framing your work. why?

i typically store most of my photography on my pc – i know, bad, bad, bad… 

:: slaps hand :: 

(i do have them backed up on external hard drive though)

but for the ones that i do print off, i keep them in a photo album.  i don’t usually go through much effort in ‘framing’ my stuff.  so why do it?

well lets just start with 2 very obvious reason why:

  • framing protects your photos from airborne pollutants
  • framing prevents people examining your images using the braille system; no touching = no smudges

now the more formal answer to why:

Support for ease of viewing* – At its simplest, framing acts as a support system for optimum viewing of a picture. It keeps the image flat and permits it to be easily placed upright on a wall or other support at a suitable viewing height.

Protection* – This is an even more important consideration. Quality photographs need to be protected from dirt, grime and other environmental factors such as light, moisture and contact with poor-quality paper products that have high-acid content. No matter how careful you are, every time you handle a photograph with direct touch, you risk transferring harmful materials. The natural acids in your hands can act to break down the surface of your photo.

Artistic* – The third, a very important consideration, is the artistic and esthetic value proper framing can add to your photograph. Framing should (1) celebrate and enhance your picture, even glorify it; (2) set the boundaries so the photograph doesn’t overwhelm its environment, or the environment doesn’t impose on the picture; and (3) act as a transition between the wall and the image. Framing can also draw the eye to the picture, emphasizing the more subtle elements and colors, and even increasing the apparent size of the image.

*Photography Tips

during a recent jury process, i had to figure out what was expected for framing your art work.  how does this work?  what material do i need to use?  wood or metal?  glass or non-reflective?  black or color?

so i surfed the interwebs and did some homework.  here’s some useful advice i came across:

  • prints should have a small strip of white around the image showing so you have room to leave a signature.  when the photos are framed, this should allow room for the sig and piece number to be seen and increases value to the piece
  • don’t sign or date the mat – if you do, you force the customer to use your chosen mat which might not match the colors of their home
  • use an acid free mat. over time the acid in the mat will yellow your print and ruin a perfectly good photo
  • wood frames have oils in them and they too can yellow your photo over time.  aluminum coated tape can block the gasses from the wood, so ask for that if you’re having the framing done for you.
  • metal frames won’t create any yellowing problems
  • a white mat and black frame is suggested for sale or gallery showings

galleries generally use black picture frames with b&w photos to prevent the artwork from competing with an ornate frame.  besides, classic black is well, classic.  you can never go wrong with a black frame imo.

glass is very durable and scratch resistant. the problem is it doesn’t filter UV rays which, over time, can damage your work. another option is acrylic. it’s lighter than glass, clearer than glass, and more color-free than glass.

my conclusion on the framing issue is that it really depends on your taste and budget.  get what suits you and/or your galleries requirements.  there’s so many options available that there’s really no right answer. 

if anything, framing should be thought of as a way to protect something you love.


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