When you're looking to have your work printed for display on your own wall, in your client's home, or in a gallery you have a myriad of choices and formats that you can print on. Today I'm taking a close look at one option, the brushed metal print.
As I've written about numerous times in the past, print work is something that holds a special place in my heart, seeing a favorite image printed and held in my hands just can't be beat. While I recognize that we live in a very digital age, I am simply not satisfied with my photos existing only as cellphone-sized images. I don't work on my favorite images for them to never be viewed larger than a few inches on a backlit little screen, no thank you. From fine art paper (of which there are many different options), to glass, metal, acrylic, wood, and anything else you can think of it is a great time to give serious thought to printing at least some of your work.
Today, I'm looking at a brushed metal wall print from Saal Digital. I'll admit that metal as a print medium is not my go-to format but that doesn't mean that it can't look amazing when properly done. This is an 11.8 x 17.7 brushed aluminum print and I'll be the first to say I'm impressed. In fact, I have this piece hung right above my computer monitor at my work desk right now. The basics are pretty simple, they print on a 3mm thick brushed aluminum panel and offer few different mounting options all of which are the float-style so the print appears to hover a bit off the wall.
I like the very angular and sharp clean lines of this product. It's both modern and stylish. The edges are hard lines with no rounding at the corners which I think adds to the more modern appeal of a product like this. If you've read any of my other pieces on print work, you know that I'm a huge fan of surface texture as I feel like it adds depth to the piece and I really appreciate the tactile nature of textured mediums. The metallic nature of the product has a fairly unique appearance and really shines in the highlights and negative space of the image. The brushed metal surface is sleek without being overly glossy or shiny, so glare is less of an issue with the brushed metal format than standard metal or glass for example.
I think that it's very important to consider the context of both the work and the medium when you go to print something and for metal, at least in my mind, this is particularly true. The nature of a metallic surface to me feels modern and when combined with the hard angular feel of this piece, it makes sense to try and print work that will be complimented by these factors. Clean architectural images, classic cars, motorcycles, and anything with a industrial vibe would likely excel in this format (fire breathing, welding, or sparks flying in an image would look alive here). I opted to select an image that I felt had a bit of an industrial vibe with the cool-tone cement, chain link fencing, trucks in the background, and the metallic pop of color from the aviator sunglasses and sunset over her shoulder.
I was also curious about a smaller version of the same brushed metal for display on a shelf or desktop. Something that would make a good add-on product or gift piece that doesn't break the bank. I went with a small 5.1 x 5.1 plaque with chrome feet as a base. What I like about this simple piece is that it both looks and feels like a high quality piece despite it's small size. This a fun and cute little product that uses the same metal surface as the larger print and is a something that would be ideal for filing out your bookshelf or nightstand with your photos. The same principles apply to the smaller plaque; choose work that benefits from the form for best results.
Of all the folks out there reading this piece, who among you has experimented with metal prints before (brushed metal or otherwise)? Is it a format that you find attractive? When it comes to displaying these pieces, where do you feel that they display best? Locations with modern design and ample lighting come to mind, possibly a kitchen or living room of a modern minimalist home? The hallways or lobby of sleek office building or hotel? Yeah, that sounds about right to me. I'd love some feedback and conversation regarding your own print experiences and if you have not tried a metal format before I would recommend trying it at least once so you can see for yourself if it's a form you're a fan of. For those interested in trying the brushed metal from Saal-Digital, you'll find more information here. Happy printing folks.