We have so many options for ways to present our photographs to the world. Many of us share our images via the web (email, social media sites, personal websites). Sometimes, though, we forget how wonderful it is to see our images printed and hung on the walls of our home or in homes of people we care about or for many of us in galleries and other alternative exhibition venues.

One of my favorite subjects to teach in our Career Training Program is Presentation. Having worked as a professional picture framer for a number of years as well as having had my fair share of exhibits, I am passionate about how our images ‘live’ in the world. In my class, I share with our students every option that I can think of to help get their juices going. Some of us are do it yourself craftsmen and some of us are loving the myriad of options for outsourcing the full printing and framing process. And labs are becoming more and more innovative all the time.

Two framing/printing processes that I am not equipped to do myself but am thoroughly enamored with are acrylic and metal prints. I have always loved flush mounted framing, but have had a few unfortunate accidents with bent corners with the most common form of mounting images to gator board or wood. Framing images behind acrylic is a bit more safe and what I REALLY love is the extra sense of depth the image has sitting behind a ¼” of plastic. The presentation style is clean, sexy, and modern and truly when I come across an acrylic print all I want to do is touch it! I wanted to give it a try but none of my current outsourcing labs offered this option.

Then I met Mark Alper, the owner of Big Acrylic. First of all, he has amazing customer service. He is extremely personable and is sincere when he says that he wants to make sure that you are 100% happy with his work. Big Acrylic treated me with special care and are very quick at responding to questions and their shipping is fast as well. I think it took a total of 6 business days for my piece to arrive. Their prices are very affordable (a 16x24 with 1/8” thick acrylic panel is $116. I highly recommend paying the extra $36 for ¼” thick acrylic…I chose it and it’s gorgeous!!!) The online ordering process is easy to follow. And for me, the color matching was perfect. Mark works a great deal with professional artists and is invested in helping to bring our art to life through the craftsmanship of his team. I chose to frame this image by RMSP alumni and fabulous artist, Heather Gill.

I chose it for two reasons. First I wanted to see how such a historically inspired image would look with a modern presentation method. Second, I also noticed how much black there was in the image and wanted to see how well that would come out mounted to acrylic. It came out perfectly! I have many prints on my wall, but this is the image that everyone notices when they come into my office. The modern presentation method adds rich dimension to the work as well. The fruit comes to life behind the acrylic!

Give yourselves a Welcome to Spring gift of printing one of your favorite images on acrylic. Mark is giving all of our RMSP students a 15% discount. Use the following code: mywork when you are ready to try it. But be ready to get caught by the acrylic printing bug. I know I am. And while you are at it, you might want to try his prints on metal, canvas and wood as well.

**And a special THANK YOU to the fabulous Heather Gill for providing the image for me to experiment with. It inspires me every day! And dang, I’m already putting together another order for Big Acrylic!

p.s. Lots of care went into the shipping. The framed piece is absolutely flawless!


Marcy James

Marcy James, the Director of Education at RMSP, is an artist working primarily in photographic media, yet her work extends into realms of sculpture and installation. She has also worked as a freelance architecture and portrait photographer and as an educator at the University of Montana and at Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Marcy received an MFA from the University of Montana, Missoula. Enthusiastic, adventurous and spirited, Marcy is celebrated for her ability to creatively challenge and stimulate students and peers. To see examples of her personal work, go to www.marcyjames.com.