It is important to follow proper guidelines when dealing with fine art. Whether a piece of glass art, pottery, paintings or photographs the proper handling will result in a lifetime of enjoyment while improper handling will result in the deterioration or destruction of your art.
Fine Art Photography
What is a fine art photograph? Typically a photograph is considered fine art when time has been taken to meticulously provide the highest attention to each and every step of the creation process. This begins before the image is even made with planning, visualization, weather condition options, time of year considerations and possible multiple trips to an area just to see if what you have in mind can be done. This process continues with the original capture of the image. It continues further with processing (darkroom whether wet or digital), adjustments, personal interpretation all the way to the choice of final output. Be that electronic/digital display or physical/print display. Hours, days, months and indeed years have been spent by many photographers to create a single piece with the desired results and concepts the artists originally envisioned. Therefore the handling must also be part of this meticulous process of maintaining a piece for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Prints on Paper
As I have mentioned when describing the actual print, all prints on paper will have as part of them an unprinted white border. All prints should be handled in this unprinted area of the paper only. There are two purposes for this unprinted area. Primarily it is a place to handle the print. Secondly it aids in the matting process. A print must be handled in this area and by opposing corners. This eliminated any bending that would otherwise result in a crease on the printed surface. This becomes critical the larger the print is. It also eliminates fingerprints and the oils associated with the skin from touching the printed surface. It can also be recommended to only handle a fine art print while wearing clean cotton gloves. This, although somewhat impractical for most will guarantee handling that is free from any dirt or oils from the handling process.
I will briefly touch on the subject of matting and framing for your art, specifically prints on paper. I do not offer matted and or framed pieces but this is a critical component in the longevity of your art. This is a highly personal choice and best left up to each owner as to choosing from thousands of possibilities when it comes to matte and frame selections. I would highly recommend visiting your local frame shop and letting a professional help you to choose what fits your needs the best. Framing is a true art in itself and the results of a professional frame shop versus a do it yourself approach will be noticeable not only in the final appearance but in the longevity of the piece as well. Quality materials such as acid free mountboard and matboard are necessary to achieve maximum longevity of your artwork. This along with skilled craftsmanship will truly compliment your art. The cheaper one goes in mounting, matting and framing the cheaper their art will look and the shorter is will last. Custom matting and framing can get quite expensive so get to know your local frame shop, ask questions, look at their work and let them know your desires and restrictions. Do not underestimate the importance of proper matting and framing, it can make or break your final result.
Prints on Canvas
All prints on canvas whether loose or gallery wrap are given a clear, archival, protective finish. This is necessary especially for gallery wrap pieces since the front and all sides are printed surfaces. Loose (or rolled) canvas will be given an unprinted .5 inch border but when the framer goes to frame or gallery wrap the piece it must be handled on the printed surface. This protective finish guarantees the actual ink will not be compromised and ensure maximum longevity and display for your print. This protective finish also adds durability to the canvas print. Since canvas is a highly textured surface and subject to extreme flexibility the finish helps to ensure maximum protection to each piece.