Week-19-Project Development

This week all the floating frames came in. I ordered 12  (13×16) floating frames for my exhibition . These will easily house the 11×14 inch prints I am printing with a 2 inch float space from the edge of the print to the frame edge.

The frames came with regular glass, and the reflections are not acceptable, so I went down to an art supply/ glass supplier that sells museum grade glass. Museum glass and acrylic is by far the best and decided to buy three sheets of museum glass 30×40 inches, with a reflection of about 1 percent. The glass is so good it is almost invisible, and well worth the expense. The acrylic is even more expensive, however for glass the size of 13×16, I am not worried about glass breaking.

While at the glass supply house, I met a professional framer, and asked if he cut glass to size. He invited me to his atelier and cut the glass.  While there he asked some advice on a photograph he was having a problem with and needed a good reprint. I gave him the names of a few people I work with and they would help resolve the situation.

I asked him what is the best way to float my images, and in return he gave me almost 30 minutes of his time, and showed me various ways to mount images and to float them from the back board. It was quite the education from materials, to tape, to various methods, of achieving the floating image.

Hadas Picture Framers,Van Nuys California. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Hadas instructing me on the use of adhesive release. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly
Placing and cutting the spacer. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly



“Exiting The Forrest”  Diptych 2(40×30) inch panels. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

I was very happy that I ran into him at the glass supplier, I could have figured it out to some degree myself, however when a professional who has been doing it for over thirty years gives his inside information that freely, is truly amazing. He has mounted and framed images of very famous artists for some of the biggest gallery exhibitions. I am having one of my big exhibition prints mounted by him it’s 40×60 inches and one needs a lot of skill and material skills to mount an image that size without bubbles or problems. I will have it mounted to Gator Foam, 1/2 inch thick, it is very firm and will hang the image as a diptych 2(40×30) inch panels. I decided on the diptych because it is easier to transport than a 40x60inch image.  I made this image myself in the large print workshop I attended during this module, and did it specifically to print this image for my exhibition. So now it is being mounted and will be shown at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden and Gallery on November the 14th. This is the image I hand printed, and will be shown as the diptych (below.)  I will pick up the print that is being mounted next week.


This week has again been a very heavy dark-room week. I have printed about half of my images for the exhibit. Everything is falling into place, the prints are being archival washed and fixed, i.e. no residual hypo in the paper after the wash, and fixed twice, short enough to fix completely, not long enough for the fixer to damage the  image (over fixing)

I am so glad to be able to make my own prints, and finally able to print images on the level of any pro out there, in terms of rich black, bright white highlights, spotless negatives, beautiful midtones. Ansel would be proud. I guess he was right all along. Full control of his images, in his own darkroom, no negatives floating around with any Tom, Dick and Harry to print at their leisure. I am glad I have finally mastered black and white printing both small and large scale prints. The MA is just helped me fine tune a craft I have been working on for quite a while.


16 images for printing. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly©

This is my print grid. It serves two purposes, I can see immediately which images need printing, I can also decide which ones to loose, as there are 16 images here and I will cut down to 12 or 13 images. I have decided to print two of the series a larger size than 11×14. They will be printed to 16×20, so I have to order two more  frames and buy some more museum glass.


My own mounting and framing:

Floating The Image. Photo by Pierre Chemaly ©
Image in the floating frame:  ” Passing by the Garden of Eden” Photo by Pierre Chemaly ©

I am very glad that I decided to mount my own images, and this has been a major project. Even this part of the image making process is a career of its own. Hadas has been framing for over 30 years. But being a control freak, I like the fact that I can do my own. I can easily handle images up to 20×30 inches.  On the right, I have mounted the image to the spacer, this preserves the fibre base paper curl that I now absolutely love. So the size of the backing spacer has to be played with, If it is too big, the curl; become excessive, Here the wave ratio is one trough: two crests and two troughs: three crests.  A VLF (very low frequency) If I change the size of the spacer it changes the frequency, and can double and triple the wave form. A too high wave frequency eliminates the calming slow wave curl. If I had this done by a framer, they would not have taken this into consideration.


Above is the image in the frame. Here again, I could play with a white backboard and a black. I finally decided on the black. The image really seems to be floating in a void. The contrast between the black background the the white border of the print makes it pop forward, an old Hans Hofmann and Mark Rothko technique (push/pull) used to make certain color recede and others advance, except I am using tones. Black to recede into infinity and white to thrust forward into the face of the viewer. This is similar to the full moon suspended and simultaneously floating towards you in the darkness of space and night.

Some of my images call for a bit of added color and this is one of them. the title is: “Passing by the garden of Eden”  The big white spot (at one o’ clock)  is going to be painted a tinted red on one side progressing into a shade of red at the opposite. To symbolize the apple, and the change of state of mind, which Eve ate. The title suggests that certain temptations, especially in the artistic life, are best passed by.

The next big test is the signing of the image, I have been experimenting for quite a while, using ink, pencil, paint, grahite and anything that could leave a mark. and have finally found a technique I like, that gives a very nice looking signature.  I ruined many prints testing this. Old Ansel used to sign in pencil along the matte, off the print, I will be signing the print itself.


Image and price list submission:

I have submitted my list of prints to Dr. Robby at the Hollywood Sculpture Garden together with the press release. He said he got it and will go over all the information with his assistant and will get back with me with feedback.  I listed each image in the show with its size, medium, and asking price framed and unframed. The curator helped me figure what a good price for the images are, and gave me access to his “secret formula” he uses. It was very interesting, because he gave me a step by step approach and it made sense. Funny thing is it is quite the opposite of everything I have been taught so far about pricing, such as not including material costs of the work for example.

I came up with a price for the images, bigger ones more than the smaller ones, and a framed vs non framed price, as some clients may want to frame their own way, this gives them the option.


Went Downtown LA and Hollywood to stock up on more Ilford fibre paper.  11×14 and 16×20. I will complete my printing by the end of next week. Then spend the rest of time framing the works. I am planning to be completely ready, all works printed and framed by the 5 to the 7th of next month. Giving me a week to relax  for the exhibit on the 14th.



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