The comments Rich made in both posts were dead on, if you don't know what I mean, perhaps you may need to re read them.
My feelings exactly Rich!
Presentation is everything. I have seen so many artist work so hard on their work and fall short on presentation. It seems the lack of money, time, and education is the main reason some make these poor decisions. I hope that we as artist will learn overtime that there is always room for improvement.
No matter how well I think I did on the presentation of a piece, I always look back and see how I can do better. There is no such thing as a perfect picture, but I will keep trying.
I suspect that you simply failed to notice that the bogey played a staring role. Was it wearing a spangly costume?
I am with you entirely. Everyone has a different balance between the technical (including presentation) and other less tangible factors. You cannot ever undo your own standards and if you are one to agonise, the so be it. If it is any consolation, I am totally neurotic about presentation. I cannot bear even one tiny little bit of fluff or dust under the glass. It drives me nuts. Would anyone else have noticed? In most cases no, but I did and I could not give a stuff whether anyone else thought I was being neurotic opening the frame and removing it. If you are selling your work, your standards are part of what you are selling. If someone else does not notice things that are unacceptable to them, but are to you, thats only your problem if you were thinking of buying their work. If not, ignore what others are doing and ima for your own objectives - surely this is essential if we are to have any chance of being original? If you are like me there would be a pang of guilt if selling work that I knew had any kind of a flaw. I like to know that I have done my very best in all regards and simply could not show or sell a piece with known flaws. If I have done significant spotting, I tell my wife roughly what I have done but not precisely where. If they cannot find it, it is good to go.
Your work is part of who you are and your work is too. The two are inseperable and you can only apply your standards. Otherwise it would be a conscious decision to apply lesser standards despite the visibility of the flaws.
Let me tell you my 'problems':
If you can see any overcut in the mount, it is scrap.
If you can see any undercut and therfore 'unsharp corners' it is scrap (assuming I cannot neatly correct with a razor blade)
If you can see any spotting or knifing, it is scrap.
Any toning marks it is scrap.
Any permanent marks on the mat, it is scrap.
I see many of these aflictions in others' work (and I am not commenting on the brilliance of their work itself, which may well make mine pale) and often all of them in the same print. On balance, their work may still be qualititatively far better than mine, all flaws considered, but that does not mean I can sit back and not give a stuff. Quite the opposite. At least if presentation is as perfect as it can be you can agonise over the creative elements of your work instead! Immaculate presentation should be taken for granted....
Last edited by Tom Stanworth; 11-10-2006 at 03:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
When I applied to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California I was told to put together a portfolio of my work. I arranged the work and matted the photographs carefully and neatly without any of the afore mentioned errors. I gathered the portfolio cases and flew to LA and hand delivered them to the College. I was directed to an office and told to drop them off there. I went in and portfolios were scattered everywhere around the room. Nothing said and I flew home. A couple of weeks later I got a letter stating that more of my original material needed to be sent down. And they requested that it not be mounted to "cardboard" like the first ones. The cardboard was from Light Impressions and was costly. Just put what I had in a box and send it on I was told. So I did and was admitted to the College. The first day we were told that 1/3 of the students who were accepted already had a BA, BS, or BFA. I wondered how they felt about the "put it in a box and send it on". I had a BS in Photography and Graphic Design and had spent a great time and effort on the "details" of the craft.
Everything changed when classes started though. The shooting, processing, printing, mounting and showing went though a highly filtered set of instructors that would put the space program to shame. Example; if you took a mounted photo to class the instructor would give it the "flip" test. He/she would take the board and bent it quickly to see if the photo would pop off. If it did it was a redo. There you couldn't afford many redo's due to the time factor and load. Having so much fun I went on to Brooks Institute of Photography where I resumed my practice of mounting, spotting and presenting my work in a professional manner.
I have seen many fine photographs of the "Masters" with badly spotted prints and some with bad matts. Some times you have to decide if the content is greater than the presentation.
What do they call used cars? Previously Owned
What will they call used photographs? Previously Viewed?
Can a photo with good content be remounted, reframed and spotted, and debuggered back in the good graces of society?
When I went to the Ansel Adams showing in LV a week ago I took some mental notes about the gallery. The wall colors were very pleasing and in two colors. Different rooms within. The photographs were framed in white frames and the mounting of the photographs were pleasing to the eye. Equal space right and left and a little less on the top than the bottom. The wall color, lighting and white frames and mounts really enhanced the prints. The prints were excellent but a very careful examination can reveal spotting and some very minor wear on the paper. How this effects the over all show to me is that I see them each as a part of history. If all the minor mistakes are tossed out what will be left? I don't condone buggers and fingerprints and sloppy work in general but it would be a shame to miss a 1927 Half Dome because someone thought the small tear on the edge of the paper made it unshowable.
I can appreciate your feelings regarding keeping things out from under the glass, over and under cuts on the mats etc. Sometimes, you just have to learn to leave things as they are. The more you fool with things the greater the likelihood of damaging the photo, glass, and mats if you keep trying to remove dust, etc. Unfortunately slight over and under cuts can not be avoided. We try to as much as possible. But, this comes about in many/most instances because the boards (frequently as they arrive from the mill) are not totally square. As a photographer, artist, frame shop, etc. we try to minimize the problem and correct them to be the least noticeable as possible. My friend who is a custom framer tells me that the rule of thumb is you get things as perfect as you can so that it is not visible at arms length.
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I respectully disagree (to an extent). It is indeed possible to produce mats without visible under or overcut. I produce them myself on a quality Keencut mountcutter as I got sick and tired of hamfisted work from so called professionals. Unlike them, I don't have to work quickly so make sure that I square off unsquare mats before cutting. In this regard of course an amteur can challenge professionals who have to bang out their product. I also change blades frequently so that the 1mm or so overcut is very sharply done so that a swipe with a burnishing bone or simlar makes it disapear when under glass. Any undercut is sorted using a razor blade rather than left fluffy. I rarely have undercut as I set a default of about 1mm overcut, which therefore sometimes ends up 2mm but sometimes less.
Originally Posted by naturephoto1
I agree with the arms length principle. I was not referring to producing framed images devoid of microscopic particles, just the visible fluff or streaks that one so often sees after professional framing. It is not too great a bother for me to remove an image and remove an annoying streak I missed but it is a major bother for a customer!
I agree that too much tinkering exposes things to risk, but if carefully done and without haste this is not really an issue IMO. The biggest killer for me was a print that was 95% coverage max black. My goodness that was nightmare and I had to chill out over that one or I'd have gone mad.
I always think, even if it's true that some people who look at my finished prints won't be able to tell the difference, I know I can tell the difference, and that's what counts.
Sometimes I think that my own perfectionism is more like a curse, but if you've taken all that time effort (and ingenuity ) to create a print that's worth showing and/or selling, it seems a shame to let it down in any way at the last hurdle.
So...I always cut my own matts, I also very quickly grew tired of sloppy 'commercial' standards there....and I never sneeze near the finished article.
I do not disagree with you regarding the over and under cuts. Unfortunately for much of my work (printing large), I use a full 32" x 40" mat board coming in directly from Rising. They are often too large and not totally square. I can not afford right now the $1400 or $1500 for the wall mounted Fletcher cutter (I am also renting my house) to trim the boards. My friend has the cutter and I will probably have him trim the boards. Unfortunately in the mean time, I am hand trimming the boards trying to remove 2/16" to 3/16" from 2 sides of the board getting the boards the right dimension and as squared as possible. With the slight over or undercuts, I use the burnishing bones and other framing tricks to make these "mistakes" as un-noticeable as possible.
Also, when we (takes 2 of us) are worKing from 40" x 60" mats and 30" x 37.5" photos it becomes quite a challenge.
The photograph is the most important thing; it is not the only thing. A fine photo deserves a fine mat; a poor photo needs a great mat.
Well put, but maybe a poor photo needs a phenomenal mat.