Recently, I had the idea to try and work with lampshades as a platform for photographs. The idea being that a lampshade works much like a lightbox. It diffuses light.
I figured there were a couple of ways to do this.
One was to use a store-bought white lampshade. This would probably be good for things like emulsion lifts. I was thinking that an emulsion lift laid onto a simple paper or fabric shade would look pretty nice. Almost like a chrome on a light box.
The other idea was to make my own shades using say watercolor paper (I should be able to find a large enough sheet). I could do something like an image transfer onto it, then cut the shade out of the paper and mount it on some lampshade rings. Like wise one could hand coat areas with their prefered chemistry and do everything from Pt/Pd shades to cyanotype shades.
Now practice is trickier. First off, the IDEAL method seems to be the second method. Make your own shade from materials you pick. A $10.00 shade from say Traget may have all sorts of coatings on it that will botch things up. That is fine and dandy, but I have only a vague idea of how to do this.
My issues -
1) Where to get the rings needed to hold the material in place. Shades usually have a small top ring and a larger bottom ring. Both have a slot that the material sits in. Pretty simple. But where do you GET something like that? I have no idea besides ripping apart another lamp shade (which would get me killed by my GF....).
2) What is the geometry you have to follow to make the ideal cone for a shade? The paper has to be cut exactly so that it forms a cone and matches the rings that hold it in place. Any ideas on how to figure that?
So, can this be pulled off? I am utterly bored and figure this could be a nice creative thing to play with. That is if it can be done easily.
If I were to contemplate doing something like this I would begin by determining the diameter of the rings that you are wanting to use. I would then figure circumfrance of the ring by muliplying diameter by Pi. (3.1416). The next thing to consider in your layout would be the distance between the upper an lower rings. One would need to allow for overlap at the top and bottom of the shade so that the paper would be fastened to the ring by folding back on itself and gluing. Additionally one will need to allow for an overlap in the circumfrance of the two rings, again for the purposes of gluing. I would then lay this out on a flat sheet of paper, cut it out, and glue it up. There may be other ways to do this, but this is the way that I would proceed. Good luck and have fun.
buy a lampshade that suits and (carefully) tear it apart and use the 'shade' bit as a template. When you put it all back together, with your new 'shade' you'll have all the bits necessary (the rings, base, etc) and hey presto... a very unique lampshade! Sounds like a nifty idea!
Kodak used to sell a film that was to be used for Lamp Shades. The last of it got bought up by a guy in the Big Bend National Park area. I saw a lamp once that had that material for the shade. It was an image of three soldiers crossing the Rio Grande River. That seems redundant. Big River River...On with the story. These soldiers were on horseback. You could tell that it was 2nd Lt. Dwight D. Eisenhower and 2nd Lt. Geo Patton and 1st Lt McArthur. It was very cool.
A question about presentation:
I have been wodering about the relationship between the image size, undermatting, primary mat, sizes and colors, and the overall frame size.
I do all my own framing (reason: frugality) and I notice that some combinations seem to "work" and others ... don't. I have *NO* idea why - what mathematical formula may be involved or what other factors are involved.
As with printing, I have put the assembly together, decided that it did not "work", took it apart, and redid it again - sometimes three or four times - or until I reached the point where I decided it was simply time to stop.
I have seen effective presentations involving relatively small prints in relatively large frames ... a 5" x 4" in a 20" x 16" frame ... that both seemed to work, and others that did not "work" at all ... Black mats, white, every color and color combination of the rainbow...
So ... what are your thoughts on this, gang? Any "discovered" methods to ease the pain in this exercise?
There must be something "fun" in matting and framing. Someday, I hope to find out what it is.
I think in the case of figure work I tend to print images small around 8x10 then mount 16x20 with the figure I think it deserves the privacy a larger matt creates. With landscapes I use a much less matt to print ratio, landscapes tend to be more dynamic and take up enough space on their own. The street stuff I don't usually print very large, But I do give them their own space with a larger matt. Then frame color depends on the furniture surounding and weather I want to seperate the image from the wall or not. Also don't be afraid to consider a black matt an black frame for certian prints.
I notice that some established photographers (meaning, they sell their work for good money) offer prints in pretty much a set fashion: one size, mounted and matted one way.
These days one trend (not the only trend) is toward smallish prints on large mount/mat board. I'm wondering how these will play in years to come, considering changes in tastes.
I recall seeing a movie from the 1980s, "Boys From Brazil" (Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier), in which one scene featured a room decorated with several square format prints that were either unmatted or with very small overmats - I couldn't tell on my TV. Today that would seem rather dated.
Or would it?
I also don't often see the black side of mount/mat boards used. Why is that? There are many images that could benefit from a darker surrounding. Misty seascapes seem to fly away unchecked against white boards. Sometimes I wonder whether that's the real reason Michael Kenna, Rolf Horne and others tend to burn the edges of their prints so dark - because their galleries demand white mats and the subject matter of these photographers would seem ungrounded or fleeting against such a background.
It's odd, the rules photographers accept for themselves.
When I visit museums I see paintings mounted in all kinds of frames, from modern to rococo. One local museum has a Monet displayed in the most garish frame you can imagine - it resembles an ant farm. I doubt many people notice and fewer complain. It's probably the only framing material they had in that size, or they simply decided to go with a "period" style regardless of taste.
But photographs are nearly always mounted, matted and framed uniformly, like little obedient soldiers.
Why do we accept this? Is it because we believe it's right? Or because we believe it's what others believe is right?