I was visiting a local gallery and the sales a person said that bigger is better but I disagree. I like small prints. Prints between 4x5 to 8x10. 11x14, I consider standard size. I like the intimate feel of the smaller print. The isolation of the image. Large prints can overwhelm. I have both Large and small on my walls and I enjoy them both. I brought up this thought of print size on the chat line. It was 50/50 results/
What do you think?
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit"
Michael Kenna only prints 7.5" x 7.5" .
Yea the whole post-modernist "bigger is better," line. It usually comes with the never dry mount or sign the front of your prints advice.
I recently went to see an exhibit of Latin American and Caribbean Art. This included 6 8x10's by Bravo and three Orozca's. While the 8x10's are dramatically smaller than either the Chuck Close 6' digital self-portrait or the 5' Sally Mann battlefield wetplate print in the next room, the prints were perfect (one had been scratched in storage or when in private hands) but they were perfect. Close and Mann's prints weren't. They were BIG, though.
The Close self portrait was pieced from two sheets in an obvious manner. Sally Mann's print was coated in beeswax. So while drymount may be a no..no for the gallery and museum world, I guess that large beeswax and digital prints are somehow more "Archival."
If it is not the image itself which impresses: Make it big. The biggest prints I can do in my small darkroom are 8.5x8.5 on 9.5x12 paper, but usually I do smaller ones and I am used to the smaller ones. I just like them more.
As for exhibitions, I think for big prints, you look at them from a greater distance. Smaller prints invite you to give up that distance and so maybe also a bit of the distance to the subject shown.
I think a good image can stand every print size.
Robert and Jim -I'm fortunate enough to own 2 Bravos. they are great works of art in 8x10 format. Yes it is an unfortunate state of affairs about large pieces; the galleries have to be justified somehow for the prices they charge!
seriously I do a lot prints on 8x10 and 11x14 paper.I have quite a few 4x5 contact prints which I consider to be little jewels. Making an image larger does not neccessarily render it BETTER. If I'm going to print large then I better have something good to say.
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Thye say that because larger prints will appreciate in value, on a dollar basis, faster than their smaller sized counterparts. When you go to re-sell a print, usually the bigger it is the easier it is to sell and the more you'll get for it. People that appreciate the higher quality of smaller prints are much fewer than those 'wowed' by the huge print.
This is very much a "horses for courses" question.
Some images MUST be printed large - they simply don't work as tiny prints.
Some images can't be printed large due to film limitations.
To my market demographic, a salable print is something that most people can't do themselves. One limitation on most people is a large print size (try making a 30" print from a 4MP digicam).
My market is also mainly composed of people wanting to decorate a room, so one big, impressive print works well in their living room. They are not collectors, but decorators.
And Mike's premise is also right - the "WOW!" factor of a big print is greater for most people.
So if you are making prints for yourself, print them to the size the image demands. If you are trying to sell to the general public, make them BIG. As for collectors? Don't ask me ....
I personally like an 8x10 or an 11x14, no bigger. I have some little Cibachromes in gold leaf frames with suede mat, I think they are 5x8 or so, and I like the small size of them because they require closeness. I print 11x14 because the technique I use involves some texture/detail that would not be adequately visible in a smaller print. I wouldn't print any bigger than that, though. To me big prints seem like a crowd-pleaser.
Some images should be big, some small. I have one which is on the small side at 50x70cm (about 20x28"), others which are best as 9x12cm contact prints. I have also made very nice 6x4.5 contacts...
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I prefer smaller sizes, more like a whisper. The negative often dictates the image size for me.
That said, have you noticed sometimes, especially in the art world, the prints are bigger, but the ideas are smaller?