“MAYBE you should go up a size. I think that’ll look a little on the small side once you get it in your house.” This is something every photographer who’s sold a print has said. Let’s face it. Photographers love to sell big prints. We like to see our work BIG! It makes us feel appreciated.
BIGGER is better, but is that always the case? Let’s take a look, shall we?
LET'S go back five centuries or more to a time when pictures (paintings in this case) were big. Hanging in the Louvre (and pictured at right) is Veronese’s “The Wedding at Cana.” At more than 10 yards wide, it spans an entire wall. Can you imagine how an image of this size and magnitude affects a room?
IF we look at the stunning image painted a century or so later by Adriaen Stalbemt, “The Arts and Sciences” (below) we can get an idea of how art was used to decorate and enhance a living space.
A room with significantly sized works of art can wake the minds of the room’s occupants and spur their imaginations and conversations. The room and the people in it become alive.
PLAINLY I’ve presented an unassailable case for big pictures. Right?
NOT so fast.
THE fact is, while some of these painters were creating work that would cover a wall or more, they were also making images that were barely larger than a common playing card. Why?
EMILY Kowalski, Communications Specialist with the North Carolina Museum of Art said in 2014 “Often, Dutch and Flemish painters created small self portraits they could use as ‘calling cards’ with potential patrons. “
A few more reasons: Someone might want to use the image in a place in a room that simply won’t accommodate a larger image. A person might rather put a framed image on a table, shelf or piano and not on a wall.
SMALL images can engage people differently than large images. A connection with a small image can be more intimate than with a larger wall mounted image. It can draw people in. It can literally move people across a room to look at the picture.
INSTEAD of having to stand back and admire it from a distance, a smaller picture…we can hold in our hand.
WE can hold it in our hand.
IN 2009 The Arthritis Foundation references a pain management study at the University of California in Los Angeles: “Simple reminders of loved ones, like photographs, engender feelings of being cared for and supported and can be strong enough to reduce pain….Images of their romantic partners lowered levels of pain even more than holding their hands. Viewing a partner’s picture also led to a significantly lower pain rating than viewing photographs of an object or looking at a picture of a stranger….Researchers say their findings suggest that bringing photos of loved ones to painful procedures may be beneficial, especially if those individuals can’t be there in person. And because people have varying abilities in providing support, in some cases photos actually seem to be more effective than in-person support.”
SO, maybe this blog post isn’t really intended for the general public or clients or potential clients. Maybe it’s for my colleagues. Big pictures are beautiful and selling them is great, but sometimes the small picture…