Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Choosing a Frame to Match the Picture

By Christina VanGinkel

Choosing a picture frame can be a relatively uncomplicated task. For instance, if you want to match the new frame to others that you already own, and they are not identical, just all along a similar style, or if the frame is to be placed on its own and it really does not have to match anything, just that it be something that you like. Buying a frame for a particular picture though, that needs to fit a specific size picture, and that lends something extra to the picture beyond just being a frame, can be hard to accomplish.

I have many framed photographs in my home, everything from snapshots to portraits, and I would say that each frame is stylish in its own right, but nothing fantastic. I love photos, have taken many of them myself, and gladly receive them as gifts from others. My daughter knows that nothing pleases me more than bestowing a new photograph upon me of my grandson! Yet I now realize that I have not given justice to a single one of them by means of putting any effort into picking out their frames.

As I struggled with a Christmas gift to give my brother this holiday season, something beyond the basic token gift that it seems we always exchange, my sister-in-law phoned with the sad news that they had to put down their Akita, who had been my brother's best friend through several surgeries, illnesses, and cross-country trips. My brother went nowhere without that dog, they were truly the best of friends. His favorite photo of her was taken in the mountains, with them sitting side by side, a lush carpet of green mountain grass in front and directly behind them, and a blue sky to rival the bluest the sky has ever been. My sister-in-law suggested that I get that picture framed for him, as it currently was not only, not in a frame; it was just tacked up on their fridge.

My initial response was what a perfect idea. I knew how much that dog meant to my brother, that she much more than just a dog. So my search began. In all honesty, I thought that I would be able to find the perfect frame at a small gift shop in a neighboring town, as they are known for their unique gifts, and I recalled seeing a complete shelf of frames the last time I was there. Sure enough, they had the shelf of frames, and several more scattered throughout the store, but not a single frame worked. While I did not have the actual print, I had a good copy. The colors were so vivid that a frame in a very neutral color would work, but none of them jumped out at me, as being anything special and special is what I was after. I found one that was a heavy glazed ceramic that did catch my eye, with a scattering of leaves pressed to make a lovely design, but done is a green that in no way matched the colors in the picture, plus that the leaf theme really was not a match either, I left it right where it was.

I ended up searching several more stores when I was about to give up and call my sister-in-law to tell her that I would be sending my normal routine gift to him, when I found it. A soft, smooth wood, that looked a bit battered, it was oversized so that it leant more depth to the picture right from the start, even though the picture was a basic 4" x 6" size. It had corner elements in close to where the picture opening was, and the whole thing was a slight burned red color. I would never have given the frame the time of day had it not been for the picture itself. They seemed to have been made for each other.

I now have a new task, and that is to give each of my photos, the justice they deserve, by reframing them with more thought than just their size. While I already have an eclectic collection of frames, I actually realized that a few frames already in my possession would look much better with different photos in them, so I have started my frame and photo transformation already.

Choose your frames with a bit of thought and care, and you will be pleasantly surprised at what a difference the right frame can make to an otherwise normal snapshot or portrait.

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