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  1. #1
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Philosophical Thoughts on Print Size

    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.
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  2. #2

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    I'd crop it so it is very tall and slim...maybe 5 or 6x14. Now that would be a statement!

  3. #3
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew B. View Post
    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!
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  4. #4
    keithwms's Avatar
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    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.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #5
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    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.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  6. #6

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    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.
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  7. #7
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post
    ...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
    Last edited by MurrayMinchin; 11-11-2007 at 12:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  8. #8
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    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.
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  10. #10
    gandolfi's Avatar
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    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

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