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Thread: Signing prints

  1. #1

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    Signing prints

    Any suggestions regarding signing glossy prints? I find that the gloss is too much even for the softest pencil leads. I could use a fine felt pen, but I fear the signature would be quite pronounced. I don't use glossy paper often, but when I do, I don't look forward to signing the print. I like to leave a paper border--wider at the bottom--and sign the print as opposed to putting my signature on the overmat.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I sign my prints on the back, where the paper surface doesn't matter.

    If you dry-mount, sign it on the back of the mount since you won't ever remove the print from it. You might even consider a custom stamp to use on the verso, for authenticity. Looks nice.
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  3. #3
    Jesper's Avatar
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    I use a stamp with my name and address on the back and I sign with a soft pencil also on the back.

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    Here's a pic of Masao Yamamoto's print stamp.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    ROL
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    I have signed in the white border of hinge mounted, overmatted color (yech!) glossies with various fine point felt style pens. This is not, of course, archival, but neither are the prints, so I don't fret over it.

    The situation is quite different with archivally processed monochrome prints. Even if you choose not to dry mount, signing on the front of the print itself is widely considered to be gauche. Sign somewhere immediately close to the print on the mat, preferably in pencil, whichever mounting procedure you choose. But also, and this is more critical than an actual signature, label the print with all suitable identifying provenance information using any of a number of methods searchable elsewhere on this site, either on the back of the print itself if not permanently attached to its mount, or on its mount. If a print is good enough to present (e.g., mount, frame), it should be properly identified. Personally, I also despise signing, but it is a necessary evil.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    FWIW, many print competitions will disqualify prints that show information that would identify the photographer when viewed by the judges.

    So for that purpose, any signature on the front would need to be hidden by a mat.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    signing on the front of the print itself is widely considered to be gauche.

    I've never heard such a thing in the 20 years I have exhibited and sold my work. Most photos I see in museums and galleries are signed on the front of the print right under the image in the lower right corner. Drymounted ones are often signed on the backing board under the print (mat window is cut larger on the bottom to allow the signature to show). Signing a mat should never be done because the signature is lost if the mat ever needs replaced.
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  8. #8
    ROL
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    You have not understood what I have written. Most properly presented traditionally produced monochrome prints (GSP, platinum, etc.), and that includes major museums I have visited, are not signed on the front of the PRINT, though many are unsigned anywhere on the front of the piece at all. I make no claim as to pigment prints, inkjets, color, or chriscrawfordphotos of any kind.

    Your own written claim that dry mounted prints are signed below the print on the mount is contrary to your claim that signing a mat should never be done... At least be consistent in your written communication. Mat board is mat board whether it is used for mounting or windowing. The separation argument is the reason for properly identifying the work unambiguously on the back of the PRINT, if not permanently attached to its mount.
    Last edited by ROL; 07-11-2013 at 05:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
    polyglot's Avatar
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    India ink in a 0.35mm Rapidograph (tech pen). On the back usually because I don't have a drymount press and don't print with huge borders.

  10. #10

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    Thank you all for your comments. I do dry mount my prints (on acid-free foam board), and overlap the print border with the mat. It is the print border that shows and not the backing board. Perhaps with glossy prints I can change that practice.
    Bob Walberg

    The fix is in!

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