Signatures on Photographic Artwork

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by reimerron, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. reimerron

    reimerron Member

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    I've always signed the mats of my fine arts prints below the lower right hand corner of the print, but I've been criticized by art fair judges that my prints would be much more collectable and valuable if my signature was actually on the print. I never have liked seeing handwriting on photos, expecially those on display as fine art. I suppose one could sign the print and then cover the signature with the mat. Signing on the reverse side is not an option, since I dry mount my prints. Any ideas?
     
  2. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    Signing the mat isn't a good idea because, after all, just remove the mat and the signature is gone. Put on a new mat with a different signature, and then what?

    For drymounted prints a classic presentation is to bleed trip the print and tissue, mount on the board, then cut an overmat larger than the image area. Then sign the board just below the image. In the same way, if you don't want to bleed trim, or just don't want to see any handwriting, sign the back of the mat board behind the image. If art fair judges don't like it, please take my word for it that high end galleries tend to dismiss out of hand as "amateur" any work presented with a signature on the mat. You need a real good reason to insist on swimming upstream against this convention.
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Ok, I think there is a little confusion, I beleive reimerron is refering to the "mounting board" not the window mat itself. Am I wrong?

    Reimarron the only prints I have seen where the signature is right on the same paper as the print are those from Dan Burkholder. With pt/pd this is easy as you "mask" when the image is being printed and it leaves a white border around, where you can sign. For silver prints I have never seen anybody sign on the print itself. Does not sound like a good idea to me any way. what kind of ink will you be using? Is this ink archival? I dont know seem like it is not good advice.
     
  4. reimerron

    reimerron Member

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    I kind of like the idea of signing on the border of the print and covering it with the mat, but then you and your name remain in obscurity, unless you sign the mat or the back of the mounting board. Some photographers use stamps. Perhaps the use of a stamp would not be as tacky as signing the image. Of course, if there were ways of keeping fiber paper from curling with humidity, one could just hinge prints with acid free tape and sign them on the reverse side of the print. Anyone had any luck with fiber printing papers that don't curl or bulge?
     
  5. steve

    steve Member

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    I have two AA prints which are signed on the matts and on the back of the print. I have a Paul Caponigro print that was signed on the overmat and no where else, and two Edward Weston prints that aren't signed at all.

    Oh, yeah and then there's JP Witkin - who's totally variable depending upon the edition. My advice -

    If the print is dry mounted (eschewed today by the archivists), sign the the mounting board, below the photo on the right hand side. Also, sign the mounting board on the back. The overmatt can be cut larger to show your signature.

    If the print is held in place by photo corners or archival tape, sign the print lightly on the back with a pencil (HB). not hard enought to deform the front side of the print. Then, sign the matt below the print on the right hand side. If the print is seperated from the matt the signature is still on the back of the print.

    Wow! - I just wish I had this problem.
     
  6. corrie

    corrie Member

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    i do not believe there are any fast and hard rules here ...but one should sign for archival and identification purposes ...
    i have been exhibiting and selling for over 20 years and have had no problem with .....
    1) ..signing on mount board to enable the viewer instant ID of artist and
    2).. always signing and stamping the back of the photogragh for
    Identification..should mount be removed.... [​IMG]
     
  7. baronfoxx

    baronfoxx Member

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    I address my question to all the above posters

    How do you know when ,or how, your work is defined as "fine art"
     
  8. argentic

    argentic Member

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    I use a small stamp made out of the round head of a steel bolt. I etched my signature in it's surface with a dremel. By a light blow with a heavy hammer I stamp an imprint in the image area itself. Mostly at an unobtrusive spot in the lower left or right corner. The mark it leaves is just a fraction of a millimeter deep, and can only be seen under oblique lighting. It really doesn't interfere with the image. But it's absolutely indelible, and nobody has the same stamp.
     
  9. corrie

    corrie Member

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    what a great idea ....and so unobtrusive...thanx
     
  10. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    As to signatures...

    On the back and on the mountboard does seem to be the most archival and the most common among classic photographs in museums. Seems like Ansel made that kind of a standard?

    And to Barronfoxx...

    You ask an excellent question. It should be it's own thread so it doesn't get lost down here.

    How about this: it's art if you say it is, as the artist. It's fine art of the rest of the world agrees.

    dgh
     
  11. tommorris

    tommorris Member

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    I've seen lots of exhibitions recently, and the only photographer who has signed their work is Mario Giacomelli. He did it in biro wherever there was an inch or two of whitespace. But on the other hand, he spotted his photographs with biros!
     
  12. mvjim

    mvjim Member

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    reimerron, The art judges do have a point. Any print will hold more value if the print itself is signed rather than the matt or overmat. In addition - some collecters also like to see the print dated and feel that also can have an effect on the prints ultimate value. There are archival inks as well as pens for that matter that can be used for signing the front and as has been mentioned, pencil is the standard if signing on the back (on verso). Check out any photo auction site and see how the value of even well know work changes depending upon if the print itself is signed or not. This does not mean that you can not still sign the overmat as was suggested. I should also mention that "bleeding" a print to the edge of the paper is generaly not an excepted gallery standard. Its best toleave 1/2 to 1 inch white boarder around your image area.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A wedding photographer I know signs his colour prints in a rather special way:
    Moisten a dark(ish) corner, sign with a dried-out ballpoint pen (thin Biro's are good). When the print is dry, it is indelibly signed in a warm golden tone...
     
  14. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Well I ordered a japanese hanko to sign my prints and it looks great, not to mention unusual. They are expensive but they come directly from japan and the little things are a work of art themselves. If you are curious check them out at:

    http://www.thejapaneseconnection.com
     
  15. lee

    lee Member

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    that is pretty cool. I have seen them before but not for signing photos.

    lee\c
     
  16. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Jorge, Those are cool. What a neat idea.
     
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Yeah, unlike the chinese chops, these are small. Mine is only one centimeter square, it fits perfectly just under the print and above the mat. Another good thing is that the inks they send you are archival, so your prints wont be harmed. The guy, Ben Falge is really courteous and has great communication with you to help you choose what would be good for you. ALthough the little gizmo is expensive I gotta say the purchasing experience was a pleasure, nice guy, helpful and professional. You can also ask him to add additional stuff to your stamp to make it unique.