Using a "reveal" around an overmatted picture : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I like the look of a "reveal" around a dry mounted picture that is overmatted. That is there is a space between the edge of the dry mounted picture and the edge of the bevel cut overmat.

My question is whether folks like to make the bottom reveal slightly thicker than the top and side reveals, to again give a little weighting to the bottom just like we do when we cut the overmat and have a little more mat at the bottom. Currently for an 8x10 picture mounted on a 14x17 board, I am considering using a 1/4" reveal around the top and sides, and a 3/8" reveal at the bottom.

Please chime in with your aesthetic opinions!!!


-- Scott Jones (, August 11, 2001


Yes, definitely use more space at the bottom. I mount all my prints using this method.

-- Don Sparks (, August 11, 2001.

I use more space as well...usually for a title/signature.

-- Chad Jarvis (, August 11, 2001.


-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, August 11, 2001.

You are correct. It results in an optical centering of the image.

-- Jim (, August 11, 2001.

The amount of space is a matter of personal preference, but I do believe that 1/4" may make it more difficult to cut an even border around the entire print. The wider you go, the more forgiving slight variations in the straightenss of the cut or the accuracy of your measuring will be. I've standardized on 1/2" left, top and right, 5/8" on bottom for my 8x10 and 11x14 images and 5/8" left, top and right, 3/ 4" on bottom for my 16x20's. This not only gives me the extra "base weight" for a pleasing balance, but also provides me with some extra space at the bottom where I typically sign and number my prints. Just a little more room the breathe.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, August 11, 2001.

Yes I also present exhibition work this way although I reveal about 1/4" of the white border of the print rather then the mount but aesthetically its the same. On the odd occasion when presenting a "panoramic" image I oftern have a larger top margin then the two sides but the base is always kept slightly larger. regards,

-- Trevor Crone (, August 12, 2001.

Scott, There is a good description of the technique you descibe in Ansel Adams "The Print". He too recommends more space at the base!! Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, August 12, 2001.


My practice is the same as yours. Like a previous poster, I increase the width of the reveal roughly proportionally to the size of the mountboard/overmat. But I would add that I would make the bottom reveal wider than top and sides *only if* I intended to add date, title, and signature. Even when the bottom of the mat is deeper (and I follow the 45% top, 55% bottom formula suggested in an earlier thread), a proportionally deeper bottom reveal to my eye demands the presence of writing. Without writing, I would make the reveal the same all the way around. Best, Nick.

-- Nick Jones (, August 12, 2001.

I just saw the new AA exhibit at SFMOMA. Almost all of the prints were mounted with the reveal, which I think was the same size (maybe 3/ 8 in.?) all the way around.

-- Tom Raymondson (, August 13, 2001.


Let me piggy-back on the preceding reference to the Ansel Adams exhibit in San Franciso since I happened to have seen last week the exhibit at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY "In Praise of Nature. Ansel Adams and Photographs of the American West" (running until Sept. 16, incidentally). Ansel's signature was exceedingly small (as well as faint), hardly visible except at close range. So, on my 8x10's mounted on 14x17", my reveal is 3/8" on top and sides but a full 1/2" at the bottom to allow room for writing (corresponding to Ansel's own recommendation for prints 16x20 and larger, Print, p. 156). But the ultimate test, as with a photograph, is what it looks like when you hang it on a wall. Best, Nick.

-- Nick Jones (, August 13, 2001.

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