First Show: Finding Frames

As I’ve said before, this is my first show, so I’m scrambling to get things together. I don’t know how “professionals” do it – do they have a stockpile of beautiful framed photographs to hang at a moment’s notice? If so, good for them. That’s not how I work. I have photographs hanging on my walls, and yup – they’ll be going in my show! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I previously posted about how I picked photos for my show. I ordered small prints of every shot I was remotely considering, laid them out, pictured them in various sizes, hanging together, and narrowed it down. I have a lot of Polaroids in my show also, but of course I had those on hand to scatter into the mix. 

Here’s where I might have done things backwards – I started looking for frames. Instead of dreaming big and ordering enlargements of my photos, I went on the hunt for frames. I don’t have a huge budget for this show. This is all me, and I’m determined to use my photography earnings on photography expenses (minus a small start-up cost from savings).

I’m very lucky that I have generous parents who always seem to have exactly what I need. My mom has been minimizing and clearing out a lot of her belongings, and that includes a huge frame collection that she never got around to hanging. Almost all of my frames came from that stash. Frames I didn’t know I needed were in that stash. I had been thinking typical matted 8x10s, 11x14s, maybe one 16×20 or larger to take center stage. Instead, I found square frames, oval frames, frames for three or four photos all together – typically for snapshots, but once I took out the mats, my imagination went wild and I laid out some Polaroids in creative ways.

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I hit up a thrift store to fill in some gaps; I still wanted some standard 11x14s. I found some great frames at the store, too, getting everything I needed for $33. Can’t beat that for framing costs. It means I have to put in some time cleaning glass, buffing frames, spray painting some that look a little rough. And maybe I should focus more on frames – getting some brand new, high quality frames so my work looks more professional. 

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But also… that’s not me. I’m not all polished and put together. I like being thrifty and making do with what I have and what I can find. I want my art to showcase that. It might make people give me the side-eye, thinking “Why’s she using these random frames that don’t match?” But who said an exhibit has to look the same across the board? It’s more fun to cobble it together, to let the picture pick the frame, to let my personality come through in the framing just as much as it does through the photography.

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