[alt-photo] Re: bottom-weighting mats

Tomas Sobota tom at sobota.net
Wed Nov 30 17:49:22 GMT 2011

I used to bottom-weight vertical images and center horizontal images. For
no reason except because I saw photographs displayed that way. However then
I noticed that paintings 1. are not matted and 2. usually reach to the
inner border of the frame. So, I wondered why photographs have to be matted
at all. I can understand it in the case of the small print formats that
were in vogue some decades ago, because matting gave them more physical
presence. But today everybody tends to print large, so why mat at all? I
sometimes mat and sometimes use other forms of presentation. When I mat I
leave equal width borders all around.


On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 6:22 PM, Diana Bloomfield <
dhbloomfield at bellsouth.net> wrote:

> That's interesting.  I saw some work recently, where the images were
> really wonderful-- both the image content and the printing-- but I was so
> mesmerized by the weird matting choice -- where there seemed to be no rhyme
> or reason to the matting size/borders (and I know it wasn't a money issue
> as the person went to a professional framer to have it done)-- that I found
> it difficult to concentrate on anything else.   I was surprised that a
> professional framer would suggest something like that, and that this person
> would have agreed to it.  The framer probably mentioned the word
> "contemporary," so this person jumped all over that.  I have no clue, but
> they did a real disservice to this photographer's image presentation.
> On Nov 30, 2011, at 12:07 PM, Jack Brubaker wrote:
>  A second thought on matting is that some artists and photographers want
>> their work to seem so new that it is almost uncomfortable to the viewer.
>> To
>> them it is important to not appear to be following conventions of the
>> past.
>> They are less likely to bottom weight. Some of us want the observer to be
>> welcomed into the image and feel comfortable taking a moment to let it
>> sink
>> in. Since I want to sell my work I go to what ever (within reason) makes
>> the viewer comfortable. At the present I still think that is a generous
>> mat
>> with bottom weight.
>> Jack
>> On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:57 AM, Jack Brubaker <jack at jackbrubaker.com
>> >wrote:
>>  The fashion is just that. There was a push during the arts and crafts era
>>> to have massive bottom weight. So much so that a landscape format image
>>> would go in a vertical format frame. There was a long period of rejecting
>>> the arts and crafts style and its matting preferences. It became "modern"
>>> to use even matting. Now it is up in the air. Arts and crafts seems to
>>> touch on everything these days but I am sure there are some who react
>>> against it. We are all on our own!
>>> Jack
>>> On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:31 AM, Diana Bloomfield <
>>> dhbloomfield at bellsouth.net> wrote:
>>>  I typically bottom-weight my mats, with the top and sides the same, and
>>>> bottom-weighted typically anywhere from 3-5 inches more than top and
>>>> sides-- though I suspect that's a lot more than what some framers would
>>>> suggest. There is some rule that suggests that if you bottom-weight no
>>>> more
>>>> than about 10%, it's not really noticeable-- but offers a more
>>>> aesthetically pleasing look, which-- at first glance-- no one would be
>>>> able
>>>> to say why.
>>>> If I have a square image, though, I often center it and have equal space
>>>> all the way around.  But I mostly prefer bottom-weighted mats.
>>>>  Something
>>>> about that seems much more satisfying to me.  I think it depends on the
>>>> image, too, and how much mat you want to have around it.
>>>> I recently judged a local photography show, and I was surprised at how
>>>> stingy people are with their mat size and borders, and how elaborate
>>>> they
>>>> get with their frame choices. I think a mat should be generous enough to
>>>> set off an image, and the frame shouldn't be the first thing you see.
>>>>  But
>>>> that's a whole other issue.
>>>> I  honestly don't know why these things go out of fashion, or who makes
>>>> that decision, but I'm guessing it's all about the bottom line ($$$).
>>>> Diana
>>>> On Nov 30, 2011, at 11:07 AM, Christina Anderson wrote:
>>>> How many of you bottom weight your mats and if so by how much? I have
>>>>> been told that contemporary work has abandoned that practice, but uses
>>>>> mats
>>>>> of equal size all the way around. Short of bringing a tape measure
>>>>> with me
>>>>> to galleries, input on both sides of this issue much appreciated.
>>>>> Christina Z. Anderson
>>>>> christinaZanderson.com
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