swirling part iii

“The whole issue of this seems to revolve around accomodating the mat, as you can easily use a shipping tube otherwise. What is the reasoning behind your decision to offer a matted print anyway (i.e. appearance, etc.)? Just curious.”  by Greg

And this is how it happened:

In the darkroom days, when a print was still wet (after washing) and I would hold it up and look at it – it just looked great.  Then it would dry down, get a bit crinkled, and lose some of the shine that it had while it was wet.  It would get flattened, and then placed into a nice bevel cut mat.  At that point I would say, ah, it’s beginning to regain that beauty it had when it was wet.  And then, when it was framed, under glass, it would come back for me, all the way and maybe it was just as beautiful as when I was first looking at it wet.

So I had this idea about presentation in my head, that had to do with wanting to present the prints matted; as they looked well under the mat and were, so to speak, clothed.  I even tried selling frames prints in the very beginning but that was a long and troubled story involving broken glass and crazy working hours for next to nothing.

But that’s the origin of the mat, the idea of presenting the print in as finished a state as possible.

Now there are other benefits, you get my signature on the mat – though that could be replaced by just having the signature and date on the print and the person does a “floating” mat.

So you ask a wonderful “outside the box” question – whether I should sell them matted at all.  Without the mat, my business becomes much easier.  Now, I am going to do a bit of a survey, and look at sales; and try and determine whether the mat is necessary or not.  Off the bat, I can tell you that only about half the sales are for matted prints.  And some people write to ask for an explanation of what a mat is.  (More often than you’d think).  So it is something to really consider.

* * *

You know – I think I have the answer.  Once I run out of mats at the 20 x 24 size – stop offering to mat that size.  It’s really only that size that is the pain.  Everything else I am prepared for and can do quickly.  Yes – right now – that makes sense to me.  A lot of sense.  Let me see if it makes sense tomorrow.

* * *

You know what – I’m going to remove the matted prints, either tonight or tomorrow – and see what happens to the business.  It will make life much simpler for me.  It’s a good time to do it I think since I’ve gone through tons of mats this last month, and I’m going to have to order more soon if business keeps up the way it’s been going (I actually got three orders today) and these aren’t for Christmas anymore.  I’m also going to offer one larger rectangle print and change the prices around a bit.  Let’s see what happens.  If sales plummet, or there are a lot of requests for mats, I may say something like, mats available by special order or something.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

2 thoughts on “swirling part iii”

  1. Sounds like you’ve given this considerable thought. If I acted as some kind of catalyst that ultimately helps streamline your workflow, I’m grateful for the opportunity.

  2. Greg. Yes – you have helped me quite a bit. I see more choices in this than I had before. Possibilities:
    – Only the limited edition prints get matted (this is fine because I’ve got a good process down for the 16 x 20 matboards. Also, makes them a bit more special.
    – Nothing gets matted.
    – Mat sizes up to 16 x 20.

    I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do, but I am going to chuck out the 20 x 24 matting option.


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