Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mats Matter

You may or may not recall from some time ago that I display a few photos at Sue's hairdresser's. Although that's my primary purpose — just to show them — they are also for sale. While not many people go to a hair salon to purchase photos, I do sell prints time to time.

I also change the display periodically. From December on into the beginning of March, I had displayed winter scenes, but it being time for a change, I decided to display flower photos for the next few months.

With 5 photos already framed and matted, I had wall space for one more, and I had a 18x12 frame on hand, which I wanted to use. But there was a problem. My sheets are 19x13. Now one could just trim the paper down if the printed image were 18x12 because there would be a definite edge to cut along.

But I didn't want to do that. I like to leave a border between the image and the frame, like a mat even though it is just a white border.

So then, how could I print, let's say something like a 15x10 image on a 19x13 sheet and then accurately trim a half inch off on all sides to keep the image centered correctly?

The solution was to make a faux mat as it were. I could make the mat exactly 18x12, which would give great lines for accurate trimming. I even applied a canvas finish to the mat to make it look a bit more genuine.

Here is the result. Although I actually framed this image for hanging, rather that take a picture of the picture, this frame is as fake as the mat — just done in Photoshop.

I was pleased enough with the outcome that I purchased two more 18x12 frames and experimented with more faux mats. But how to do the mats; I mean what colour? One tries to pick up a complementary colour from the image, but what colour?

So, here is a trillium matted with two different colours. People that I ask seem to favour the pink mat over the green by a 2-1 ratio. But I see a problem. First, I will show you the two versions and let you form you own opinions before I reveal what I perceive.

Note: if you click on the first image, it will pop up on a new screen, and you will eliminate distractions. From there you can click on the next one.

I like the pink as a colour, and agree with one observer who said that it gives more life to the photo. But in the end I think I must choose green, and maybe you see why.

When you view a photo, your eye is drawn to the brightest part, and when I look at the pink photo, I actually find it difficult to focus on the flower. But when I look at the green version, my eye goes right to the trillium without being pulled away.

Here is another attempt at faux matting with lady slipper blooms. I am left with the same visual result: my eye seems to focus better on the image with the duller mat, even though, once again, I prefer the brighter colour on its own.

What sayest thou?

Edit: I have since redone matted the lady slipper photo like the green trillium photo: same green with an identical small white trim.


Shammickite said...

Personally I like a white mat, perhaps with a coloured edge. But I'm thinking of artwork, rather then photographs.

Marie Smith said...

I agree with you in both cases. I would never have chosen the pink because it matches the flower. The flower is highlighted with the green.

Joanne Noragon said...

You got it right. There may be rules for all this. My chief rule is No Pink.

Mage said...

Yes, the green...and a bit of white there doesn't hurt. NO to the pink. UGH. A traditional mat would be black or grey. The green is delightful.

Tabor said...

I do not have any art training but think the mat should always be duller or darker or something the eye is not drawn to. I will write again that I wish we lived next door as I think I could learn much from our discussions of photo art.

Kay said...

I like the trillium with the green mat, but the lady slipper appeals more to me with the bottom mat. The green mat seems to make everything a bit too green. And no the pink does not appeal in this case. To me, anyway.

Mara said...

I agree with you. With the pink border, your eye has to do too much to focus on the flower itself. With the green, it is just drawn in to the flower.

Jenn Jilks said...

Very cool! What fun to actually sell them!
I agree, the matting is a tricky thing.
I wrote a piece on framing, once upon a time, from a more phillisophical viewpoint!

Norma said...

So many wonderful photos and paintings are spoiled with poor mats.