Size of Your Photographs?

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Cypress Knees, Sloughs WMA

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MurrayMinchin

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I'm curious as to what size other people make their prints, and why.

My first show I printed while at school; they were all 8x10 and the experience was pretty much a blurr. My second show were all 11x14; while watching others look at my work I noticed they all stayed about the same distance from the photographs. This meant they were missing the really delicate details in the prints, and I also didn't like the look of a close-up next to a wide, open landscape when they were the same size.

My last show, I made my close-ups and small scenes on 5x7, middle distance stuff on 8x10, and any big landscapes on 11x14. This had the effect of pulling people in to look at the small prints where they would be close enough to see the delicate details in the bigger prints...people were constantly moving in and out as they moved around the gallery. A small close-up next to a big landscape also makes visual sense to me.

My final step in this evolution (I think!) is to make close-ups 5x7, small scenes 8x10, middle distance 11x14, and open landscapes 16x20. Does size matter to you?

Murray
 

mark

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It is not the size it is how you use what you got.....SOmeone had to say it.

I think the subject dictates the size. A 30x40 print of an intimate scene would just not work in my book. and some grand landscapes work best at 5x7.
 

jd callow

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When I shoot I often think "how will that look big?" I like large prints of graphic subjects (graphic being bold, dramatic, colourful), so my intent from the time I release the shutter is to print as large as I can. It is purely a taste thing.

The answer to your question is: My final prints are usually (or at least have grown to be) 20" on the short edge.
 

geraldatwork

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I got back into darkroom work about a year and a half ago. I have enlarged all of my work to 8X10 since then. I recently became a member of a co-op gallery and have noticed most of the members work is presented in 11X14 or larger. My stuff looks small compared to theirs. (Print envy). I mostly do street photography which lends itself to larger format well. So I am in the process of gearing up for the larger size.
 

colrehogan

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Since a lot of my work is contact prints, the negative size is what dictates the size of my prints. Otherwise, it depends on what I am having the print enlarged for and the size of the original negative to some degree.
 

George Losse

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Murry,

I too have been contact printing for the last 15 years. So my print size has been limited to the film size, mostly 8x10 and 8x20, some 11x14 and some 4x5 and recently some 5x7. Before I started contact printing, I like 11x14 for prints from 4x5 and 120 negatives.

Last spring I made some 16x20 prints from a few 8x10 negatives. Just as an experiment to see if I would like that look for my work. It didn't feel like my work.

Try printing some of your images at different sizes. Then look at them and see what size THEY want to be. It may sound strange but the prints will tell you what size they should be.

In the end, your the artist, you have to decide how you want your work to be seen.
 

roteague

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mrcallow said:
When I shoot I often think "how will that look big?"

Yes, the bigger the better.
 

eric

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Many years ago, my first trip to San Francisco, I went to a show at the LACMA. They were "forgotten" pictures by Ansel Adams. They were small, contact print size (from 120 or 3x4 film). I fell in love with the small image. I still like to print small. I usually like 5x7 on 8x10 and 8x8 on 11x14's. I *did* get a 16x20 Nova slot and one of these days, I'll start doing 16x20's. But I like the intimacy about smaller prints.
 

Lee Shively

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I'm currently printing everything on 11x14 paper with big white borders and a few on 8x10 paper with large borders. I'm not fond of huge photographs. Anything over 11x14 or 16x20 begins to look like wallpaper for a bank lobby to me.
 

Flotsam

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Last week I went see a local photography exhibit. There were a couple of nice pictures but most were just uninvolved images of whatever happened to be in front of the camera when the button was pushed. Not photographically interesting but I suppose the subject matter must have held some interest for the photographer at the time.

They were enlarged to 14 or 20 inches on the long edge and nicely matted and framed. As far as I could tell that was the only thing that transformed them from typical travel snapshots into fine art.
 
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I personally prefer small prints.

Most of my work is printed on 8x10 paper. (7x9 or 6x8 usually) I like to have some border.

While I have printed large prints before, I just like the intimacy of a small print. Something you can hold in your hands and have just for yourself.

joe
 
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I've been enlarging 35mm lately and using 5x7 often due to it fitting the 35mm format better for my work than the 8x10 I usually had used which sometimes was a bit too large for my taste.
 

TPPhotog

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Until recently I was only printing up to 8x10 but have now returned where I can to A4 when I print on RC. This allows me to print full frame 35mm when I wish and size the paper post printing without the picture being too small for my liking.
 

photomc

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This is a subject that comes around once and a while..I ask a like question with a poll, I think, soon after finding this site - :D What I found then was bigger is not always better..it did take a while. I printed some 16x20's and aside from the fact it takes a great deal of chemistry, and there is barely enough room for the trays in my sink - had to place a holding tray outside the sink...the prints did not grab me any more than the 11x14's did. Now since that time, have moved up to 5x7 and shoot more 4x5, but find that 8x10 and 11x14 fit very well with the work I do. Still prefer a 16x20 mat, but the smaller prints tend to pull you in and ask the viewer to look closer at the work - IMO.

YMMV..but print what looks good to you, try something big..but remember does it look good because it is, or does it just look big?
 

jovo

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For a long time I was more than happy with well made 8x10s when mounted in 16x20 mats that were veritcal and offered landscape or portrait openings. They looked very elegant that way on the wall...all hung at the same height. But then I moved on to 11x14's and make almost everything that way. I've recently bought a 16x20 easel to make some of those mostly because (like so many who move from 4x5 to 8x10 negatives) there's a strong attraction to the detail and 'presence' the larger photograph can, uniquely, have. However, I haven't made one yet so I don't actually know what I'll think when I do. One thing is certain....mounting the sucker is going to be a helluva lot more expensive than anything smaller.
 

roteague

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photomc said:
YMMV..but print what looks good to you, try something big..but remember does it look good because it is, or does it just look big?

I have seen prints where I think the photographer thought "it will be a good print if I make it bigger". Content matters.
 

rbarker

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To paraphrase the discussion about tonal range within a print, I'll print it any darned size I want, and who are they to say what size it should be! :wink:

Or, more seriously, I seldom print anything smaller than 8x10 or larger than 11x14. I have a few negatives that have been asking me to print them larger, but I've resisted, just to see if they are serious.
 

jd callow

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My negs tend to be shy and would be quite pleased never to see enlargement. I think its a matter of tough love to force them exposed and fully enlarged in to public view.
 

mark

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mrcallow said:
My negs tend to be shy and would be quite pleased never to see enlargement. I think its a matter of tough love to force them exposed and fully enlarged in to public view.

That almost sounds rude
 

SLNestler

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mark said:
It is not the size it is how you use what you got.....SOmeone had to say it.

I think the subject dictates the size. A 30x40 print of an intimate scene would just not work in my book. and some grand landscapes work best at 5x7.

I agree with Mark; at least in the photographic realm.
I find that some of my more expansive views look too "precious" when printed small, and that some intimate closeups would look gross it greatly enlarged.
At this point in my life, I print from 8X10 to 16X20. I believe the right image in 16X20 can still have intimacy.

Of course, here in Florida, the market leader prints everything 10 feet long, and when I have a show, there's always someone who wants to tell me about his "fabulous prints." Another one of the mysteries of life; like how someone who takes 3 hours to watch 60 Minutes gets to be the President.
 

jovo

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SLNestler said:
.
Of course, here in Florida, the market leader prints everything 10 feet long, and when I have a show, there's always someone who wants to tell me about his "fabulous prints." .

That's funny!! (whoever could that be?...wink!)


SLNestler said:
Another one of the mysteries of life; like how someone who takes 3 hours to watch 60 Minutes gets to be the President.

And that's even funnier!!
 
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