Installation advice? Photographs on glass...


TPF Noob!
May 4, 2010
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Relating to my most previous post, I have a show tomorrow that initially I decided I wanted to mount my photographs between two pieces of glass and backlit.

I know this isn't a strong archival method, it's just for the one-night show. I'll be offering matted prints for sale.

A few questions that I'm having trouble finding answers to. I find it hard to believe it's not been discussed before. ;)

1. Backlighting. For the effect, I purchased several hanging light sockets, so that each photograph would have a bulb behind the "transparent" (negative space) of the photograph. What type of bulb would you recommend? Just quickly browsing the hardware store but not really having a strong sense of wattage, I was considering the 25 -watt vanity bulbs. Because they're pretty and a little unusual looking. Other suggestions?

2. Glass. Like I said, the initial idea was sandwiching the photograph between two pieces of glass, which would then be hung on wire from the ceiling (floating photograph?). When discussing with my boyfriend a bit ago, who has no creative bone in his body, about cost of glass, suggested utilizing a stack of old windows that have been forgotten in our basement. GENIUS? I think so.

The photographs (really, photograms) are very whimsical images. A lot of my work deals with dolls, or unliving things, with their own lives. This project is a precursor to the "bookbinding" doll. Think The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer?

Any ideas on how to mount photographs onto a window so that it can be successfully backlit? I'm afraid of thinking about glues, since I don't want to compromise any transparent quality the paper may take on. I made them on both RC glossy (at 11x14) and on some really fantastic matte polywarmtone fiber paper (Forte Elegance!). I feel like the RC prints would mount better but would rather use the fiber ones, if that makes any difference in deciding on a mounting method.

ADVICE PLEASE! Thank you so much!


TPF Noob!
Mar 3, 2010
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Noosa, Australia
If your photograms have strong contrasts with some very dense blacks a backlighting scheme could work. Ordinary photographs on RC base or fibre base tend to look rather weak when backlit. The problem is the lack of silver in photographic paper compared to negative or positive film.

The silver in paper based photographs seen by reflected light gets two goes at blocking light, once on the way in and again on the way out after bouncing off the white substrate. This way photographs on paper offer respectable visual density with only half the amount of silver.

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