View Full Version : Do you sequence your prints?

Aaron Ng
7-Jan-2002, 23:44
Hi again,

Do you sequence your prints when showing or exhibiting? Why do you do it? Isn't a photograph supposed to stand on it's own however they are placed? How does a s equenced body of work affect the viewers? Do you do it to gain an extra mile in approval rating for your work? Thanks.


Stephen Vaughan
8-Jan-2002, 08:48
For me, a body of work would remain incomplete without sequencing. One would hope that individual images work alone. However, a sequence of images can convey a great deal more. The balance and interaction of pictures in combination receives as much consideration as the rest of the process of my picture-making. Many of the associations and links between photographs may be personal to me and probably cannot be read literally by the viewer - but it is a question of being deliberate about what one is saying through the work. Hopefully, the viewer may then also sense (perhaps subconsciously) that a deliberate 'balance' or narrative thread underlines and emphasises the individual works. thanks and good wishes.

Enrique Vila
8-Jan-2002, 09:13
Whether we like it or not, people on an exhibit will look at your images in sequence, and this sequence will affect the viewer.

Order is important to maintain the interest in your images troughout the hole sequence.

In general, you should start with a very good picture (but not the best) to catch peoples attention, then you should oscilate so the sequence doesn't get monotone. Finally, finish the exhibit with the best image, so people will get a good "aftertaste"...

Hope this help...

Joe Lipka
8-Jan-2002, 09:30
My current way of working involves creation of a portfolio of multiple photographs. When exhibited they are hung in a specific sequence. The best analogy I can use to describe this is that each photograph is a word. The words must be set in a certain sequence so that they communicate the central thought of the portfolio. When they are shown together, the viewer is presented with the complete well-structured thought rather than randomly placed words. I don't sequence the photographs to get approval; I sequence the photographs to complete a visual thought. This process may or may not work for you. Right now, it's working for me.

tim atherton
8-Jan-2002, 12:40
Photographs, by their very nature, are nearly always shown in sequence, in realtion to other photographs. In fact it is more rare for a photograph to be shown in isolation - i.e have a whole wall to itself in an empty room.

Otherwisem whether in a book, a magazine layout, an exhibition, portfolio showing, they are always in a sequence. And of course, as soon as you do this, it changes the photograph. Put photo a next to photo b and it changes the meaning of both. add photo c, and it chnges the whole thing again. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

tim a

Walter Glover
8-Jan-2002, 17:39

I maintain that sequencing is essential the moment there is more than one photograph.

I would also suggest that the photographer should critically study the ralationships of the photographs with one and otherand even vary the print sizes or orientations (portrait/landscape) to have the collection form a cohesive, harmonious whole.

If the photographs are to be hung as an exhibit I think the photographer should get a feel for the space and arrange the photographs to make advantageous exploitation of the design features and layout of the exhibition space. (What image to place opposite the point of entry or on structural column, for instance.)

Working with proofs, or thumbnails, variations can be tried to determine the most effective - either alone or in collaboration with the Curator.


Jim Galli
8-Jan-2002, 17:54
Theses are great answers. Very professional and experienced. Just curious Aaron, what's really on your mind? Does it seem dis-honest to you to arrange critically? If you hang them right side up, you may as well go the rest of the mile and arrange them for the best critical advantage. Or not? Now folks that have a dialogue next to the photo that's bigger than the photo........

Aaron Ng
8-Jan-2002, 21:42
Don't know, Jim. Consider this a learning phase for me. Aaron

bob moulton
9-Jan-2002, 19:22
Aaron, The previous answers cover the field excellently. I suggest you look at the portfolios of Ansel Adams. They are sequenced, the portfolios are small, and you get a good idea about the ways one can sequence images. Another work to examine is Michael A. Smith's Visual Journey, his retrospective work. The sequence in either work make sone aware of the challenge, fun, and power, in not special order, of sequencing strong by themselves images. Bob

R. McDonald
10-Jan-2002, 01:42
Because, I know how important this is to me when I visit an exhibit. And because, I know how poorly I sequence my prints. I have taken several quick classes on exhibiting and displaying prints. At one of those classes it was suggested that you spend as much time as posible with a set of loose prints, put them on the floor, the wall, the table, and do this for several days then put them "in"sequence and if time allows, put them away for a while and then do it again. It helps a lot. I remember him saying that at the museum where he was working, they would send several copies home with different people and that it was amazing that most people agreed on the final sequence. But for now I continue to ask a friend and she always sets me straight. She describes it as the same problem as the Dog that ate the Cat that ate the Bird that ate the Mouse that ate the...... If any of these are out of order, it's just another story, that most people will not understand. She then goes on to add that there are times when it makes for one heck of a story if the Mouse ate the Dog.

Aaron Ng
11-Jan-2002, 06:42
Thanks again for all your generous contributions. They'll be useful I'm sure. Aaron

John Elder
12-Jan-2002, 01:55
Dear Aaron, For my last 2 solo shows I asked a friend of mine, a world class painter, to help me hang the show. First i arrange the photograghs, thens he lays out the exhibit. Both times the painter's lay out of the show was far superior to my own. I bring a certain "prejudice" to the show to put certain photos together for subjective perhaps non- artistic reasons which turn out inferior to my painter friend's eye. Anyway a second talented eye from a non-photographer has greatly helped my shows. John Elder