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  1. #1

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    Lighting for your prints

    Under some spousal pressure, I'm getting around to actually framing some prints and putting them up for view in the house, instead of hiding them in portfolio books. However, the lighting in our house is generally (IMHO) kinda crummy, and I was looking for ideas for improving the print display. We may be changing some of the lights (for instance, we have horrible sconces that block most of the light coming from them; I really want to change that) in the near future. Has anybody else done anything at home for print display?

  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Do you have any museums nearby? It's actually not such a bad idea.

    The one near my house (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts) have rails in the ceiling with spotlights. You can move them and direct them in different directions. Being that they are in the ceiling they are out of the way. I like the idea of lighting from above.

    Hope that helps!

    Wish I had a significant other putting pressure on to hang more of my art on the walls...
    "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

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    In the front room of my own house (now empty & for sale) I have a spotlight systen which has 2 rails & 3 lights on each, these were used to light the prints on display, actually non of my own. It was a relatively inexpensive system and worked very well.

    My system just fits in place of a normal light fitting in the center of a ceiling and came from a small UK chain of stores but Ikea have quite a good range and are International.

    Ian

  4. #4
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Wish I had a significant other putting pressure on to hang more of my art on the walls...
    Ditto.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  5. #5
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    Museum and gallery lighting suppliers can furnish you with a projector type imaging fitting which will project an adjustable square or rectangular patch of light so that only the picture is lit and the surrounding wall is left relatively dark. These are used frequently in museums and commercial art galleries and make the picture look great but aren't cheap. The two most important things to consider when choosing any lighting for art are a high CRI (colour rendition index) from the light source and low UV emission. A high CRI lamp (or lamp and lens combination) will render colour and tone correctly while low UV will assist with archival permanence of your images.

  6. #6
    onepuff's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that for an average domestic ceiling height, a ceiling mounted fitting can work well if appearing a little obtrusive on a track. A fixed position fitting can look better and a framing projector can allow it to be swivelled to cover different artwork positions while the image can be corrected on the fitting for perspective.

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    I think any fixture with aimable MR-16 halogen lamps would probably be a good choice. I use a custom low-voltage rail system from Tech Lighting, but only because I had a tricky space to light. But basic ceiling fixtures with 3 , 5 or even 7 lamps can be had from home improvement stores and online relatively affordably.

    As important as the fixture is the actual bulb. I use GE Constant Color MR-16 with UV cover glass (12V, 50W) because that's what the manufacturer recommended, and I'm happy with them. Many others are available that operate at mains voltage. Really, any incandescent halogen bulb that offers > 3000K color temperature will provide a satisfying "white" light, but some may darken and shift color more rapidly with others. Ushio makes some 4100K and 4700K (?) halogens that look interesting, but I haven't ordered any, and I don't want to have to haul out the big ladder to swap the bulbs.

    Hope that helps. If I can figure out how to take a decent picture, I'll try and upload it.

    --Greg

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post

    Wish I had a significant other putting pressure on to hang more of my art on the walls...
    Well, it is mainly just to cover up some bare areas.

    I'd hoped to avoid track lighting (we've got some in the kitchen that will likely come down) but maybe I can carve out a little "gallery" area.

  9. #9
    ROL
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    Coincidentally enough, I just hung and lit several rooms (zones) in my house about 6 weeks ago. I'm using track lighting fixtures with Solux bulbs, about as expensive as regular halogen MR-16's. Solux lighting is available in several temperatures, but I have found the 35K, 17º, 35W spot to be the best for B/W up to 30x40. 35K also work well for color. The lighting I ended up with is the equivalent of (same as) the best gallery lighting setups. I know this because I have designed and hung several galleries before. You can try LED, but the last I looked, the spot offerings were quite anemic. Track installation was DIY easy with existing ceiling boxes and can conversions to ceiling boxes (i.e., Hampton Bay - Home Depot). Track lighting allows you to direct light to specific locations. The cost of the track and outlet connections was around $100 for 5 zones. I already had the fixtures and bulbs, but that will likely be another 100% to 200% of the total cost. The shielded "easel" type lights that are often established overhanging paintings are insufficient for most photography IMO, and must each be wired separately (not DIY, in any case).

    Here is pic of track with 9 spots, one for each fine art print, installed with a can conversion kit in a less than ideal, close–quartered, stairwell (one zone). There used to be a 75w recessed down can light where the covering is now positioned on the track:


  10. #10
    36cm2's Avatar
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    Rol, that's cool.
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

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