Musings on Photography


Posted in materials, process, whimsy by Paul Butzi on February 18, 2008

I spent this morning framing up two prints to go off to the Poncho Art Auction. It was a comedy of errors, in sort of a Keystone Kops sort of way.

The first moment of desperation came when I realized that I had no 22″x28″ plexi on hand. I resorted to my usual tactic – running around the house gazing at all the framed work the right size, and picking two victims to be unframed so that I could use the plexi glazing. Then came the scrabbling around under the studio stairs, looking for two 22×28 frames. No, we don’t want to use the ones we scavenged the plexi from, thanks, I’m trying to hang on to those.

Then came cutting new mats. For the first time in I can’t remember, I managed to waste a sheet of mat board by making a new mistake. Usually I just repeat one of my old mistakes, so this was a bit out of the ordinary. This time, I managed to ruin a sheet with the very first cut, by leaving the old center scrap under the new sheet of mat board, so that the new sheet buckled in a funny way and the cut was all wavy. Extra time wasted while I invented a new word and used it repeatedly. It’s not a nice word.

Once the mats were cut, one of the prints steadfastly refused to lay flat. I don’t know how a sheet of paper cut from the middle of a 50 foot roll and then flattened in a deroller can be anything other than planar. This print had this weird wave in one edge. A repeat visit to the deroller eliminated the wave.

I’ve given up on using the plastic corner thingies. They’re just too frustrating. Since these prints are going away and never coming back, I mounted the prints using T hinges made from tyvek tape. Much faster and simpler than those damn corners, I think.

After all that, actually shepherding the prints into the frames and buttoning everything up was simple. The only remaining hitch was that when I went to the old Windows machine to print labels for the back of the prints (the label printer is still attached to that machine) I discovered that the keyboard was dead. It’s a wireless keyboard, and eventually I figured out the batteries were dead. So I popped open the battery compartment, and was greeted by an alkaline battery that was oozing white stuff. Battery gore, I guess. After I cleaned out the compartment and put in new batteries, the keyboard worked again, and a few minutes later those labels were on the prints. Sheesh.

I always think I have this process all figured out. Somehow it always seems to evade my preparations. At least I didn’t draw blood this time.

4 Responses

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  1. My Camera World said, on February 19, 2008 at 7:04 am

    I understand only too well your day.

    When I aqm doing framing and making mats there are days when all goes smoothly and then for some reason, maybe my head space, there seems to be dumb errors that creep in.

    One time I was in a hurry (that part of the problem not relaxed enough) I forgot to place the cutting amt on the table and after my first cut I realized that I had cut into the dining-room table. Big Ouch.

    But there is something special when I finally get to see the image fully framed and hanging.

    Niels Henriksen

  2. Billie said, on February 19, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I hear/read your pain. Everytime I go to enter a competition, mat and send prints… takes 2Xs as long as I anticipated. So frustrating that I always swear that is the last time I’m going to do it.

  3. Frank Armstrong said, on February 19, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Sounds like good ol’ SNEFU….


  4. ryan fritz said, on April 10, 2008 at 7:13 am

    What a refreshing post knowing that other (professionals) make the same old mistakes I do-and continuously.

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