352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Final Triptych

As you may have seen, throughout the development of my FMP I have experimented with a wide range of presentation options (please see the blog post “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Presentation Options Experiment”). Once I had completed this experimentation, I then decided on the use of a triptych (that incorporated a collected object, a landscape photograph, and a piece of accompanying text) because it created an engaging and immersive piece that provided the viewer with enough information to gain a contextualized understanding behind both the projects concept and methodology, thus increasing their accessibility.

During the reflection of this decision, I also decided on the style of frames that I wanted (wooden frames with a white mount that were all the same size), and suggested that the next stage of my development (apart from writing the pieces of accompanying text which can be found in the blog post entitled “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Text Experiment” and “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Drafts of my Accompanying Text”) was to conduct some primary research regarding how to mount an object within the frame (by talking to our technician Jon Legge), whilst also finding a frame shop that can create custom frames to my specific requirements.

This blog post has therefore been created in order to evidence the process of finalizing my final triptych presentation, and includes aspects like Photoshop mock-ups, object mounting, frames, sizing, paper types, the aesthetics of the accompanying text, and titles.

 


 

Photoshop Mock-Ups:

 

As briefly evidenced in the “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Presentation Options Experiment” blog post, after deciding on my final display, I decided to make some Photoshop mock-ups of my choice, in order to gain an understanding as to what they would look like with each of the different locations in an exhibition setting.

Foe these mock-ups I obviously chose my favourite photo from the landscapes I wanted to depict (for more information, please see “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Choosing and Editing the Final Photographs”). However, as for the accompanying object, as it was obviously a digital montage, I had to use a still-life image of the object that I wanted to use to represent the particular location (which was chosen based on it’s interesting aesthetics as well as any symbolism that the object provided in association to it’s form, shape and type in order to represent or enhance different aspects of the chosen landscape). Also, as for the accompanying text, when I created these particular mock-ups, I still hadn’t completed the final textual pieces and so, similar to the presentation option experiment, I decided to simply use the same sample text that I found online.

As for the frames, as I had decided on the use of a wooden frame and a white mount, I simply created digital versions of this idea, in order to see how they would work with the chosen pieces.

Please note, these Photoshop mock-ups are not created to the correct ration of the sizing that I want to use (which has been described in more detail below).

 


 

Object Mounting (Primary Research with John Legge):

As suggested above, after I had selected the final presentation option, I also decided to conduct some primary research into how to mount the physical objects in a box frame by talking to our technician Jon Legge. During this discussion, Jon provided me with a diagram (which has been included below) suggesting that I would obviously need to have a box frame, that was wide enough for the object, that included mount board at the back. I would then have to find either some clear fishwire or some cotton that was the same colour as the object and I would use this to wrap around the object and tie it together through the back of the mount board. However, Jon also suggested that this particular idea isn’t suitable for heavier items like slate (that would be used for the “Haystacks” triptych), and so for objects like this, he suggested that I could either use a strong adhesive like a glue gun, or I could use heavy duty Velcro on the back of the object and on the mount board.

Mounting an Object

 


 

Frames:

After conducting this primary research into how to mount the objects within a frame, the next stage for the creation of my final piece was to find a framing company that would be able to make custom frames for my specific needs.

After conducting some brief research, I soon found a company called Friswells Picture Gallery Ltd that are based in Coventry, and thought that their location would provide me with the best opportunity to discuss with them exactly what I want whilst also easily contacting them if I needed to make any changes further down the manufacturing process. After going in to talk to the owners of the business, I soon found that they were able to make my frames to the specifications I desired by ordering in the appropriate material and making them to the dimensions that I needed.

Now, when I was in there discussing my ideas with them, they provided me with information and advice surrounding the sizing of the pieces (found below) as well as the frames aesthetics. After talking to the guys, they then showed me a number of frames with different wood affects and colours that could be used for the creation of my unique pieces.

After looking at the different options they had to offer, although I was initially looking for an oak frame with a white mount, I actually ended up choosing an oak frame that was slightly lighter than frames I created in the Photoshop mock-ups. However, when looking at the colour of this wood next to a test print of my final photograph (the “Buttermere” image – reasoning’s behind this decision have been discussed in more detail in the “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Final Exhibition Piece” post), as well as the object that I will be using, I soon realized that the soft colour of the wooden frame complimented both the image and the object by enhancing the natural softness and beauty captured within the photo, whilst also resonating with the natural environment represented by the image and the object. As for the mount, they also suggested that instead of going for a pure white, that I should choose an off white colour called “Lime White”. This is because pure whites are usually used as a “statement” colour within the artistic industry, and, as I am essentially trying to represent the landscape within the choice of frames that I choose, they suggested that I should use a more natural, creamy colour that also compliments the photograph, the object and the frames.

Moving on to the more technical aspects of the frames, they then said that they were able to mount the object for me using a similar method to what Jon suggested above. However, when they were discussing this option, I soon found that the aesthetics of this technique would turn out different to what I had imagined and, instead of simply placing the object within a window mount, they would use something called “spacers” that places the window mount next to the glass, creating a deep square that the object is placed into. They also discussed how they would mount both the photo and the text in comparison to the object and suggested that, instead of placing it at the back of the frame (like I thought), they had to place it close to the glass so that it doesn’t bow over time.

Now, although this means that I will essentially be having the same size frames (discussed below), within one of the frames I will have a deep box that holds the object, and in the other two frames, the pieces (the photo and the text) will be held close to the glass. According to my previsualisation skills, this inconsistency may therefore mean that I have an imbalance within my piece, but after talking to the framing people about all of the possible options that we could use for my specific requirements, from their years of experience they suggested that this would be the best option. I am therefore going to trust their decision and will hope that my final piece looks both balanced and professional after it’s creation.

 


 

Sizing:

As for the sizing of the pieces, as suggested in the presentation option experiment (please see “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Presentation Options Experiment”), I originally thought that I wanted the landscape photo to be approximately 60x50cm, and the object and text to be roughly half that size.

Please note, I am using the sizing of the landscape image as the priority piece within the triptych (as it is the largest and slightly more important aspect), and will therefore select the dimension of both the object and the text based on the size of the photo (please remember, however, that I want these two aspects to be approximately half the size of the photo, as suggested throughout the presentation option experiment).

However, whilst experimenting with these particular sizes, taking into account the size of the frame that would be required, I therefore decided to reduce the size of the landscape photo to approximately 50x40cm. After deciding on these particular dimensions, I then needed to find a printing place that would print to my specifications and came across the company DS Colour Labs which could print images to 20×16” (approximately 50.8×40.24cm) – please note, tests on different paper types that they offered can be found below.

After receiving these finalized photograph dimension, I then had to try and pinpoint the sizing of the object and text window mount apertures. Now, although I said I wanted them to be approximately half the size of the photograph, after looking at the object that I wanted to use for the piece, I soon found that it wouldn’t fit in a aperture of these dimensions. I therefore decided to measure the size of the object, and created measurements that would fit the piece that had the same dimensional ratio as the landscape photograph (in order to keep a slight consistency throughout the triptych). The measurement that I came up with for both the object and the text (as I want these to be the same) was therefore a window mount apperture that was 13.5×10.8” (or 34.29×27.43cm).

Once I had decided on these dimension, I then ran them by the owners of the framing company and they suggested that they would be able to work with them but that, in relation to the mounts, I would need to take into account that the apertures wouldn’t be dead central (and in fact a couple of mm off) due to an illusion where the windows appear lower than they actually are when placed centrally (there will therefore be a slightly wider mount on the bottom edge of the frame).

Below you will therefore be able to see Photoshop mock-ups of the frames and mounts that I have ordered in relation to their sizing.

Frame Diagram (Blog)

 


 

Paper Types:

As suggested above, once I had pinpointed the dimension in which I could print my landscape photograph, I then decided to order samples of them (along with the final text, discussed below), from the DS Colour Labs company, on different papers in order to allow me to choose the one that I thought was more professional and aesthetically pleasing, whilst also seeing whether the texture could be used to represent any concepts or themes within my FMP.

Lustre:

 

Museum:

 

Smooth Art Silk:

 

FB Gold Silk:

 

Please note, although the photographs included above do not clearly distinguish the differences between the papers, I decided to incorporate them in order to provide visual evidence as to the completion of this experiment.

As you can see from the images I included above, I tested my landscape photograph (and the text) on four different papers: “Lustre”, “Museum”, “Smooth Art Silk”, and “FB Gold Silk”. After looking through the samples that I received, I found that I personally preferred the “Lustre” paper. This is because, when looking at the other papers, although they varied slightly in both gloss and texture (for example, the “Museum” was matte and textured, the “Smooth Art Silk” was slightly glossy and textured, and the “FB Gold Silk” was glossy and slightly less textured), I found that each of these papers decreased the vibrancy of the image, which greatly affected it’s colours so that it looked like it had been deliberately desaturated in post-production (which it hadn’t). This desaturation therefore significantly altered the beauty and atmosphere associated with the photograph by decreasing the intensity of the colours and the contrast, thus flattening the landscape depicted and the depth represented in the image. However, when I looked at the “Lustre” paper (which was both slightly glossy and slightly textured), I soon found that this combination, along with the absorbance of the paper, had captured both the colour vibrancy and the contrast of the image that I sent off to be printed. This therefore meant that the aesthetic quality of the image remained similar to what I was expecting, in terms of the colouration and the perspective depth of the landscape depicted, thus eliciting the previsualised atmosphere I wanted to capture from this documented location. As suggested above, this paper also has a slight textured surface, which, in relation to the printed image, can be used to enhance the texture of the landscape, thus increasing the photographs realistic representation in order to create a slightly more immersive image. However, as this paper has a slightly glossy surface, I couldn’t help but worry about whether the reflection created from the exhibition lights would distract from the image itself. With this being said, I then decided to lift up the print to see whether the glossiness was as noticeable in the hanging position, and soon realized that hanging it vertically greatly decreased the obviousness of the gloss.

Once I had decided on the paper that I wanted to use for the landscape photograph (“Lustre”), I then looked through the paper samples in relation to the text. Wanting to use the same paper that I had selected for the photo, in order to enhance the pieces consistency and aesthetic relationship, I then focused on whether the slight texture and gloss of the paper affected the readability of the writing. Finding that neither of these aspects affected the aesthetics of the text, I therefore decided to use the “Lustre” paper on this particular section of the triptych as well.

 


 

Text:

The next aspect that I considered in relation to the final triptych idea, was how I would be presenting my accompanying text, in terms of sizing, font and it’s aligned display.

Starting with the sizing of the text, this doesn’t actually refer to the sizing of the font (which can be found below), but instead refers to the size of the text box in relation to the window mount measurements. As suggested above, because I was having a window mount aperture of 13.5×10.8” (or 34.29×27.43cm), I needed to take into account the fact that I didn’t want the text to line up with the edges of the mount. To ensure that this didn’t happen, I therefore went into Photoshop and created a document that was the same size as the aperture before creating a text box that was smaller than the size of the document but that still held the same ratio. As you can see from the scans that I included above, I then experimented with a slightly larger text box and a slightly smaller one in order to provide more or less negative space between the text and the edge of the mount. After conducting this experiment (and receiving these two different sized text boxes on the paper samples, discussed above), I personally preferred that of the slightly smaller text. This is because I felt that the larger text was a lot more distracting as it appeared to be in competition with the landscape photograph, forcing the viewers attention towards the reading of this piece. I therefore thought that the smaller text size would work better as an accompanying aspect (rather than a piece that was in competition), as it created a balance within the final triptych, enhancing the preferred reading of the piece.

After deciding on this particular text box size, I will therefore try and ensure that the object within the triptych (which will have the same sized aperture as the text) will contain a similar amount of negative space between the piece and the mount in order to enhance the balance of the triptych.

As you can see from the photographs included above, the next aspect that I experimented with was the style of font that I wanted to use for my text. For this experiment, I simply scrolled through the fonts that Photoshop had to offer before narrowing down my selection to three individual fonts that I thought were more aesthetically pleasing and fitted in with the concept of my project: “Avenir Next”, “Book Antiqua”, and “Cochin”.

However, once I had narrowed it down to this selection, after having a closer look at these fonts, I found that I personally preferred Book Antiqua. This is because, when discussing the option of having handwritten text (please see the blog post 352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Presentation Options Experiment”), I stated that I wanted to spend time choosing the appropriate font and size to symbolize the personal aspect of the project, whilst also enhancing it’s professionalism. As you can see, due to the fact that this piece of text is typed obviously enhances the professionalism of the piece, but in relation to the fonts aesthetics, the “tails” of the text can be used to represent different aspects associated with my project. For example, these “tails” often show a slightly old-fashioned theme and can not only be used to enhance the fact that this particular project is dedicated to my Grandpa (through the fact that most of the text he would have experienced would have used these old-fashioned “tails”), but it could also be used to enhance the documentarian, topographic and “survey-like” methodology that I underwent throughout the creation of the project (through it’s reference to possibly old, geographical journals). However, as you can see, this font is very similar to the “Cochin” font, but on closer inspection, I found that it is actually a slightly more informal, “tailed” font (in comparison to the Cochin font), which could also be used to briefly suggest the more personal aspect of the project (although this is clearly seen through the texts contents and my artist statement).

After choosing this particular font for the reasons suggested above, I then spent time experimenting with the aesthetics of it (including the size, density, and alignment), in order to create an easy-read piece whilst also referencing some of my projects concepts. Starting with the size and the density, the size tended to depend on which text box it was in (if it was in the large text box it would be slightly larger and vice versa) but this, along with the slightly bolder density of the “regular” font were carefully considered in order to create an easily readable piece whilst also not distracting the viewers attention away from the other aspects within the triptych.

As for the alignment of the text, however, as you will be able to see from the screenshots included above, I experimented with five different formats: central, aligned left, aligned right, justified, and central justified. After looking at each of these alignments, I soon realized that I preferred the central layout (that wasn’t justified). This is because, when looking at this particular alignment, I personally thought that the non-justification provided an enhanced representation of a personal aspect within the text (through the fact that it was not perfectly aligned to the edges and could therefore represent that of an almost “handwritten” layout), whilst still remaining professional in it’s typed-up nature. I also thought, that the central alignment could be used to represent the pathway captured within the landscape photograph (by almost mirroring the “middle-of-the-road” compositional aesthetic used within the image), whilst the texts “zigzagged” edges could be used to reference some of the “random” nature aspects that could be found within the depicted landscape, thus enhancing the texts relationship between both the image and the object.

 


 

Titles:

Once I had completed the finalization of each of the previous aspects, I then decided to look at the Photoshop mock-ups (included above), whilst also taking into account the new information I had gained regarding the presentation of my final piece, in order to come up with a title for the collection and the individual pieces.

With regards to the collection’s title, although I tried experimenting with a variety of different options (including “A Pathway to the Past”, “A Walk with my Grandpa”, “Following in your Footsteps”, etc.), as suggested in the “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Text Experiment” blog post, when experimenting with the “Simple and Descriptive (Technical)” experiment (influenced by the work of Hamish Fulton and Richard Long), I thought that the title I came up with for this piece (“Walked, Rewalked, Remembered”) could be used as an overall title. This is because it successfully incorporates all of the information I need to suggest within the title (the basic methodology and principle of the project), whilst also engaging the viewer’s interest through the quick snappiness of the language. After revisiting this title, I also thought that use of simple, singular words created a rhythm that could be used to represent the pitter-patter of footsteps, thus further enhancing the projects concept and methodology. In addition to this, the use of the past tense, as well as the inclusion of words such as “remembered”, has created a title that references both the past and the personal, which can be used to represent some of the key concepts explored within my project. I have therefore decided to use this title for my overall collection.

Now, in relation to the titles for each of the individual pieces, I have simply decided to name them depending on the location that is photographed (for example, “Buttermere”, “Haystacks”, “Loughrigg Tarn”, “Surprise View”, and “The Langdales”). This is because these titles obviously make reference to the landscape depicted in the photograph, and therefore the locations in which my memories were triggered (which is a very important aspect of the projects concept), whilst also enhancing the personal and emotional attachment I have with the project through their creative and poetic names (rather than more simple, documentary names).

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