If you give away or sell prints is it customary to sign the print, or the back of the print?
If so, what is the best instrument to use for signing B&W paper? My first thought was a grease/china pencil, but I thought that might smear/rub off. My second thought was a felt tip permanent marker, but then I thought it may seep through. Other felt tip markers may rub off. Then I thought paint pen. Any suggestions?
I use a 2B graphite pencil and sign on the back of print with print references
Graphite is archival and time proven.
If you dry mount your prints, obviously signing on the back of the print isn't good. But I have been warned against dry-mounting by museum conservationists, so I don't and sign on the back. But those that do usually sign on the back of the mount board instead.
Some also sign on the front, which works with graphite if you use matte paper. Glossy not so much.
I don't see too many signed prints in museums, for example. So signing on the verso is probably more 'correct'. But correct is boring. Wherever you decide to sign, make sure to use graphite (or some other guaranteed archival writing utensil).
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
I always sign the front of the print with a type of marker that will not smear or fade. However, since my signature is hidden by the matting, I also sign a label on the back of the back board of the framing. Hope this is helpful.
If dry mounted, and signing priority is one reason to mount, sign on the mount.
If print only, print with a margin big enough to sign in. Prints may also be hinge mounted with tape and overmatted, allaying permanent mounting concerns. If no margin exists, sign on the back. Pencil should work with fiber. With plastic prints, color or monochrome, it really doesn't matter what you sign with as long it doesn't smear or fade (faster than the print ).
Last edited by ROL; 10-11-2011 at 02:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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i sign and date the overmat,
and sign the back of the print in pencil
( if it is a black and white photograph )
if it is plak mounted i sign the front with
a thin tipped sharpie type marker
and the back in pencil
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I believe Alfred Stieglitz was asked this question and he took the young man outside, pointed into the world and asked "Did God sign this?" Something along that line, anyway.
But I am not God, so I sign lightly on the front with a #3 pencil in small writing. The back of the print (in pencil again) gets the title, date, edition info (if any), signature and copyright info. The same info gets put on the back of the mat, but w/o signature.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
So its basically about as varied as everyone's darkroom processes then? The only common denominator seems to be the pencil.
Last edited by ChristopherCoy; 10-11-2011 at 03:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I would like to sign everything, if I could. I've seen quite a few interesting and novel ways of signing photographic works, all which have withstood the test of time.
Quill pen signature
Pencil signature in print margin
Pencil signature on backing board
Sharpie type pen on the print
And also "signatures in the print (exposed as part of the print)". This is a method that I am currently most interested in trying.
Last edited by X. Phot.; 10-11-2011 at 03:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have experimented with this, and have found that for my own work, I find any signature that is visible to the viewer when the print is in final presentation form to be not only a distraction from the visual impact of the photograph, but for me uncomfortably immodest, bordering on pretentiousness.
I make a small (about 2"x3") sticker with my name, contact info, and the location and date of the exposure on the back of the acid free spacer board that's behind the mount board, so it's visible from the back of the framed print. I doubt if the sticker is archival, but I figure there's enough archival stuff between the hinge mounted print and the sticker that I can't get too worked up about it.