A frame

Above: Detail of a frame made by John Jones framers. Credit: John Jones.

Framing it

While Ruff predominantly works with images on a computer screen as digital files, he acknowledges that printing the image and hanging it on the wall is one of the most important steps in his creative process.--Martin Barnes (Senior Curator of Photographs at the V&A Museum).

Most people, over the age of 9, in the Developed West at least, take photographs. These they generally store as digital files on their phone or on a computer hard-drive.

The serious photographer is separated off from the run of most people by his or her acts of printing and framing. Billions take pictures, only a few thousand frame their pictures up (wedding-day and graduation-day photos exempt).

It is sometimes argued that the difference between the artistic ("serious") photographer and the ordinary phone-image-maker is critical process or critical thinking. And that is correct at the level of the philosophical. But at the level of the purely practical it is framing.

The process of going to the trouble of printing and framing is what defines the serious photographer these days. The framing is itself an index: to the white-walls of the art exhibition space--framing up the photo in a wooden frame it is one of the conventions of the public display of art photography for the physically-present viewer.

It's odd that it all comes down to the frame. That is it, just the frame, the wooden frame, which separates off the ordinary snapper from the earnest photographer. The only really weird point here is that in general photographers are indifferent to frames, they don't love frames. Their relationship is often predicated around cost: so expensive for something so boring and only needed, never wanted.

(6 January 2019)