Last month, I decided to go through my Brooklyn apartment and redecorate since my old roommate had moved out. One of the first things that any young creative does in a big city is trying to surround themselves with more creativity to inspire and fuel them to keep going. Afterall, it’s really important.
Upon trying to hang some of my own favorite photos as well as those of friends in the industry, the idea of working with both paper and canvas came up. Ultimately, I have both in my space–but canvas is what has won over my heart the most.
Paper vs Canvas
The use of good paper vs canvas in an apartment took some time and logic to understand properly. Most folks would automatically go for paper due to the fact that it is more affordable and looks pretty good in the right situations.
Again…I repeat–in the right situations.
First off, there are two major different types of paper: and those are glossy and matte. Glossy can look cool–in fact it can look really cool. But man, does it reflect light and offer glare issues like no one’s business. So instead, you (and pretty much nearly every gallery in NYC) might want to top for matte paper. Matte paper is an excellent option; but in order to protect the photo you’ll want to put some sort of covering on it lest the image get dirty over time and affected by environmental changes.
On the other hand a canvas won’t reflect light so harshly, will still retain loads of details in your images, and won’t require as much maintenance. Further on the plus side, they’re usually easier to hang too. To be honest though, the thought of using a canvas didn’t really cross our minds until a company called Canvas Champ approached us offering a trial piece.
After some further research, we found the myth of canvas prints being uber expensive to largely be a myth as companies offer up loads of discounts often–as does Amazon local and Adorama. In college, Adorama was my go to source for printing images then it became the Color Resource Center in NYC when I worked at B&H Photo.
On talks about lighting going even further: gallery lighting works so well with matte paper because it is already somewhat diffused and doesn’t reflect light as well due to its lack of a shiny coating. But if you’re working with glossy images, then they can totally reflect light a bit too much and make the viewing experience that much tougher and more annoying.
For what it’s worth, when folks come over to hang out they won’t be able to see the images in crystal clear quality if there is light reflecting off of it. And to further that argument, keep in mind that not every apartment has studio quality lighting.
With this in mind, you’ll need to figure out that what works for a studio in Chelsea, Dumbo or Bushwick won’t work for your living situation. And instead you’ll need to tailor towards what works.
Surrounding Yourself with Creativity
Most importantly, what you should also be doing is surrounding yourself with creativity at all times. Whether you’re a professional or an aspiring pro, there is no better way to keep your motivation up than by seeing the best fruits of your labor and the work of others that will always put you in awe.
While we’re not going to tell you to go out right now and buy canvases, what we’re going to tell you is to work with what is best for your apartment and apply your knowledge of creativity towards other aspects–like decorating your home or apartment. Heck, even try Polaroids.