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Sunday, 03 February 2013


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And, for those not already familiar with this article, the best framers in the world.

You are a little amazed about seeing Brett Weston and Aaron Siskind last night? I'm a little worried about you Mike.

A lot of the online framing services (in the UK at least), allow you to upload a small jpeg and compare frames/mounts etc. For me this is the best option because actually framing or even just buying samples is too pricey.

Nice to read a bit of information. Now, can you show and touch on some framing methods for showing Ambrotypes, glass plates or Tintypes? Am having trouble locating much on framing these types of images.

[You're in North Dakota? Your best bet is to contact the Preservation Department of the Library of Congress. They answer questions from U.S. citizens and they will most likely know how to refer you to the best information. --Mike]

These framing columns are excellent. I've been printing with my Epson 7900 for a few years now and then mounting, framing and hanging on a gallery system I have.
As to Brett, who I have always liked, but who didn't give Aaron the time of day for 3 years as his backup, what a phony.

Not to seem a heretic but if you're dealing with your own work consider not framing your picture. Today there are several alternatives for presenting your photography. In fact it's becoming much less common to see new work at top galleries traditionally matted and framed.

[But these are posts about framing. Wouldn't this comment be more suitable for a Not-Framing post? [g] --Mike]

I make two kinds of gelatin-silver photographs, "exhibitors" and "lookers".

The "exhibitors" are bigger and intended for framing but I make them only when an exhibition is scheduled. After an exhibition the unsold (yes it happens) big pictures are deframed and stored. Now I regret having made so many. The weight and the bulk are a filing and preservation challenge.

"Lookers" are made on 8x10 paper with a white border to facilitate hand-holding rather than framing. They are seen from reading distance and reveal everything most negatives contain. The "lookers" are easy to store. And they scan conveniently for internet posting.

I think of framing as being an ultimate commitment to a photograph.

Something about framing doesn't compute.

The actual image capture- doesn't cost anything once you pay for your camera and computer.

The print- large prints for less than $50, with good quality, and getting cheaper all the time.

Framing- the sky's the limit on pricing.

Really? Framing is not the most important part of the process, I'm sorry.

Framing, schmaming...the important question is this: What is with Rodger's outfit?

But I have to say, Peyton Manning had a nice follow-up by saying that he hoped him and Andrew Luck would be on-stage together. That one made me laugh out loud and simply underscores the humility of one of the best ever.

Another good resource is the American Institute for Conservation, http://www.conservation-us.org . The website has lots of info, and also a member directory to help you find someone to care for your artworks.

The issue of differences in color of different light sources can be a big one in how a mounted print looks. Both the mat and the print are affected. Its not only color temperature, but spectral distribution as well. Its even worse with mixed sources. Since most of us don't own or carry around a spectrophotometer -or even a color meter- judging appearance at the shop can be a crapshoot. HOwever, for the technically miinded, there is a resource which can provide information about the color characteristics of most sources. Its the "Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)Handbook(10th ed)" which is a very comprehensive technical discussion of all things lighting. It includes tables and graphs of almost all light source types color characteristics. It takes study, butmay help judging differences in light source effects. BUT, unless money is no object, don't buy it. It costs members $350 and non-members $600. If your library doesn't have it, they should be able to get it on interlibrary loan. Its worth a look, and not just for the light source data.

Dear Dr Nick,

Well, something doesn't compute (ahem).

Framing materials cost money. Good framing materials for a 20x24 print will add up to $50-$100.

Your allowance for labor, skill, talent and knowledge is exactly zero.

You can get people to do work, any kind of work, for you on those terms? Really?

pax / Ctein

Hello, did I miss the section about how the photograph is attached to the mat? Was that covered? I'm confused about the best way to do that.

Many thanks!

If there are any readers who've never matted one of their photographs (or had it done for them), all I can say is that you won't believe the difference it makes. The first time I saw one of my darkroom prints matted, it was like I was seeing it for the first time. All of a sudden it had presence, command; every nuance of tone had been made obvious. It was as if a spotlight had been turned on it, the house lights dimmed, and extraneous noises hushed.

Matting and framing your work is like giving it a stage. It's somewhat about context, too. There are rules of thumb, but they are only that. You don't necessarily mat and frame the same picture the same way for an ornate study vs a solo show in a gallery vs a crowded salon sale, etc.

Someone brought up how paintings are framed. Paintings are completely different animals, made of different materials, with different presence, and different chemical and aesthetic needs fro display and storage. Photographs (the kind we're talking about) are works on paper. There are reasons why you don't see fine works on paper (at least paper made from plant fiber or pulp) slapped unprotected into wooden frames.

For those debating whether to glaze or not, I don't think anyone's yet brought up the archival value of glazing. If you look up the data on printer or paper manufacturer sites and testing labs, you'll see that glazing has a significant impact on fading. You may or may not need that, but there is a difference.

Framing is exactly the sort of service that people are not going to be able to afford.
How many hours does it take to frame a print?
More than 1?

People are charging more than doctor's hours for framing.

I smell a rat.

In response to Rnewman, and for the more computer graphics friendly readers, I want to add that 3D editing softwares such as 3D Studio Max and probably others allow for simulation of lighting according to IES specifications.

In a 3D editing software, 3D models are assigned to a physically accurate-ish material that reacts to lights and rendered using very advanced lighting simulators "render engines" (think of modern sfx in movies).

What it means is that you could technically import a digital photograph of yours (+icc), simulate a glass/plexiglas frame model & IES defined lighting conditions. A lot of work for an amateur but might well be worth a try for a professionnal ?

Just an idea.


Re the discussions about "proper" mat colors: I matted the Ctein and Cramer photos I bought through TOP print sales using "conventional" white mats, and it serves them well. But I tried something different for my very first print sale purchase, and I really like the way it turned out. This is your "Wisconsin #7" print, dated 2006.

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