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  1. #1

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    Does holding a print change the photograph

    ello I am sure this has come up around here.. maybe not so directly. ...maybe more so..


    How do you feel a photograph changes, or not.. when a print goes from being in your hands to being hung on a wall.. or perhaps even in a mat that you can hold

    More directly.. Does having a tactile experience with a print change ones experience with a photograph? How we see it? View it? Change its effectiveness?



    My personal bias as a printer is toward the tactile, i enjoy books of photographs.. I like how paper feels, textures.. the stiffness.. when I choose printing materials I go for tactile properties than tonal properties.


    I remember as a student being exposed to the photography print room at the art institute of chicago.. Being up close and personal with some of that work really changed how I felt about photographs.. There was no picture frame, No Glass..Just prints, some with no mat. If I wanted I could pick up a print in a mat and hold it at an angle to see the texture and gloss in the light.. I was in control of how I got to experience that photograph at that time.. It was just like how I experienced my own work at home. With very little limitation.


    Once my prints are on a wall in a frame I feel like they become a different kind of object and therefore in someway they feel like a different kind of photograph..

    I am used to printing my work and organizing the good prints from the bad ones.. sometimes something goes in a mat on the wall.. sometimes the prints get bound in a book.. but rarely ever framed and behind glass. I nearly only have tactile experiences with my work..

    It feels odd to lose that tactile experience for me. And I wonder how much of other peoples work I may have missed by not having a tactile experience.
    "Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image."

  2. #2
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Yes, texture is part of the aesthetic experience. Brush strokes and lighting direction are highly relevant factors in the painting world. Thus, 'painting with light' is really (at least potentially) more of the same.

    There really WAS a reason for all the surface types available when photo paper was king (30s through 60s). 'Tactile' is not a dirty word and sorrily, today, the 'tech crowd' thinks that viewing on a screen is a 'better' and a more advanced way of imparting images. (I do hate those 'Kindles' which rob one of the 'right' to make penciled notes.)

    I am so happy that I am no one's 'facebook friend' (whatever that means in real parlance or infers in actual communicative, humanistic value). - David Lyga
    Last edited by David Lyga; 12-15-2011 at 08:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    I never make borderless prints (so they can be handled without touching the image) and for the most part print smaller as opposed to larger. I too like books and have a nice collection. Framing behind glass or having photographs online are just another way of displaying one's work and sharing it with others. Each has its purpose. Without books or the internet our exposure to the vast number of excellent photographs would be lost. IMOP, I'm comfortable with all of it.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  4. #4
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    My favorite print size to hold in hand is 18x24 cm, and I always print on this size with 1-2 cm white border around so that you can hold paper comfortably in your hands

  5. #5
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    To me mounting the print and under an over-mat sort of elevates its status a little bit. I feel that I am able to view the picture differently in that I see the whole picture better.
    When I hold a print in my hands, which I love to do, I always wonder what it'll look like behind an over-mat.
    My preferred sizes are 6x8" or 9x12" (same aspect ratio of 3:4) with 1" border for rectangular pictures, and square I print 6x6" on 8x10" paper, 8x8" on 11x14" paper, and 13x13" on 16x20" paper. I absolutely love holding these prints in my hands, study them, feel them. You mentioned how the print feels in your hands - this is why I love matte paper for example.

    In summary I think putting the print behind a window mat or a frame will distance it from me, allowing me to view it from a 'big picture' perspective where I pay much less attention to the details and appreciate it more from a subject matter perspective, as well as visual impact. But it also robs me of the intimate viewing experience and the wonderful sensation of holding the prints in my (freshly washed) hands.
    My goal is, however, always to get the prints I love at least behind a window mat. To me that's sort of its final destination.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  6. #6
    zsas's Avatar
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    Christopher - I donít know how I missed this thread, it must have been that period around the holidays where I was a bit preoccupied. I was just going to start a thread re this same topic but figured I would do a search and wa-la, you started the same a few weeks ago.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your premise that there is this tactile aspect to photography, which I enjoy. I love to print a stack of photos, sit with my family and we all leaf through them. Most prints in my house are hung on an art line, with other forms of art next to them that the family produce. I am so interested in the tactile aspects of my prints that I print on a surface that gives me the most sensory connection with the print (which I wonít mention so as to keep the discussion not about the technicals of the paper brand/weight/finish/etc that I like, but more about the reaction to it). I tried a different brand than my favorite recently, it had a feel to it that wasnít as good as the incumbent, even thought its attributes were on par visually/technically with my favorite paper and it was cheaper but didnít pass the tactile test. I agree that oneís appreciation of photography can extend from the capture, from visual presentation all the way down to the physical feel of it. Art is about emotion, senses and reactions to it, and thus all is fair, and to each his or her own - there is no right answer. Great topic!
    Last edited by zsas; 02-29-2012 at 08:51 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typeOh
    Andy

  7. #7

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    i am kind of torn.
    i love the look of an image in a window mount,
    i love the look of an image framed and even plak mounted ..
    but i make hand stitched books and love the feeling of holding
    an object made of objects and touching the pages..

    i feel like i drink both coke and pepsi and can't decide ...
    im empty, good luck

  8. #8

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    A print not finished and hung is kind of like a piece of music not played. That is the performance. While I certainly can relate to the process and materials, a photograph is to be looked at. The content is more important than the form--although the form imparts qualities to the content.

  9. #9
    clayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikari View Post
    A print not finished and hung is kind of like a piece of music not played. That is the performance. While I certainly can relate to the process and materials, a photograph is to be looked at. The content is more important than the form--although the form imparts qualities to the content.
    Disagree. This is equating prints/photographs as ultimately vessels of visual consumption.

    One could play devil's advocate and say that if the photograph is seen at all, then that's enough. But to be reasonable, I think round-tabling an archive box of 5x7 prints with friends or other photographers is a heck of a lot more nourishing to the soul then staring at a 16x20 on the wall.

    Saying an unmounted print is like unplayed music is like saying a contact sheet has no point or is "unsung" because it's a collection of frames of no ultimate destination. Even the contact sheet itself has fundamental meaning behind it, mounted or not.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  10. #10
    artonpaper's Avatar
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    Ansel said the print was the performance. (The negative, the score.) Perhaps the galley wall is the theater. I think the print in hand and the matted print generate two different experiences. For me my experience changes with the viewing conditions. I like both experiences, but like the print in hand better.

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