B&W Photography question: Which would you hang on the wall, and why?

I had a discussion recently about size of images. I tend to go for larger than average prints of my work. Either 11x14, or 16x20. I had a client ask me to print one of my photographs in a 3 foot square, or 4 foot square size. ( If I could get 50" paper, he wanted 4 foot square. )

OTOH, I have seen lovely prints that are very small in peoples homes. They are very sharp and have a certain allure. You tend to stop and peer at them to get all of the details in a way - at least to me - that you wouldn’t if walking by a 16x20 print.

So, here’s the query. I am putting this here because it’s a Cafe Society topic but it is a poll of sorts with qualifiers and if the Mods feel it belongs in IMHO, please move it.

Take a look at This image. Which would you hang, a small 6 inch square or a 3 foot square? The image is native in a square format, hence the sizes.

Why? Are there some you’d go for in a huge way but other kinds of shots that require a more sublte presentation?

Yes, I am the photographer. :slight_smile: This is the image the client wanted in a 3 or 4 foot square print.


I tend to work smaller, because most of my stuff is obsessed with details and texture. Your piece is not; it’s about explosive movement and big pointy things. I say go big. It would also be interesting small, but it’d have more impact large format, I say.

I am by no means a photography expert, but if I were to have that on my wall, I think it would look nicer in a small, 6" format. I think that since there is just tghe on thing in the picture, and it coverse most of the picture, thatin a large format it would be too distracting.

But that’s just my opinion.

With that picture I’d go large rather than small, if the sharpness and clarity remain in the enlarging. That said, three or four foot square seems really huge. We don’t really have a space that would accomodate such a large piece of art. So While I think the image would be great large. I wouldn’t consider such a large piece for our home.

I don’t know if I would go four feet but I would want one larger than 6 inches.

Large, for the reasons lissener stated. It’s a beautiful picture, I love it, but it’s definitely dramatic and I tend to think it would be served better by the bigger presentation. It would really catch the eye. Smaller, and to me it would just be too domestic and crabbed.

I can’t really say on a general level what I’d prefer to have a big print of and what I’d rather see small, except that I pretty much don’t like large portrait photography. Too ostentatious. I think I’d have to judge on a composition by composition basis, and I’m really no experienced judge of photography.

I agree with lissener: there’s just not enough there of interest for a small photo. On a very large wall, this would be just fine in the larger format.

I’m probably a Philistine at heart, but I would really make this decision based on the wall and the room. Is this an area where you really could comfortably come up and take a closer look if it is small? Or enough room to take a step back to view it if it is large? Is it going to be an appropriate size for the wall area where it will hang? Are there other photographs and prints on the walls, or will this be the sole item that draws your eye?

delph, those are things to take into consideration about where to hang a piece; they should have no bearing at all on how to create it.

I’m gonna lean with Delph here, lissener. I do my own printing. I asked the OP because I can easily print EITHER.

I wanted to know what people found most logical, or more appealing, or whatever. So, taking into account size of wall, available space and so on is legitimate. Most prints are found as is, but some photographers will indeed strike a print for a client on demand and to spec.

I would not crop it for anyone. I chose cropping. It’s a square negative. Having said that, I can do it any size a client would wish.

Oh, I disagree. I might be misunderstanding the OP, but I thought this was a commission. If you are creating something for a very specific space, it’s only prudent to learn about the space before making the artwork. You don’t want to show up with a 4’ x 4’ print only to realize that the wall where it is intended to go is 3.5’ wide. Or, if you are making a small print, to realize that the client desires to hang it overlooking the grand staircase, where people will never be able to get close enough to see the detail. I think that’s that nature of commissioned artwork, and has been through the ages.

YMMV. When I do things on commission, I retain 100% creative control.

It looks like a rectangle, not a square. So, is this the crop you are sticking with?

My personal perference is for small prints, but that’s just me. I print small and I like the look of a small print matted and framed in a medium-large frame.

I’m also a photographer, and I would definitely say for that image go big. I don’t think that image would read as well in a 6x6 in print. As long as the tonal range is excellent (it’s hard to tell on my CRT) and you’ve got a nice neg to work with, go big.

Yeah, huh? Would it be cropped square, so all you would have is spikes and you’d lose the ground on the edges? That would make a difference.

I love the idea of printing this large, but it all depends on where it is going to be displayed, I think. And the frame/matting.

God, I would love to have a huge living room, with a giant hearth, to display that pic over. Nice shot.

If you’re looking for the personal preference of a middle-aged woman who’s had no formal artistic training but has a good eye, I say big. :stuck_out_tongue:

Wonderful photo

I’d hang the larger size. I’d go for the 4x4 in the right setting. Smaller and you miss the texture of the leaf. Those plants are huge and deserve to be depicted in all their glory. The 6"x6" would probaly elicit comments about “the cute little aloe.” How large was the plant, by the way?

Dang. The negative IS square. How I wound up with a rectangular image on my web site is something I need to look at in the next few days. I cannot access a scanner till tomorrow, I’m at the studio today and in the darkroom tonight. Oddly enough, I am printing very small prints of some works, to be put into a presentation book for a client of my gallery’s. So, that image will wind up being 5 inches square tonight. ( talk about yer details ).

lissener, I mean no offense at all with that post before, ok? If I chose to present prints in a gallery, then you buy the print. If someone sees a print of mine, and wishes to commission me to print another one of it - but alter the print size- that’s their choice. I retain the rights not to chop up the image I have created, but if they want a huge 4 foot square, that’s fine and dandy by me. ( Assuming the negative will hold up. I have prints that barely are acceptable at 16x20, so I’d decline the commission if someone wanted 48x 60 ).

I completely respect the terms of your commissions. If you retain total control over content as well as presented size, more power to ya. I chose to relinquish the size choice to the client. Different strokes. :slight_smile: