My new mat cutter, Wikipedia, and what you might be missing out on.

Golden framed

Ok, it’s a crummy photo.  You would think, being a photographer, I would be able to do better than this, right?  Bro, do you even focus?  Ideally, I would have had set up some decent lights, or taken this during the day. But, in my defense, I’m more excited about sharing than actually putting this shot into any portfolio.

12×18 print, matted and framed in an 18×24 frame.  Bitchin’.

Here’s the thing; I bought a proper mat cutter.  I mean, Proper.  32 inch cutting capacity, fixed guiderail, can cut up to a 4 1/2 inch border.  OMG.  See, I’m so excited about it that it’s making me write like a tweet from a 13 year old girl.  WTF?

I love cutting mats and framing pics.  If you have read my bio you know I come from a drawing and painting background.  I used to build my own stretcher frames, buy canvas by the roll and stretch and prime my own canvases.  I swear, I came to love that process more than than painting itself.  And, in a way, I feel that way about matting and framing photographs.

Matting a photograph is actually very important.  From Wikipedia: “One of the most important functions is that it separates the glass from the art or document being framed; this is primarily important because any condensation that develops on the inside of the glass can be transferred to the piece if they are not separated, resulting in water damage, mold or mildew. Photos should also be separated from the glass because the surface of photographs is particularly easy to damage.”  So, there’s that.

It also makes it look cool.  It separates the picture from it’s surroundings, makes it stand out.

I’m excited about this picture for two reasons.  First, it has a mat with totally straight cuts.  For the life of me, I couldn’t get a cut straight from my old mat cutter.  It was horrible.  This?  Sweet, straight cuts.  And the blade went through the mat like buttah.

Second, at 12×18, this is the largest print I’ve ever ordered.  I know that’s not much for many people, but its a pretty big milestone for me.

The Box Office 05.07.10 03This is from May, 2010, at The Box Office Gallery, smack dab in the Arts District, downtown Las Vegas.  I had the privilege to show my work there over several months in the spring and summer of that year.  It was such a revelation to see my art set up and displayed in real life.

The prints there are smaller, 8×10’s mostly.  At the time I had only been shooting with my Canon Powershot A1000 point and shoot camera.  Still, I’m very impressed with what I was able to achieve with what I had.  And I had several people compliment me, especially after we talked about my equipment.  Or, lack thereof.  Once, when I said that I should have been using a “better” camera, this guy looked me straight in the eye and said, “A sharp tool does not a craftsman make.”  Truth.  I have never forgotten that.

But, now, I’ve got the opportunity to print bigger, and with my new, proper mat cutter, I’ve got the opportunity to show better.  God in Heaven, I love that cutter.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the photographs themselves.  Hopefully those have improved as well.

Listen up: if you are not printing your photographs, regardless of size, you don’t know what you are missing.  If all you are doing is merely sharing your work on facebook, instagram, flickr, or whatever, and not producing it here in the real world, you are cheating yourself.  And all the others who could also experience your work.

There are very few feelings as great as holding your own art in your own hands.  It is magic.

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