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  1. #1

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    Framing an Exhibition - Affordable Options?

    Hi Everyone,
    I've recently been offered a solo exhibition of a recent body of work. These are to be shown in an area of the State Buildings here in Los Angeles CA. The problem I'm facing is that the cost of this falls on me. Therefore, the biggest factor in deciding to go through with this or not is how to keep costs to a reasonable level. The cost of framing this is easily the most expensive aspect. I'm thinking of 20-30 photographs. I was leaning toward 16x20 size prints, but may end up doing 11x14 instead to keep costs down. Even mediocre frames from places like Michaels (an arts and crafts chain), Target, Ikea and so fourth run about $30 and up. As you can see, this is going to run into some serious money. Can anyone offer an alternative? Perhaps there are places that one can rent frames for a couple of months?
    Thanks for replies.
    Marc

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I don't know about frame rentals - never heard of any but it doesn't mean they're not out there. Have you tried Frame Destination (they're an APUG sponsor)? They can probably set you up for a very reasonable price, and they do offer volume discounts.

  3. #3
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    http://www.danielsmith.com/Item--i-G-165-240-BB
    I have bought a lot of these. I especially like the bamboo frames. all of the frames in this line come with glass and a precut mat. I usually don't use the mat and often the glass has a tiny scratch in it somewhere that never causes me a problem.
    The rubber tree black frames have a nice look to them if a bit thin and you can't beat the price. It doesn't take much to buy enough that they give you free shipping.

  4. #4
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    I had my first one-person show in 1985 -- 33 pieces, 20x24 frames and some 14x24 frames. I looked at it as an investment (about $1000 back then, including the mat board and glass -- and back then that would have easily been 10% of my annual wages). I still have some of the frames, but most eventually went with sold or gifted photos over the years.

    So perhaps you should reconsider matting the 16x20's if that is your usual printing size...otherwise you could be stuck with frames that are too small.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcmarc View Post
    Hi Everyone,
    I've recently been offered a solo exhibition of a recent body of work. These are to be shown in an area of the State Buildings here in Los Angeles CA. The problem I'm facing is that the cost of this falls on me. Therefore, the biggest factor in deciding to go through with this or not is how to keep costs to a reasonable level. The cost of framing this is easily the most expensive aspect. I'm thinking of 20-30 photographs. I was leaning toward 16x20 size prints, but may end up doing 11x14 instead to keep costs down. Even mediocre frames from places like Michaels (an arts and crafts chain), Target, Ikea and so fourth run about $30 and up. As you can see, this is going to run into some serious money. Can anyone offer an alternative? Perhaps there are places that one can rent frames for a couple of months?
    Thanks for replies.
    Marc
    Have you thought about not framing them? It does of course depend on the wall surface you are using, but sometimes methods like hanging them from a line with small clips can give more emphasis to the image rather than the frame. Another method is to eyelet each corner of the print and attach to the wall with small nail/tacks at an angle through the eyelet. Or mounted of card they could be attached to the wall with self adhesive Velcro pads.

    “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

  6. #6

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    It can depend on what will happen to the pictures afterwards. If you standardise the frame size (with differing mattes inside probably) then you may be able to re-use them for your next show. If they are going to be sold from the exhibition then the framing should be good quality, or crap quality so the buyers pay re-framing costs directly of course?! There are probably very cheap plastic frames available somewhere, if they would be rigid enough for that size matte board.

    All the cheaper framing options have very reflective glass of course. I recently found that a not-quite-right off the peg frame here was 52 Euros, decent custom made with cheap anti-reflective glass was 205 euros and then museum-glass was another 185 on top of that. I'm still wondering about that problem, as the print will be a gift!

    There are alternatives to frames, giving less protection with no glass and no sealing. A triple thickness of foamboard as a backing, or thin foamboard as a barrier mounted on cut plywood, or your usual mattes and backing sandwiched between sheets of polycarbonate, or . . lots of things. As you asked about framing then I expect the alternatives are not going to make the right impact, or not give enough protection from prodding fingers and the like.

  7. #7

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    I had a show two weekends ago and had no budget for framing. I decided on using very small and powerful rare earth magnets, one on each corner, with metal thumbtacks on the wall beneath the print. The prints were 26x30 inches and held quite well. I did need to flaten the prints onto the wall by applying pressure to them with a cotton gloved hand each morning of the 2 day event. The magnets cost me $100 with shipping, and the gallery did find the budget to reinburse me. I ended up paying for the thumtacks, about $2.50 It actually looked quite good.

  8. #8
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pasto View Post
    I had a show two weekends ago and had no budget for framing. I decided on using very small and powerful rare earth magnets, one on each corner, with metal thumbtacks on the wall beneath the print. The prints were 26x30 inches and held quite well. I did need to flaten the prints onto the wall by applying pressure to them with a cotton gloved hand each morning of the 2 day event. The magnets cost me $100 with shipping, and the gallery did find the budget to reinburse me. I ended up paying for the thumtacks, about $2.50 It actually looked quite good.
    This is a really interesting idea.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  9. #9
    polyglot's Avatar
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    A friend of mine who exhibits annually has given up on framing. He'd previously spend $6k on framing, sell $4k of prints and just put up with the loss.

    For his most recent exhibition, he decided to just nail the FB prints directly to the (wooden) wall with large (4") steel nails. Fitted well with the room decor and his style but it's not a mounting method that will appeal to all

    $20 for the nails... and still sold about $4k of prints.

  10. #10

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    How about doing wraps? Something like this http://www.bayphoto.com/canvas-prints/

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