Long story short - I won Artproof Young Photographic Artist's Grant last year. The objective of the Grant is to create top quality exhibition of the artist's project. With 5000€ to spare and times already booked in top galleries of Estonia one can think that it's a piece of cake. Well, it's not.
First thing to consider is finishing. What I've tried so far:
Canvas. Actually not an option. I passionately hate canvas and cannot imagine my works printed on it. The texture reminds me big potato bags used when collecting them.
Good photo paper, matted, framed, under glass. This is what I've been doing all the time until now. I could afford museum glass with this budget and some really big sizes. But... been there, done that. It will surely be beautiful, but I'd rather want to try something I'll never be able to afford myself. Also, matted pictures have a size limit from where on they're not so good any more.
I visited Artproof production to see some of the examples they offer. The following are the two high-end options.
Diasec - photos are glued between a sheet of 2-4mm thick aluminium and sheet of highly glossy acrylic glass. I've seen several exhibitions printed with this technology and impressive it is. The glass on top of it somehow makes the print super-realistic, the contrasts and colors pop. With good lighting it feels almost 3D. Choose a suitable picture and it's almost like a window to artist's reality. In some context, one could make an argument against Diasec that it has no frame - not relevant for me. My main problem with Diasec is also it's main strength - the high-gloss glass and all the reflections.
See Diasec at it's best in Kaupo Kikkas's Miner.
Showcase floater - photo paper is glued onto aluminium and then put into showcase where the picture seems to float (it's not fixed from the edges, but from the backside so that the fasteners aren't visible). It's beautiful, but somehow does not click for me. I can imagine color photos with this finishing, but not my black and white series.
Last year's winner Maxim Mjödov used this type of finishing.
So, for now my working theory is Diasec. I've been proofing and editing the series on an iPad, which is probably closest thing to Diasec you can have without printing.
Next up - sizes & venues.