It's a topic that comes up from time to time for a photographer. "Presentation." How do I 'intend' my photos to be seen?
Online in electronic form? A private showing? Hanging in a gallery? Entered in competition?
It's no secret that how an image is presented affects how the viewer's eyes see the image. Recently I had a discussion with another couple photographers about matting and framing, etc. Personally, I like to leave framing choice (etc.) up to the client because it's to go in their own home or as a gift for someone else and we all know frames are great to GIVE an image to someone in because it helps protect the image at least until they decide on a display option of their own choice.
Then you have mounting and laminating. Off-the-shelf mattes vs. custom-cut mattes. Which colours? What to accent? Ready-to-hang or ready-to frame? So for most of my online/electronic images I choose to simply let the image speak for itself.
For those that know me, you'll know my feelings on competition entries and the like. There's a local competition which allows people to enter images matted or non-matted but must be mounted. My personal feelings on this are: it can give advantage to --or harm-- entrants fairly easily. Some people get their prints retail-or-custom-made and mounted and matted. Some D.I.Y. people make their own mattes and do their own mounting and I've seen some images that end up suffering in presentation (AND competition!) because the mattes aren't supportive colour or are hand-cut and are may not be exact or are simply glued onto a backing with liquid glue that ends up wrinkling the photo. Or taped on with scotch tape. Or 'the sticky tack' blue stuff.
I'd much rather see a universal format or say no matting to make it more about the images at hand and not the presentation because some people don't care about presentation or aren't as well-versed or experienced in it and, frankly, that can hurt their chances. I heard a judge comment once "it's a nice picture but the matte colour kept it out of the short list".
So today as I looked back at this old image from September and thought "it's and okay shot, what happens if I play with some matting on it?" I was at a restaurant last night and saw some framed prints hanging on the wall and said "let's pretend this was hanging somewhere in a gallery or showing, how would I do it?"
I presented two options to a friend and she said 'no contest...option B...makes it not even look like the same image'.
So the lesson is: when you DO choose to present something - even in electronic form - will your presentation format help your image?