Showing Work - Standards?
This evening I had an email exchange with a friend. We were talking about showing work in a gallery show. I told him that I was fine showing just 1 image, since I didn't have the ability to go bigger than 16x20 - I paid for a drum scan and a 30"x30" (non silver print ) and with framing and mounting it cost me almost $350 for one image. He replied that I "over did it" - he uses his inkjet and Ikea frames.
Last year I showed 11x14 prints that I printed and toned and I was proud of them. This year, I wanted to go large. My first choice would be to get a silver print made that size... but the rarity and cost ruled that out.
After the email exchange with my friend, I keep thinking about what he said "InkJet and Ikea frames". Is it just me or does this sound like nails on a chalk board to you?
"Non-silver" sounds like chalkboard to me.
350$ to scan and print something out sounds like chalkboard to me.
Why the need for 30x30 when 16x20 would have done it?
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
Having some one else print my work is what sounds like fingernails of the chalk board to me -- silver, platinum, ink jet, whatever. But that is a personal thing only. I don't hold others to that -- I just prefer to print my own work as it is part of my process.
Frame to the quality of the work. Costco prints and Ikea frames seem to be a good match.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
I prefer to print my own work, I just couldn't go that large. I wanted a large print - there was no other option that I could afford.
Developing the negatives is something that I can't let anyone else do, someone else doing the print is easier for me to accept.
you have to do what you think is right, but for $150 or so you can get a top pro to custom print you a 20x24 silver print and that would have been nice I am sure, even if 19" square. As for framing, its expensive if you get it done bespoke and that combo would have come in the same price. I think I would have opted for the 16x20 DIY solution and a simplified framing solution unless it was a really big thing for me or I expected a return on the expenditure. If your intention was to have a cracking large image on your wall when the exhibition is done, then you have achieved that, right?
If you can afford it, there is nothing wrong with doing things to the highest standard you can.
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Dear Tom 16x20 or 20x40 is a good size for exhibition. Regarding the issue of getting the print done by others- pl remember what Ansel Adams once said: " The negative is like the Score & the prints is the performance" won't you prefer to play your own tune?
Oh, I agree that your friends' approach is anathema. That's one reason why I learned to do my own matting and framing. It saves SO much money that if you HAVE to have larger prints made because you can't print that big yourself, then you can afford the printing. Also, a thought on doing really big prints - if you have a project where you know you'll need to make great big prints, try to find a community college class to sign up for that will give you darkroom access. Many schools have darkrooms set up that will let you go bigger than you can do at home, and the tuition for a class is usually pretty reasonable; amortized across all your prints for your project, it adds a couple dollars to the price of each print at most.
My general take on exhibits is to have your framing and matting be pleasing when noticed, and noticed as little as possible. The frame and mat serve two purposes only - to protect the image and to direct attention to the image and away from the environment. In that sense, if you can achieve those two goals with an IKEA frame, then go for it. Especially if your goal is to sell the image - don't tie up a massive investment in the frame when it will be going on to the customer at a loss to you. Because of that, I like to buy simple frames in standard sizes that I can use and re-use until they start showing their use, and replace without heartache. Utrecht art supply store carries a range of nice looking wood and metal frames that are quite inexpensive.
When did an 8 x 10 print go from being measured in "inches" to "feet?" 16" x 20" is about the maximum practical size for a print processed in chemistry. The quality of the negative required for that size of enlargement is very high even for a 4" x 5" negative. There are many considerations to be taken when choosing the size of a final print when there are no personal constraints involved. Final viewing distance, size of the exhibition place and subject matter are three that immediately come to mind when deciding how big a photograph should be.
IKEA and Inkjet? Depends on how many prints you want to show. IKEA frames might be like Neilsen or other extruded aluminum frames, so I don't see a problem them because they are pretty much the standard for photographic shows. They wear well and can be re-used in future shows. Espousing inkjet printing in this forum is not a wise thing to do.
So, basically an economic question is, what is the best way to display your photographic skills? A single large print, or a series of smaller prints (11 x 14 in extruded aluminum frames) showing depth of skill and a breadth of vision? Both could be accomplished for the same budget amount.
From some of the exhibitions and galleries I've seen in recent years it appears that very large prints seem to be in vogue regardless of their content and quality. That doesn't mean you have to follow the trend. Most of the most treasured photographs in the world are not very large and I wonder how many of the poster-size shiny prints are sold and maintain their value. The pendulum swings both ways. and just think-- you can hang several high quality prints in the space taken by one large print.
I never print on paper larger than 16"x20" and have not found that to be a problem for exhibitions. Simple frames and white mats as well. If someone purchases a print it won't be for the frame which they can change to suit their taste. Some images work best small and the size should relate to the distance you want it to be viewed from.
All I know is that getting set up to do my own matting and framing has saved me a lot of money over the years. I'm not sure I'm great at it, but I'm good enough. I had a show a few years ago where they wanted 30 framed pictures so there was no way I could afford pro framing. I found a set of 28 used aluminum frames on craigslist. They came with backing boards and when I took them apart, many had stickers that showed they had been on loan to the state museum of art. I figured if they were good enough for someone who had shown at the museum, they were good enough for me.
"To a photographer the world consists of an infinite number of vantage points -- places to stand -- of which very few are altogether satisfactory." (John Szarkowski, Atget