and framing a photograph has a tremendous effect on the image. It
reinforces the visual impact that was always there--but subdued.
Mount even a casual snapshot and it takes on a vitality that grabs
your attention. A good photograph is worth the effort and doing
it yourself is fun and a lot less costly than having it done by
a framing store--especially if it gets to be a habit.
Mounting and framing
does not have to be difficult or time consuming. I guess it takes
no more than 20 minutes to accomplish it. And while a mounting press
does the best job adhesives work well, also. And you don't have
to spend hours in your woodworking shop constructing frames.
You can find really good
ones at your local art supply store or in mail order catalogs. And
while I like ready-made wood frames there are systems that allow
you to construct them to fit you needs-from panorama to standard
proportions. You choose the bits and pieces you need and bolt them
together with the supplied hardware. It takes about 10 minutes to
make a frame in any size you choose. They are usually made of lightweight
metals and come in a variety of colors. My own choice is black since
I usually mount my images on white board. Black and white photographs
should be mounted on buffered board and non-buffered board is usually
used for color. Prices range according to quality, weight (number
of ply), and size. Light Impressions advises a two-ply back and
four-ply front. The heavier board provides better separation from
glass fronts (if you use glass). When you start mounting your prints
you'll work out a system that is best for you.
What size matte should
I use? Usually a matte that's one size up from the print seems to
work best-11x14 for an 8x10 print, for example.
Matte cutters start at
slightly under a hundred dollars and go as high as a thousand or
more. Most of them do a good job. What you pay for is the cutter's
ability to handle the matte size you plan to use. Also the larger
units allow greater flexibility in making window cuts.
You can cut matte windows
by hand. Manual cutters are okay for two-ply boards but four ply
can be a bit difficult. You can adjust a manual cutter for a straight
or beveled cut. But there's no doubt that a regular matte cutter
is more efficient and much more accurate. There are also matte cutters
that create circular windows that are great for snapshots. You may
want one that makes a beveled cut window since they look better
than straight cuts. A straight cutter is great for cutting large
mattes down to the size you want.
Do you have to mount
on matte boards? I've mounted photographs on old barn siding, for
example. It's fun to experiment but I would stick with adhesive
mounting for odd size material rather than a mounting press. Will
adhesives eventually damage a print? Make sure that the adhesive
is formulated for photography. Cold mounting presses using sheets
of an adhesive material do a good, safe job and are slightly less
expensive than a hot mounting press. Reading various catalogs from
distributors and manufacturers will provide insights into alternate
mounting systems. For example, Light Impressions (PO Box 22708,
Rochester, NY 14603) and Porter's Camera Store (Box 628, Cedar Falls,
IA 50613) have interesting catalogs that contain considerable mounting
information. Check Shutterbug advertisers like B&H and Adorama.
Your local art supply dealer is a good place to find mounting material
and frames. Any frame you buy should have room for backing as well
as glass. Non glare glass cuts down on visibility somewhat but regular
glass is less expensive. A piece of 16x20 glass can cost as little
as $3 or $4.
Mounting is actually
a two-stage operation-mounting the photograph on the board and then
making a cutout window. The window protects the photograph from
direct contact with a glass front and also provides a border that
makes the image look terrific.