“You Should Frame That!” (How many photographs can a wall handle?)

Black-Eyed Susans grow on a meadow atop a bluff in Minnesota.

I used to make enlargements of my favorite photographs with the intent of eventually framing them and subsequently putting them in an honored place on the wall. As the years went on, some photos would see a frame, others were simply kept in a file folder, and some languished on the computer. Unfortunately, as the walls started to get smaller and the file folders filled, claustrophobia began to set in. There was a battle for wall space and I soon realized this was a battle I could not win.

Occasionally, I would show friends a photograph and hear the inevitable comment, “Oh, you should frame that!” Well, I’m here to tell you, “Been there, done that.” I like a great many of my photographs. Even some of the ones buried deep in a back-up hard drive found somewhere in a basement closet. The simple truth is you can’t display them all. You can’t even display all the photographs that you truly think are good. As a photographer, you make decisions every day on ranking your work. Some are great. Some are mundane. And on a rare few, you say to yourself, “Wow, that is spectacular!”

A Cardinal Sits Perched On A Tree Branch

So, the question I pose today is: “What do you do with your best work?” My back-up hard drives overflow with photographs. I tend to keep everything – the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Hidden among them are some hidden gems. Do they deserve better than their banishment to my neglected megabytes of photographic storage?

What are other options? The following are ideas I have mulled over in the past as options for dealing with excessive photographs. Some of these could possibly work their way into a future “to do” list. I am hesitant to start projects like these because I would rather be behind the camera looking for the next great photograph. But, for a matter of discussion, I offer the following list and to use an earlier phrase, my suggestions include the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

1.Electronic Frames. These devices have been around for a while but have never really caught on. Personally, I grow bored waiting for the pictures to cycle through, but I do have friends that keep one of the devices on the counter running 24 hours a day. To each their own – but I think I’ll pass.

2.Photo books – These are widely available from a variety of sources and are much cheaper than at any time in the past. Prices have moderated and they make great gifts. I own several of them and I enjoy perusing them for “old times sake.” I like the concept, but I still have family members who bemoan the demise of the good, old, family photo album.

3.Scrapbooking. I will tell you off the top, this one is not for me. My wife dabbles in this form of creative presentation, but I have yet to become a convert. I still remember a time when scrapbooks were for vacation memorabilia or assorted news clippings that made no sense to anyone.

4.Computer Screen Savers. It’s not like this is a novel suggestion but, I have seen some wonderful work floating around on computer screens. Since almost everyone owns a computer, it makes for a convenient photo showcase.

5.Greeting cards – Thank you cards. I find this an intriguing possibility. I have not participated in this trend, but it seems to be a “thing.” Curate your archives and pair them with some nice verses. Who knows? The next successful “cottage industry” might be born in your home office.

A Blue Jay Sits On A Snowy Tree Branch

Never dismiss your “holy grail” photos as unframeable or unworthy of your wall. I have always kept my number of frameable photographs to a minimum but there are certain photos that demand a cherished spot. That sunset that made your eyes pop on your honeymoon. Your lake getaway that looks almost too perfect in print. There are some photographs that just need to be framed. But, heed my word of warning – wall space is a finite commodity.

Until next time. Stay healthy. Stay safe. And keep on clickin’.

Photo credits: Daryl Byklum.

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