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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Framing photos for exhibition...Okay, no one answered my question about the best way to mat and frame photos for exhibition. Can anyone help ...
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Old 08-01-2008, 03:10   #1 (permalink)
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Framing photos for exhibition

Okay, no one answered my question about the best way to mat and frame photos for exhibition. Can anyone help me here? Dry mount? Acid free mat? 3" mat? Black frame?

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Old 08-01-2008, 09:50   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Framing photos for exhibition

I think that it depends a lot on the photograph, is it colour or black and white? where will it be displayed, will it be exhibited in natural light etc. As a rule of thumb if a photograph is to be framed and behind glass I would print on matt or semi matt paper, it is only my personal choice but I nearly always use a black frame, as for the mat, again this is only my personal choice but either white or very light cream (just off white) and about 3 " no smaller. hope that helps in someway.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:53   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Framing photos for exhibition

Gary is right, it depends on many factors.

Most 'fine art' galleries use a generic system of white mat board (usually called museum board) that is acid free. The window usually has the beveled cut rather than a vertical one. The backing board is usually also acid free but slightly lighter weight (i.e. thinner) to save cost.

In the past the traditional method of mounting photographic prints was with dry mounting. This was so that the end result was perfectly flat and stayed in place on the mat board. In recent years, galleries and 'fine art' collectors have been concerned with the permanence of dry mounting in case the mount became damaged as it was virtually impossible to remove the print from the mount without damage to the print. So, the current trend is to mount the print using a method that allows easy removal from the mount. Several methods exist: acetate corners, acid free paper tape being the most popular. In fact, of these the paper tape is prefered since it keeps the print in one place and helps to flatten it.

With inkjet prints the flattening isn't really an issue since the inkjet paper tends to be flat (the flattening of traditional darkroom prints was due to the fact that the paper had to be wet to be processed and hence curled quite a bit when air drying). The acid free tape is probably your best option for attaching the print to the mount and also attaching the window mat to the print mount.

Framing is again a personal thing but galleries usually use either silver grey, metal type frames or black. The idea is that the frame doesn't detract from the image.

Archival mounting is not cheap, the materials are expensive and are only really necessary when selling your work as professional fine art (which I assume you do). If you are only doing an exhibition you might want to consider using non-archival mounting card and normal, low-tack, masking tape to save money.

Something to bear in mind when choosing the mat, a white mat will make the print look slightly darker and a black mat will make it look slightly lighter due to the simultaneous contrast effect. When you have decided which to use, make the prints so they look good with that board tone/colour. Also, consider the lighting in the venue for the exhibition, is it bright (prints might need to be darker) or is it subdued (prints might need to be slightly lighter).

As you no doubt know, presentation of prints whether for exhibition or portfolio is a complex subject that requires careful thought. Good Luck!

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Old 08-01-2008, 15:51   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Framing photos for exhibition

Thanks guys. That's a big help!
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