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Alex Hawley
11-10-2007, 08:36 PM
So I have this negative, scan appears below. It looks great no matter what size I print it, from a 4x5 contact print, to 11x14 (largest I can print), 5x7 and 8x10 in between.

I have an exhibition booked to start next February. The venue is a bank building. Most of the work to be displayed are 8x10 prints, with three or four 11x14s. I haven't been in the building yet so I am unfamiliar with its arrangement and where the prints will be displayed.

4x5 and 5x7 prints are intimate. An 8x10 is "normal size" if there is such a thing, plus it would be the majority size. An 11x14 is the beginning of the "large" size and can be a bold statement.

I would also think if this was the only still life in the exhibition, it would be an outlier so it needs at least one or two companions.

I can always make prints of each size for a comparative study which I will inevitably do. But before I make the prints, I'd like to hear some additional philosophical opinions on how to resolve this problem of print size.

Drew B.
11-10-2007, 08:44 PM
I'd crop it so it is very tall and slim...maybe 5 or 6x14. Now that would be a statement!

Alex Hawley
11-10-2007, 08:49 PM
I'd crop it so it is very tall and slim...maybe 5 or 6x14. Now that would be a statement!

Interesting thought Drew. My head was stuck on standard sizes. I'll play around with the idea. Thanks! :)

keithwms
11-10-2007, 08:55 PM
I think I'd be tempted to aim for a print in which it is 1:1 life-sized. It might feel more intimate and familiar that way.

No crop for me, except maybe a tiny bit form the right only. I like the balance in the frame. I do slightly wish for some negative space up top.

Snapshot
11-10-2007, 09:48 PM
My perspective is to make this picture 'larger than life' for your exhibition. I can't see this picture on a desk or in a photo book. To my eye, it needs to be mounted on the wall at a larger size.

photomc
11-10-2007, 09:59 PM
Alex, IMO this is a time to use the digital tools you have at hand. Try to crop and print it out - not for quality, but for format. Just a quick and dirty way to see how it would look. If it were me I would go with something in a 5x7 or 7x11 format just because that is the formats I prefer and how I see.

MurrayMinchin
11-10-2007, 10:56 PM
...I'd like to hear some additional philosophical opinions on how to resolve this problem of print size.


The following may not apply to your bank situation but this is what I found in our local museums gallery.

The first one man show I had was a bunch of 8x10's done at college and the whole event is a blur. The second was all 11x14's and what I found was that people stayed at a comfortable veiwing distance; which meant they kept about 4 feet away from the prints.

No kidding...it was like they were on a conveyor belt sliding parallel to the galleries walls. This bothered me on several fronts; it meant they weren't really engaged, and that inimate close-ups were the same size as distant big sky landscapes...something that just looked wrong to me.

The last show was a range of 5x7 close-ups, 8x10 middle distance scenes, and 11x14 distant big sky landscapes. I liked this better because people would move in close to inspect the details of a 5x7 close-up, move to the 11x14 beside it and stay in close to appreciate the subtle details, then stand back to take the whole print in. Instead of bodies shuffling sideways like they were in a trance, they became engaged, constantly moving in and out.

The next one will be from 5x7 up to 16x20 to better accomodate the range of camera/subject distances between close-ups and big sky landscapes.

Murray

copake_ham
11-10-2007, 11:29 PM
Proportinately/Compositionately I think it's there.

I'd go big - I'd like to see that bloom staring me in the face and, expecting that the judges have an "eye" will then find that leaf!

Go as large as you can print.

EDIT: Oh, BTW, I think its a great pic and shows so well how the "art" is the "artist". A very nice shot - thanks for sharing it.

Alex Hawley
11-11-2007, 03:32 PM
Oh, BTW, I think its a great pic and shows so well how the "art" is the "artist". A very nice shot - thanks for sharing it.

Thanks George.

Thanks to all for the good suggestions.

gandolfi
11-11-2007, 06:35 PM
interesting thread!

I once heard a philosopher(sp?) give a speach.
he started to talk about this issue (on paintings, but that doesn't matter).

he started with a claim: "there is only ONE size for an image! And that is the right one!"....

obviously one might think. But then he explained. So many times we see an image, and think "I wish this was smaller" - "I wish he would crop this" - "oooohh - If only this was bigger than life..."

in his words: the true artist makes the right size for the right image.

this doesn't help you here, but as photographers we have the advantage of trying different sizes before we make our desicion..

I'd do as mentioned before. different formats (I really hate photographic exhibitions where every image has the same size and framing - and all is on a straight line...)

for your image in question, I can't (obviously) help you.

If you make different prints in different sizes, I am sure the answer will come to you. You'll know when you see it.

good luck

JBrunner
11-11-2007, 11:48 PM
The following may not apply to your bank situation but this is what I found in our local museums gallery.

The first one man show I had was a bunch of 8x10's done at college and the whole event is a blur. The second was all 11x14's and what I found was that people stayed at a comfortable veiwing distance; which meant they kept about 4 feet away from the prints.

No kidding...it was like they were on a conveyor belt sliding parallel to the galleries walls. This bothered me on several fronts; it meant they weren't really engaged, and that inimate close-ups were the same size as distant big sky landscapes...something that just looked wrong to me.

The last show was a range of 5x7 close-ups, 8x10 middle distance scenes, and 11x14 distant big sky landscapes. I liked this better because people would move in close to inspect the details of a 5x7 close-up, move to the 11x14 beside it and stay in close to appreciate the subtle details, then stand back to take the whole print in. Instead of bodies shuffling sideways like they were in a trance, they became engaged, constantly moving in and out.

The next one will be from 5x7 up to 16x20 to better accomodate the range of camera/subject distances between close-ups and big sky landscapes.

Murray

Murray,

That is really interesting, and a great observation. Seems like an engaging way to add to the experience of an exhibit. The conveyor belt observation is spot on.

When I did an exhibit of 8x10 contact prints, people moved right by, usually not getting close enough to really see all that the prints offered.

One thing I did observe (these were every day persons, not familiar with contact printing) was that a few people that leaned closer to see something a bit better, then they would get a funny look on their face and get closer and closer, some with their nose almost on the print, and at that point you would hear them say, very quietly, "Wow."

I would say to Alex to print each the appropriate size, and vary the hangings so as to engage people in the manner you have observed.

Really brilliant.

Alex Hawley
11-12-2007, 07:45 AM
Murray,

That is really interesting, and a great observation. Seems like an engaging way to add to the experience of an exhibit. The conveyor belt observation is spot on.

I would say to Alex to print each the appropriate size, and vary the hangings so as to engage people in the manner you have observed.

Yeah. Papagene told me that an exhibition is like a story; it has a beginning, and end, and punctuation in between. When I did my first exhibit, I tried to follow that advice but hung the 11x14s all together. It seemed to make sense at the moment, but there was also a long wall of 8x10s which induced the "conveyor belt syndrome" that Murray was talking about.

More to this than meets the eye, in order to engage the eye, isn't there?

TheFlyingCamera
11-12-2007, 08:58 AM
Alex-

I think it very much depends on the kind of work you are presenting. Don't force work that needs to be different sizes into a one-size-fits-all configuration, but by the same token, if the body of work makes the most sense all one size, don't force it the other way either, just to break up a rhythm. I don't think there is a single rule about image size in a gallery show. For me, because I tend to make photographs that work in a narrative fashion, I display them all the same size. If your images are non- linear narrative, put up what you feel is best for each image.

The 'photographers rule' about printing and framing to the same size comes more from a reasonable suggestion of economy than anything else- if you print, mat and frame to the same size consistently, you can recycle your mats and frames from show to show, and you don't have to reframe everything for each exhibit, and more importantly, you don't have to store dozens of frames and mats in your house. And if you hadn't noticed, framing (even when you do it yourself) is EXPENSIVE.

mcfactor
11-12-2007, 08:59 AM
Yeah, i agree that a photograph has an inherently "correct" size. For my first exhibition two months ago i printed 18 11x14s and 2 20x24s, half were b&w, half color. I printed 11x14 simply because i could not afford all 20x24s.
Nearly everyone who saw the show said they wished i had printed larger. The smaller size just didnt quite fit the images.

rwyoung
11-12-2007, 09:57 AM
Yeah. Papagene told me that an exhibition is like a story; it has a beginning, and end, and punctuation in between. When I did my first exhibit, I tried to follow that advice but hung the 11x14s all together. It seemed to make sense at the moment, but there was also a long wall of 8x10s which induced the "conveyor belt syndrome" that Murray was talking about.

More to this than meets the eye, in order to engage the eye, isn't there?

Alex -

Let me know when you are back in town to check out the bank walls...

One thing I remember from the interior, it isn't set up like a traditional gallery space with long open walls. There are a few places where you can put three or 4 11x14s together. But there are also several smaller walls/spaces where one print would fill the area.

As to the still-life as a punctuation mark, tall and thin would do that. But to me, if there isn't at least one other one in a similar aspect ratio, it might look like an orphan.

If you print it tall and thin, got anything else that can print same aspect ratio but rotated 90 degrees?

Alex Hawley
11-12-2007, 10:02 AM
And if you hadn't noticed, framing (even when you do it yourself) is EXPENSIVE.

Yeah Scott, I know how it feels! :(




Let me know when you are back in town to check out the bank walls...

One thing I remember from the interior, it isn't set up like a traditional gallery space with long open walls. There are a few places where you can put three or 4 11x14s together. But there are also several smaller walls/spaces where one print would fill the area.

As to the still-life as a punctuation mark, tall and thin would do that. But to me, if there isn't at least one other one in a similar aspect ratio, it might look like an orphan.

If you print it tall and thin, got anything else that can print same aspect ratio but rotated 90 degrees?

Thanks Rob. I may be able to get there next Monday.

I may be able to have three or four still lifes that I can vary the size and aspect ratio with.

sun of sand
11-12-2007, 04:30 PM
Beautiful girl 6 foot tall
Beautiful girl 5 foot 2 inches

That's how I see it.
I've been surprised by some "masterpieces" that were very small..that I had thought of as being monumental

Bruce Osgood
11-12-2007, 05:09 PM
Alex,
I haven't read each post but I'd say philosophically: Go For The Bold.

In an exhibit people are expecting to see art, not pictures. The little, tiny and intimate images may work quite well in that type of setting but in a bank bigger is better.

Looking at the the thumbnail I'd first consider using a whole sheet of 11X14 and leave 2-3 inches at the top and bottom and let the background bleed into the paper without a trace of crop line.

Window mount 1/4 inch on four sides using 16x20 mat board. Frame it in the cheapest 16x20 frame you can find.

Just my $.02

mikebarger
11-12-2007, 05:16 PM
Does that mean you were at the frame shop going out of business auction Sunday in Topeka??

Mike

Alex Hawley
11-12-2007, 06:45 PM
Does that mean you were at the frame shop going out of business auction Sunday in Topeka??

Mike

HAH! No Mike, didn't know anything about it.

Bruce, very good suggestion and thanks.