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Framed or Unframed?

It used to be that when you bought photography you generally had two choices. “Would you like that framed, or unframed?” Unframed was generally matted and sold in a clear sleeve. The framing part was then completely up to the customer. While this still seems to be pretty much the standard, we can’t help but notice that additional presentation options are growing in popularity.

Most people have seen stretched canvas photo prints in galleries or available on online photo sites. You may be saying “yeah, yeah…canvas prints are old news by now.” And you’d be right, but they are still a great and popular option. Especially for customers who are looking for a large image. As once you have anything larger than a standard piece of mat board, framing becomes infinitely more difficult.

And what about wood, or metal?

A few years ago we started selling small photo prints adhered to fine-quality wood. Each one is made by hand, but thats not the point here. The point is people really like them. Its hard to pin down exactly what feature they respond to so well. Is it the clarity of the image, the novelty of a wooden block, the choice to hang on a wall or sit on a shelf, or is it because it needs no framing?

On the horizon is the rising popularity of metal prints. We’ve made some in-house prints on aluminum and they look pretty cool. But there are companies able to produce incredible prints on metal using a different process. (Trust us, its cool…we’ll be selling these soon.)

I guess at the end of this post we are left with curiosity. Is “framed or unframed” a question answered by practicality? Are you buying a photo in a gold frame because that’s what matches your existing art collection? Is it a choice influenced only by your taste?

. . . Or is it more philosophical, is the migration towards unframed pieces a response to modern technology implementing further change on a traditional art medium – much like the conversion to digital photography changed the landscape of expectations of what photography is?

We’d love to hear your feedback. What guides your choices when buying photography?