I learned a useful photographic term tonight – cockling. David H was giving a short presentation about how to display our photos to best advantage, whether for competitions, exhibitions or for the walls of your own home. Sometimes we have a series of photos, sharing a similar theme or telling a single story. In order to display these images, as a single panel, it’s worth following some simple tips. Usually, the mounts should all be a similar colour; the foot of the prints should be at a similar distance from the bottom edge of the mount; the mounts should all be finished similarly, with the same borders, etc; photos do not necessarily all need to be the same size (the middle one, for instance, might be more effective if it’s slightly larger); any faces should be looking inwards towards the middle photos. I think it’s also true that an odd number of photos generally works better than an even number. Of course, triptychs have a long pedigree in Western Art.
David revealed some of the secrets behind his impeccably mounted prints. He does his own printing on Hahnemühle photo paper. It’s pricey, but worth it. His images of the interior of the Natural History Museum were especially stunning on Canvas Metallic. He leaves the prints to rest for two days after they come out of the printer. When he mounts them he ensures that paper and mounts are both at the same humidity. This prevents cockling. That was a new photographic term, as far as I was concerned. I looked it up in the OED afterwards – dating back to the 16th-century, apparently it means ‘to bulge out in certain places so as to present an uneven surface; to wrinkle or crease; to become puckered’. And then to be absolutely sure, David backs the mount with another entire mount board. Cockling was exactly my problem at the last print competition, although I don’t think the judge necessarily noticed. I was disappointed that my carefully mounted prints had all rucked up. I’d put it down to some new framing tape I was using, but now I know exactly what I did wrong!
Earlier in the evening, Brian C, our new Chair, kicked off an informal, wide-ranging discussion, about how Photocraft might refresh and reinvigorate itself, five years or so after its previous reset. There was scope for reengaging with the local Wallington community, by, for instance, displaying some of our photos in local venues. This would be as much to do with celebrating the club and the high quality of its photographic output, as with marketing and promoting the club. In fact, we would only want to grow the club membership within reason, otherwise we might risk undermining the approachable, friendly, welcoming nature of Photocraft. We had toyed with the idea of putting on a full-scale photo exhibition, but came to the conclusion that this could involve too much cost, time and effort. Equally, it would be difficult to find a venue with sufficient footfall. So, we decided to try to do something on a smaller scale, in more places – crucially, something that works for our club. Our target audience will be people who have not yet thought about joining a camera group, who are unlikely to randomly stumble onto our excellent new website.
Graham S is on the lookout for extra ideas for club evenings in the new season. There has been some fishing for ideas from other clubs. Though we’re aware that we shouldn’t copy local clubs too closely, if we are to retain our distinctiveness! So, do send your ideas to Graham, whether they be tried and tested or brand new. Talking of inspiration from other camera groups, David H ended the evening by showing us one of his images that had succeeded in being ‘Print of the Year’ (or was it ‘Print of the Rear’ – let the reader understand) at Dorking. It’s good to get back to fundamentals sometimes!