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Matting and framing is relatively simple, and doing it yourself costs less and is more rewarding than using a framing service. In this course, photographer and professional framer Konrad Eek describes the tools, techniques, and creative decisions involved in matting, framing, and hanging photographs.
The course begins with an overview of framing concepts, terms, and tools and then shows how to choose and work with the various components of a framed print: matboard, frame, glazing, wire hangers, and more. The course also examines the issues and creative options behind hanging an exhibit, whether in a gallery or in a home.
All righty, welcome to your Gallery Space. I know it doesn't look like much yet, but I see what you have created over the past couple of weeks, and I think it's some astonishingly good work. (Konrad Eek narrating: So after all the student work had been matted, the next step is to take the work from the pavilion we worked in relative obscurity and the exhibit hall where it was going to hang. Once there, we spread it out on the floor, and the students for the first time saw all their work collected together in a public space and realized the enormity of what they had accomplished in the two weeks leading up to the exhibition.) If you look at it everything, right now we have got 72 works of art, and what do you think when you see them right now? What comes to mind? Student: Disjointed. Konrad: Disjointed, messy, stretched.
Looking at something of this scale one of the first and easiest ways to start to build some kind of rhythm in the exhibition is to look at scale as kind of--you look at the larger prints we have got, think of those as maybe being the big bass notes in a melody that you're starting to develop, okay. And so, let's get all the little ones out of here for right now. (Konrad narrating: The other thing that they came to realize for the first time was we had 2 & 1/2 hours to take all these disparate pieces of work and put them into a coherent whole and to get them mounted on the wall.
Our next step was to look at the wall where things we're going to hang and look at 72 pieces we had and try to figure out some way to approach the wall as a canvas and use those 72 individual works of art as parts of a puzzle to make a coherent whole upon the wall.) Okay, as far as scale and anchoring, what I'd suggest, let's look at the two ends and think of combining on the ends so they'll have more weight. Okay, these ends are where it is going to hold this whole thing together.
So think just look at the graphic nature. At this end we want to be eye-catching and point this way, that end the only real concern is it has to point back this way, so suggestions? I think the old man should be on that end because he points that way, and he's really eye-catching. I think this one should be on that end because it's a really nice movement to take you back that way. (Konrad narrating: This is something similar to what you may do at homework where if you are putting a few pieces on the wall and want to arrange them artfully, you first think about which are the most important pieces. What piece is the centerpiece? Or if there's two pieces that you wan to feature, how do you use the other works to make those stand out more? And what we did after we got past the gross geometry, we started to talk about content, we started to talk about balancing color with black and white, how color can draw so much attention, and if you concentrate too much color in one area and have large areas of black and white, viewers interest will be a little confused.
In the center spaces we were mostly looking at trying to avoid focal point, where we didn't want to set up something where there were one or two really, really intense or really strong visual images that would sort of trap the viewer. Typically, really high contrast will draw someone's eye or very, very bright colors. So those high contrast and brightly colored pieces we tried to scatter evenly throughout the lengthy exhibit to help keep drawing the viewer through it both horizontally and through it moving up and down as well.) Yeah, I think we are good on where we are with large, let's go ahead and introduce some small. And now here I really what to start looking at--so we have got them separated by vertical and horizontal, let's lay them out over here, and I want them sorted vertical and horizontal and black and white and color, okay.
(Konrad narrating: Once we'd established the pattern with the large ones that we liked, then we went back through, and because of time constraints, remember, we had about 2 & 1/2 hours from start to finish. Then I went back and took the smaller prints and placed them strictly based on vertical or horizontal orientation. I paid no attention at all to the content. I just tried to fill out the framework we'd established with the large prints by placing the small ones in nice orientation so that rhythm that we'd started was completed with kind of counter-rhythms and little other bits of motion.
just by the gross shapes of the images.) Typically, what I work with in something like this, I try to think on gaps between the work, working with 2 inches is kind of our--what we hope for as a standard and then if that doesn't fit due to the shape of different works, we will stretch that, but always looking for some kind of a quality and balance. (Konrad narrating: We then divided the rectangle that we'd established into four sections, broke the students into four groups, and told them to take the tools that we have given them in laying out the large ones and reposition the small ones, never changing orientation but feeling free to alter their position based on content.
We also told the students that feel free to negotiate with members of the other groups for pieces that were located in other sections on the wall.) Can you switch one up? Yeah, that one with the color one. (Konrad narrating: One other thing, too, that I think is a trap that a lot of people fall into when they're having their work is being bound to symmetry. We see so many symmetrical things as we go through our lives that it's sometimes hard to break out of that box. And I find ofttimes that asymmetrical works much better, typically in most of the groupings of art I have in my home. If I have got a large wall space, I will typically try to work with an odd number of pieces with different sizes in order to create an asymmetric arrangement.
And the trick becomes how to find some sort of balance in an asymmetrical arrangement. And this is where before you hang anything, if you have a place where you can lay it out on the floor and just shift them around and look at them in different combinations. I think it's a great idea. Sometimes when I'm looking at a hanging space, if I have the time, it's wonderful to put things in a position and look at it for a day or two even before you make a decision on whether or not that's really the way you want to hang it. The other thing that's nice to know, too, is most hanging methods are reversible, and so if after a week or month you realize, well, I really got that wrong, it's not that hard to go back and undo it.) There we go! (Konrad narrating: So now we finally had all the work arranged in a rectangle on the floor, and our next step was to start to look at the rectangle mathematically and analyze how we're going to translate what was lying on the floor to a precisely- ordered exhibition that was affixed to the wall.)
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