are similar in size. I find that a hole in the wall is much easier to deal with after a show is over than a bunch of pencil marks, which I have to sand out of the paint before I patch and paint the gallery wall.

    If you have two different size frames, drive a nail in each side of the board at the appropriated height. If you have many different size frames... you're on your own. My own work is often so ... eclectic in its presentation that it takes <i>forever</i> to hang a bloody show!

    Best of everything!
     
  21. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    You might consider to hang pictures lower than the norm suggested here. If you hang single pictures center at 54", shorter people can see them more easily and they will pick up less reflections and the reflections of lights. Especially if you double hang, make sure the uppper pictures don't pick up reflections of the lights. It may look a bit odd to hang at 54", but the pictures will be easier to see and that to me is most important.

    Jon