With just over three weeks until the opening of our next exhibit, “Offerings to the Gods of Light and Shadow: Selections from the John Running Collection,” we felt it might be apropos to give folks a chance to see a little bit behind the scenes. The month before an exhibit opening is usually a frenetic, fast-paced time in our department. Many of our staff are on lock-down, focusing exclusively on preparing aspects of both our physical and complementary virtual exhibits. By this point, printing, framing and matting supplies have been ordered and piles are being formed for freshly-printed photographs requiring intricate matting, while complementary text panels and scans of journal pages await mounting (either on foamcore or matboard).
Some things require more extensive editing. Our upcoming physical exhibit will feature–for the first time–a large printed timeline in lieu of a text-heavy biography of John Running. This timeline will be approximately 80 inches wide and 22 inches tall. Our printer can handle images of this size, but we don’t want to have to print more than one or two at most, so heavy editing after the first will ensure the second (and hopefully final) will be perfect. You will note the many annotations and sticky notes that were quickly affixed to our first draft below.
Another new feature to this exhibit will be different types of printer paper. While photographs and the timeline will be printed using our regular glossy photo paper, associated digitized journal pages will be printed on a matte paper. This will hopefully help the journals achieve a more authentic ‘paper’ look when presented next to John Running’s beautiful photography.
To adhere our text panels and digitized journal pages to their supports (either foamcore or matboard), we must first cut a piece of foamcore or matboard that matches the size of the item being mounted. A similar-sized piece of dry-mount paper is also cut to size that will act as the adhesive between the image on photo paper and the physical support. All of these pieces are then placed into the department’s dry-mount press at a temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-5 minutes.
When everything has properly adhered and allowed to cool off under pressure, it is time to trim the items and create clean corners on the foamcore or matboard. Using a precise set of cutting tools, text panels and photographs are trimmed to exact measurements.
Our wall-mounted images require unique matting for each image. SCA staff will carefully evaluate each image to ensure that any matting applied to the printed photographs will not cut off any portion of the image. Aside from large-framed images, smaller images generally do not require any sort of dry-mounting. An attractive, smooth display for visitors is achieved when pressure is placed against the glass surface using the frame’s (hidden) metal brackets and braces.
The countdown is on! We’re looking forward to making our next exhibit a thoughtful symbiosis between John Running’s photography and his thought process underpinning the images he’s made. The hard work that SCA does to prepare this narrative is a big endeavor, but one that we feel we’re prepared for – having demonstrated success with it for over twenty years.