Black and white photograph mounted on plexiglass. Note how the image floats 1/2" off the wall.
Photograph digitally printed on canvas and framed
The Beauty and Flexibility of Photography
by Amy Wessan
I have a friend who recently moved to a new space with her office. She thought she could offer our art consulting services to her boss but was concerned that original art work might be way out of her company’s budget. I explained that there are many lower cost alternatives available that can be very effective in a corporate space.
Lately we have been placing quite a bit of photography printed on different substrates in our client’s spaces. With the advent of digital printing, we can print images oversize (greater than 30”x 40”) going quite large. There is something very striking when you take subject matter, whether it be a leaf or a dewdrop and blow it up to 72 inches wide on the wall. I’ve found that printing it on canvas, and then stretching it like a painting gives it a certain amount of weight on the wall. The issue is finding photography that holds up in these large sizes. Most people snap photos with their camera phones and are perfectly happy looking at these images on their small computer screens.
However, when printing images oversize, the photograph must be taken with a camera that has the capability to allow it to be blown up without digitizing. We work with photographers who use very fine cameras that have special lenses which give the image the type of resolution that is needed. But if the lighting is slightly off, sometimes even those images do not work in the large size.
Besides printing photographs on canvas, we also print them on bamboo, aluminum and plexiglass. Each substrate gives the viewer a different texture and feeling. Many of our customers have spaces that are contemporary with silver hardware on the office doors and silver accents on dark wood cabinetry. We have floated photographs under plexiglass and then used silver grommets to secure them to the wall. The accent of silver adds a nice metallic accent to the piece and picks up the silver highlights in the room.
When printing an image on another substrate the negative space is filled with that substrate in the background so you have to be careful choosing the right image for the suitable substrate. For example, oversize floral images look terrific when printed on bamboo. The bamboo adds an organic feeling to the floral. These have been popular in our customers’ beach houses, particularly with water scenes. Snow scenes for ski houses look particularly frosty and cool printed on aluminum.
The substrate material has to be very carefully vetted as there are a wide variety of canvas textures for example, available on the market. Some are very toothy and textured. Others are smooth and hold the digital ink well. There is a wide difference in quality out there. The beauty of working with photographs printed on these different substrates, is that you have the flexibility of changing the size to scale to the wall. The customization opportunities are endless. So are the arrangements.