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Thread: What is your maximum print size?

  1. #1

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    What is your maximum print size?

    I am finding that the "great contempory photographers" who hang in museums and galleries are making large prints on the order of 50x60 inches. I persently shoot in color neg for the most part and have standardized on a 30x40 print. Is this unusual? Aside from the cost of the print, I am concentrating on the image, is there more power or appeal in a large print? Who on this forum prints large? And why?

  2. #2

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    What is your maximum print size?

    I don't care for really big prints. The largest I have gone is 16X20 and that was for someone else. In my personal gallery I standardize on 11X14. I have done 11X11 from MF and didn't like the quality. That is why I shoot 4X5 now.

    Note: I don't print from 4X5 myself. I have it done at a lab.

  3. #3

    What is your maximum print size?

    i think that galleries and curators are responsible mostly (the same people who decide who the "great contempory photographers" are) as it may be easier to call something "art" if it is about three meters wide, of coures not all photographs look good this big, but it doesn't really seem to matter. in the states many collectable photographers seem to make larger editions and smaller sizes, but here in spain the galleries want BIG prints in an edition of say two or three.

    in my experience to make these big prints you need to do it digitally, which changes thing a bit too it terms of the "appeal" that you are asking about, but i think it really depends on the image as to if it stands up to such an enlargement.

    another question could be if you take the same image by one of your "great contempory photographers" and look at is in all its three meter by two meter glory, would it be any good at say 30 x 40cm? or what?

    adriantyler.net

  4. #4

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    What is your maximum print size?

    I think Adrian is right. It's a fad because it's a relative novelty. Digital has made it more feasible for more people to make huge prints than was the case with a traditional darkroom where you needed two people to handle the wet paper, chemicals in large vats rather than trays, and a darkroom the size of Bill Gates' living room. Hang around long enough and tiny prints will be in fashion. There are some outstanding huge prints that wouldn't be as effective if printed smaller, but in many cases it's just something that art dealers have latched onto to justify high prices and big commissions.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5

    What is your maximum print size?

    It has economic reasons too. Galleries find it easier to find 12 commercial clients for the big prints than 60 private buyers

  6. #6

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    What is your maximum print size?

    Although I occasionally print 16x20, and once in 10 years do a 20x24, in general I print 11x14. I just saw a show of Margaret Bourke-White at the Ringling Museum, and all of her prints at 11x14 were large enough for public viewing on those big walls.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    What is your maximum print size?

    I'm not too worried about any gallery owner's preconceived notions of print size. I'm much more interested in matching the print size to the subject. I've made some large prints (I've got a nice one, 80cm x 100cm of a large water fall over a huge rock face hanging in my front hall) and some small prints (30cm x 36cm) of flowers. Both sizes fit the subjects.

    Personally, I find huge prints of small flowers as frustrating as small prints of large subjects. My advice (and YMMV of course) therfore is to print at a size that satisfies you, the artist. Each image has a range of sizes to which it is best suited. Part of the job of the artist is to determine this range of sizes, and to limit the image to that range of sizes.

    One of my rare color works is a photograph of some Carolina Jasime I took this time last year. I won't print it any larger than 50cm tall. That restriction may have cost me a sale, but I sleep just fine at night ;-)

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8

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    What is your maximum print size?

    I have standardized on 11"x14". I have printed (via a pro lab) as large as 20"x24", mainly out of curiosity, and it helped me decide on my standard size.

    As an aesthetic consideration, IMHO perception changes when an image is larger than life. To me it just seems falsely aggrandizing; looks like a poster, or even a billboard. Others may have different reactions, but I bet they still undergo a qualitative change once the image is larger than life.

  9. #9

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    What is your maximum print size?

    Speaking of falsely aggrandizing, I like when a photographer contact prints 4X5 or 5X7 and mats to 16X20.

  10. #10
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    What is your maximum print size?

    For the work that I do (color landscape), I find that the larger prints just look better. You see more detail and the print surrounds you more if you are close enough to reinforce the feeling of "being there". Often, a large print matches the scale of the subject better in the case of vast landscapes, like mentioned by Hogarth. I used to standardize at 20x30, but over the last year, I've sold quite a few 30x45, and now the 20x30 just look a bit small to me.

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