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  1. #1
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Presentation quality - How important is it *really*?

    Two things that I have seen in the last two days made me question how important the quality our work is when presented for viewing by others really is. Let me relate my experiences and then I would love to hear everyone's feedback on the issue.

    First example. I went to an opening at a small venue and saw two separate photographers prints displayed along with work in other media. The first photographer had very fine quality control: clean cut mats, very impressive values, very even borders, and the subjects were obviously related for all six prints. The second photographer showed two sets of three related subjects: the prints were flat (value-wise - very muddy), the mats all showed sloppy cuts at the corners, and one print even showed bubbles from using too little developer. In addition, on print had - and I apologize to the squeamish in advance - what I could only establish as a largish booger (bogey) attached to the surface of the print - under the glass.

    Second example (today). I got a book on inter-library loan that was recommended by a friend. I noticed that at least two, and possibly more, of the prints exhibited what were clearly light leaks from the film holder. The pattern was the same on each print and it extended into what many people call the rebate.

    Is it just me or do you spend quite a bit of time making sure that only your best work is presented and that it is presented in the best possible fashion? I'll be the first to admit that I have neither shown my work in a gallery or published a book of my work, but if I had done either, I really do think that I would have noticed problems like these. Has anyone else seen this type of problem or am I just be too critical of others? I'd love to hear what you all think.

    - Randy

  2. #2
    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Hi Randy,

    Whenever possible for Art shows I only put out my best finished work. It should be printed, matted and finished properly. On occasion, I do put one out that a problem has arisen, such as a hair has gotten inside. In instances such as that, I stipulate that I have to take the image apart and correct the problem prior to the sale or shipment of the photograph.

    For myself, I try to put out the best work possible, both in terms of printing, matting and framing. Unfortunately, I compete with many other photographers in this venue that are more interested in making as much money as possible with lesser quality prints, mats, frames, and completed presentation. I have had to be competitive in my pricing. My work is a very high end product with a moderate price point. Unfortunately sales have not been stellar, and because of this I will probably be attempting to sell much of my work through galleries and presented in Museum Glass. Since my pricing has to agree to through direct sales to the public as it is through the Gallery, the public is going to have a rude awakening as to the pricing which will have a substantial increase.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  3. #3
    Travis Nunn's Avatar
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    I've noticed this, too, Randy. Two people I know who have displayed their prints didn't really put much effort into presentation. One of them has never changed the razor in his mat cutter, you can imagine what the cuts looked like. Neither one of them had ever heard of archival products, they just used the cheapest products they could find.

    Several photographers who display their work at the gallery where my work is displayed don't use archival materials. All of the mats have that nasty looking yellow/brown inner core. One of them said she couldn't justify the extra expense of buying archival products.
    ____________________________________________
    Searching my way to perplexion

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I generally try to keep my bodily secretions out of the finished work.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t_nunn View Post
    .....One of them said she couldn't justify the extra expense of buying archival products.
    When purchased in bulk, I find that archival products add only a few cents per mat.
    —Eric

  6. #6
    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t_nunn View Post

    Snip

    Several photographers who display their work at the gallery where my work is displayed don't use archival materials. All of the mats have that nasty looking yellow/brown inner core. One of them said she couldn't justify the extra expense of buying archival products.
    Hi Travis,

    That in my mind is foolish thinking. The archival products are not that much more expensive (mats, adhesives, tapes, packaging) than non archival materials. The buyer of course is the one that will benefit from less problem if the correct products are used in the long haul. So those who follow that train of reasoning are only interested in making as much money at the expense of their buyers.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  7. #7
    Jerry Basierbe's Avatar
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    I recently saw an exhibit of some work from a local camera club. Most of the photographers did a nice in the presentation of their work. One photographer used some cheap mat board not cut very well and had poorly hand printed tags for the photos. This stands out in my mind more than his work and not in a good way.

    Jerry

  8. #8
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post
    Hi Travis,

    That in my mind is foolish thinking. The archival products are not that much more expensive (mats, adhesives, tapes, packaging) than non archival materials. The buyer of course is the one that will benefit from less problem if the correct products are used in the long haul. So those who follow that train of reasoning are only interested in making as much money at the expense of their buyers.

    Rich
    It is not only in the buyer's best interest, it is in the seller's best interest as well... if you are so fortunate to have gallery representation, many galleries will offer a guarantee of quality on the work - you may find yourself having to reprint at no charge an image that you made years earlier if you printed it in a non-archival method and mounted it with non-archival materials, and it yellows and ages poorly. Or worse, if the gallery doesn't exist anymore, and the customer contacts you and you say poo-poo to their request, well, all of a sudden you could find yourself without any customers at all...

  9. #9
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    If your not going to display in the best light and material possible, they is no reason at all to display...period, the consumer as well as the gallery owner deserves our best possible effort, it not only makes you look professional, it enhances the Gallery owners reputation, which in itself can come back around and benefit you as well, that would be like me, just cutting my glass and sending it out with the edges rough and a scratch everyonce in a while...to not do your best possible effort is a waste of time, I know I won't and I wouldn't expect anyone who cares about their image to do so either! Not only do I care about my products, both images and glass, I care about my customers and potential customers.

    Dave

  10. #10
    noseoil's Avatar
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    As an apprentice cabinet maker, some 35 years ago now, one of the cardinal rules from my boss was "always bring in the best looking cabinet first." His theory was that everyone would be looking closely at the first one on the job. If they looked at it and were impressed, the rest would be easy. If the first thing on the job wasn't perfect, expect each and every part of each and every cabinet to be nit-picked by the architect, owner, general contractor and their friends.

    Seems to me that if you want to display prints, each one which is actually hung on the wall in a gallery should be the best possible in terms of quality. A nice print can be made to look shoddy, simply by a bad frame, mat, backing or even signature. Why not do the best we can, or why even bother? tim

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