Showing Work - Standards?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Lanline, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Lanline

    Lanline Member

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    This evening I had an email exchange with a friend. We were talking about showing work in a gallery show. I told him that I was fine showing just 1 image, since I didn't have the ability to go bigger than 16x20 - I paid for a drum scan and a 30"x30" (non silver print :whistling:) and with framing and mounting it cost me almost $350 for one image. He replied that I "over did it" - he uses his inkjet and Ikea frames.

    Last year I showed 11x14 prints that I printed and toned and I was proud of them. This year, I wanted to go large. My first choice would be to get a silver print made that size... but the rarity and cost ruled that out.

    After the email exchange with my friend, I keep thinking about what he said "InkJet and Ikea frames". Is it just me or does this sound like nails on a chalk board to you? :pouty:
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    "Non-silver" sounds like chalkboard to me.

    350$ to scan and print something out sounds like chalkboard to me.

    Why the need for 30x30 when 16x20 would have done it?
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    Having some one else print my work is what sounds like fingernails of the chalk board to me -- silver, platinum, ink jet, whatever. But that is a personal thing only. I don't hold others to that -- I just prefer to print my own work as it is part of my process.

    Frame to the quality of the work. Costco prints and Ikea frames seem to be a good match.
     
  4. Lanline

    Lanline Member

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    I prefer to print my own work, I just couldn't go that large. I wanted a large print - there was no other option that I could afford.

    Developing the negatives is something that I can't let anyone else do, someone else doing the print is easier for me to accept.
     
  5. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    you have to do what you think is right, but for $150 or so you can get a top pro to custom print you a 20x24 silver print and that would have been nice I am sure, even if 19" square. As for framing, its expensive if you get it done bespoke and that combo would have come in the same price. I think I would have opted for the 16x20 DIY solution and a simplified framing solution unless it was a really big thing for me or I expected a return on the expenditure. If your intention was to have a cracking large image on your wall when the exhibition is done, then you have achieved that, right?

    If you can afford it, there is nothing wrong with doing things to the highest standard you can.
     
  6. msoumya60

    msoumya60 Member

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    Dear Tom 16x20 or 20x40 is a good size for exhibition. Regarding the issue of getting the print done by others- pl remember what Ansel Adams once said: " The negative is like the Score & the prints is the performance" won't you prefer to play your own tune?
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Oh, I agree that your friends' approach is anathema. That's one reason why I learned to do my own matting and framing. It saves SO much money that if you HAVE to have larger prints made because you can't print that big yourself, then you can afford the printing. Also, a thought on doing really big prints - if you have a project where you know you'll need to make great big prints, try to find a community college class to sign up for that will give you darkroom access. Many schools have darkrooms set up that will let you go bigger than you can do at home, and the tuition for a class is usually pretty reasonable; amortized across all your prints for your project, it adds a couple dollars to the price of each print at most.

    My general take on exhibits is to have your framing and matting be pleasing when noticed, and noticed as little as possible. The frame and mat serve two purposes only - to protect the image and to direct attention to the image and away from the environment. In that sense, if you can achieve those two goals with an IKEA frame, then go for it. Especially if your goal is to sell the image - don't tie up a massive investment in the frame when it will be going on to the customer at a loss to you. Because of that, I like to buy simple frames in standard sizes that I can use and re-use until they start showing their use, and replace without heartache. Utrecht art supply store carries a range of nice looking wood and metal frames that are quite inexpensive.
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    When did an 8 x 10 print go from being measured in "inches" to "feet?" 16" x 20" is about the maximum practical size for a print processed in chemistry. The quality of the negative required for that size of enlargement is very high even for a 4" x 5" negative. There are many considerations to be taken when choosing the size of a final print when there are no personal constraints involved. Final viewing distance, size of the exhibition place and subject matter are three that immediately come to mind when deciding how big a photograph should be.

    IKEA and Inkjet? Depends on how many prints you want to show. IKEA frames might be like Neilsen or other extruded aluminum frames, so I don't see a problem them because they are pretty much the standard for photographic shows. They wear well and can be re-used in future shows. Espousing inkjet printing in this forum is not a wise thing to do.

    So, basically an economic question is, what is the best way to display your photographic skills? A single large print, or a series of smaller prints (11 x 14 in extruded aluminum frames) showing depth of skill and a breadth of vision? Both could be accomplished for the same budget amount.
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    From some of the exhibitions and galleries I've seen in recent years it appears that very large prints seem to be in vogue regardless of their content and quality. That doesn't mean you have to follow the trend. Most of the most treasured photographs in the world are not very large and I wonder how many of the poster-size shiny prints are sold and maintain their value. The pendulum swings both ways. and just think-- you can hang several high quality prints in the space taken by one large print.

    I never print on paper larger than 16"x20" and have not found that to be a problem for exhibitions. Simple frames and white mats as well. If someone purchases a print it won't be for the frame which they can change to suit their taste. Some images work best small and the size should relate to the distance you want it to be viewed from.

    All IMHO.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  10. cdowell

    cdowell Member

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    All I know is that getting set up to do my own matting and framing has saved me a lot of money over the years. I'm not sure I'm great at it, but I'm good enough. I had a show a few years ago where they wanted 30 framed pictures so there was no way I could afford pro framing. I found a set of 28 used aluminum frames on craigslist. They came with backing boards and when I took them apart, many had stickers that showed they had been on loan to the state museum of art. I figured if they were good enough for someone who had shown at the museum, they were good enough for me.
     
  11. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    One trending that I've been seeing in exhibitions are ink jet prints that are poster size that not mounted or not in a frame. I usually walk away from those shows feeling ambivalent about the presentation. I seen one in Chicago a few years back. The museum just used push pins on the wall and the prints are held by binder clips. To me, it just devalues the art. I'm pretty old school of presenting prints in frames and an over mat that is neutral white or slightly warmer that is archival. The more spartan presentations is like cooking a fine meal with great ingredients then serving it on a paper plate. That's my thought.
     
  12. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    The presentation should be relative to your standards and your pride in the work. I saw one of these push pin shows just last week, the worst display of photography ever...EC
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    My question is the presentation of your work shows how the artist value his or her work?
     
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  15. blockend

    blockend Member

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    From numerous photography exhibitions attended since the 1970s I can't recall a typical size for a framed print. My guess is an image around 10 x 15" from a fine 35mm negative. Is that correct?
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i seem to remember the starn twins displaying photographs
    that were held together with tape ...

    you should display work the way you want to.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    He she should value all the effort and finished product very highly, not treat it as an after-thought.

    Don't do it cheaply but show visible signs that you really care about the quality of your work and ensure it lasts and lasts. The print, as well as the frame-up, should last several long lifetimes.

    IKEA frames are OK for non-exhibition and personal work; exhibitions however, in galleries, often specify how work is to be presented in terms of framing (but this is not globally so).

    My worksheet for a 30x45cm Ilfochrome is print $120.00; mat (Crescent Cotton 9-ply Rag mat 9-ply, frame (Burke ebony) and glass (TruVue UV-retardant) $200 = $320.00 (66x52cm finished frame). From the outset I made a declaration of bespoke craftsmanship that is guaranteed to last, unlike inkjet prints (which incidentally doesn't have a place on APUG, being analogous).

    On printing, a photographer and his printer as separate operating entities can be a magical and very successful partnership. I've put my trust in three Master Printers over 17 years and never once have had cause to debate the finished product.
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    What sort of exhibition? Club, private, public gallery ... whatever the photographer produces can be accommodated within reason (e.g. space). 20x24" (50x60cm) in large multi-mat frames from 35mm is surprisingly common in B&W.
     
  19. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    If you can only print to 11x14" then mat it and frame it bigger. Sounds cheesy but the big mat and frame makes it seems like a bigger print than it is.
     
  20. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    At one of our fairly large public/city art museum, one can see photograph displayed in variety of methods, including pinned to a bare wall, scotch taped inside a window frame, to traditionally matted frames. There are also silver prints (FB) and inkjet types. If the artist wanted his/her work seen in certain way, so be it. I don't think there should be any standard at all. As an artist and a photographer, how you want your product to be seen is the right way.

    I would; however, make sure the image and the style I present is the best I can do: whatever the method I choose; and I make sure I show that I care about my product - because I do.
     
  21. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The Robin Bell (fine printer) exhibition showed prints tacked to the wall. I'd guess that if someone wants to buy he'll recommend his favourite framer and the client can negotiate with them. Photography seems to have moved towards fine art modes of presentation in the last 15 years.
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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  23. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Two good articles there Clayne. Early on in my photographic adventures I was asked by a city centre bank to put a show of work in their front window. As the deadline was close I opted to spray mount (photomount) the pictures onto board. I don't know what happened, close proximity to halogen light probably, but the photographs spent the week slowly peeling off and dropping to the shop window floor. The guy who dealt with exhibitions only came in once a week so there was no chance of remedial work. I wanted to crawl down the nearest sewer cover and die. A lesson learned.
     
  24. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Would you proudly hang an ink jet print in an Ikea frame on the wall in your home? If you answered no then you did not go to far.
     
  25. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    When I was in school they drilled proper presentation into us. Proper conservation mounting, museum board front and backing, etc. Everyone understood the standard and why it was the standard. After that people tended to deviate with presentation. This was generally intentional and often conceptually based to fit the work. I have no problem with this. I do however have a problem with thoughtless presentation out of ignorance or laziness. It's insulting to those who hang work around them and have put the time and money in and to the educated viewer.
     
  26. Sethasaurus

    Sethasaurus Member

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    I had my first exhibition in June and had to do everything on a shoestring budget.

    The venue was an old 18th century ballroom on the top floor of a club, so I wasn't allowed to hang anything on the walls! When I heard that, I though "ok fine, I'll just get some painter's easels and display the images on those". When I got home I thought about how many artists I knew and how many had more than one easel (it was a small total).

    Then I thought "Hell with it, I'll make the easels myself (13 of them)", so I did that and it worked out to be pretty economic, considering the materials were not hugely expensive and most of the cost was my own labour.

    I did a lot of shopping around, basically, looking for the cheapest frames I could find. I also considered making them but even though I had time on my side, I didn't have enough to make 26 frames of any good quality (woodwork is not my strongest skill).
    Most of the money I had saved went towards the purchase of frames from Ikea. I spent a lot of time deliberating over which ones, which colours, what size, value for money, etc.
    In the end, I got some nice 40x50cm and 50x50cm with a dark brown/almost black frame and cream board. This was the best I could do to frame 26 prints on my budget (probably the amount you'd pay to frame one or two photos approx the same size with museum quality materials!).

    I figure if someone wants a print of a different size or in a different frame, then that is always possible.

    So the standards I set for myself were high, but my budget was pretty low.
    I just did the best I could to present my work and I even sold a couple of prints! So I was really happy and had some great feedback, which was quite encouraging.

    The two articles above by Dave Kachel were really helpful, and next time I will be thinking more about materials and sizes of prints.

    Couple of pics from the day:
    http://twitpic.com/31civv/full
    http://twitpic.com/31cl3f/full
    http://twitpic.com/31cnc9/full