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So you have taken the time and effort to create a good quality photographic print. The question then becomes, what do I want to do with it? We have a print here, it's very nicely done, it's a good black and white print. It's immediately in danger, though, because if picked up the wrong way, like this, with a one-handed grip, you can immediately put a small dent in the paper that lowers its intrinsic value. Particularly, if you're dealing with quality photographs that are being sold in galleries, a mark like that in the paper would reduce its value by at least half.
So one thing it's important to remember is how to pick up photographs just to start with. Always look for the long dimension and lift from the sides and let the weight of the paper create a slight fold, and this protects it from this sort of ding. You should never reach for a work of art on paper with a single hand. So this brings to mind one of the concerns is denting. Another concern you have with an un-matted photograph is soil from people's hands, we all often times have dirty little hands, we have oils and acids in our sweat that can actually discolor the print as well.
So the first step you should probably make in preserving your photograph is to put it in a mat. This accomplishes two things, one a viewer can pick up the work and engage it visually without actually touching the work, they handle the mat rather that the photograph itself. So it's a good thing, it helps protect the photograph. The mat does not protect the photograph from things hitting the surface of it, somebody's looking at your work, and has a little bit of a cold, big sneeze, big problem. So the mat has a certain degree of protection, but not complete protection for your work.
The other thing about a mat though, if the mat becomes soiled as the edge of the print does, you can change out the mat and just put the print in a new mat thereby cleaning that up. But the next layer of protection for your work is combining matting with glazing and framing. Glazing adds a layer of either glass or acrylic to protect the front of the work, while the framing protects the mat edges and holds it all together. The other thing that framing does is it provides a display method, you can either get an easel back frame that will stand up on its own, or you can wire the back of it, so you can hang the work on the wall.
There are a dizzying array of choices between matting and framing that you can use for multiple purposes, you can tie together disparate works of art with creative framing choices to make them seem to belong together. You can use framing to make a work feel more comfortable in a specific environment, perhaps matching it to the decor of a certain room in your house. The thing to remember is each layer you add, from the mat to the glazing to the frame enhances the work in special ways. And if you work with all these choices that you have, you can make the work completely unique, and that's what we're going to explore in this course.
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