Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Size Disconnects

I'm a fairly fervent supporter of the thesis that "the market" connects buyers and sellers pretty efficiently. But sometimes there are disconnects that make me scratch my head. Take the "standard" frame sizes and the "standard" print sizes.

Frames and mattes still tend to come in dimensions sized for age-old 8x10", 11x14", and 16x20" sizes--or any of a variety of other sizes that correspond to the photo paper sizes that I purchased over a quarter-decade or so ago. (These, in turn, tend to be oriented to large format 4" x 5" film--which is a bit more square than "35mm" film (24 x 36mm). Technically, 8x10 is a 1.25:1 aspect ratio vs. 35mm's 1.5:1.) Yet, inkjet paper has sizes that are more attuned to some traditional paper standards such as 8.5x11" and 13x19"(SuperB) (in the US). As a result, typical inkjet paper prints don't fit in standard frames. Furthermore, most people tend to think that the more rectangular formats (i.e. longer horizontal or vertical dimensions) are more attractive--all other things being equal. Therefore, it's not simply a case of the old "4x5" dimensions being better

I'd be interested in thoughts on this. But, as a practical matter, it means that I can't fit prints made with off-the-shelf paper in my inkjet printer into a standard frame. Perhaps most frame-able photos still come from more traditional photographic sources but I find this a bit hard to believe given the prevalence of inkjet printers and, at least to my eye, the superior aesthetics of wider aspect-ratio images.

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