Recently at a Portland Photographers Forum we had Terry Thompson speaking and sharing his work. Terry's background includes an art education at the legendary School of Visual Arts in New York City, working with artists as diverse as Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Vido Acconci, Gary Winogrand, and Tad Yamashiro. Terry was a close friend to Imogen Cunningham.
During the lecture, Terry stated something that hit me as interesting and my memory kick in to another photographer I had met. Terry had said that he preferred to display his prints in an dark or even gray matt board. His reasons were that "White board creates a Backlight effect and takes away from the print." But, he said that museums and galleries only want white or off white boards because that is what is traditional and handed down from graphic arts. The other reason for White is that offers buyers a chance to change the window mat for their homes.
The other photographer I had met who said almost the same was Don Worth. I had seen a show of his in Palo Alto. His Black and white images were displayed in white but all is color work was matted in an 18% gray.
I took this information and looked into my photoshop program. As I'm sure you know you can change the working space from white to gray to black. I rotated one of my images and did see what both Terry and Don were aiming at.
As a color photographer, I'm thinking maybe I should start mounting images in Gray.
What do you think? Am I off my rocker or what?
I'm going to post this on several sites and cast a boarder net or thoughts
I've been struggling with the same problems in my exhibits. Initially, I went with white, but found that it "took over" the photo. I tried just a black standard matte, but that was too much, too heavy, and made it hard to see where the image started. After seeing an Ansel Adams exhibit in Edinburgh, I picked up the trick of having a small empty space (1-2cm) between the image and the matte. With a fairly narrow black matte (<25 % of image width), I rather like the effect. Makes the photo stand out without dominating.