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Australian Framer Gets Creative Capturing Images from Famed Photographer Dorothea Lange

By Jen Gramm, Tru Vue® Director of Marketing



Inspiration can come from some surprising places — just ask Peter Abildgaard, owner of Frame Up Quality Picture Framing in Mornington located in Victoria, Australia. Peter became inspired by famous images and an old fence to create an innovative framing project using UltraVue® UV70. Please take into consideration that this design used reprinted images and the focus was on using the interesting materials that inspired the design concept. This design focus outweighed the need to strictly adhere to conservation framing techniques.



The inspiration


The inspiration for Abildgaard’s design came from a juxtaposition of two different events that were seemingly unrelated but came together in a great framing design.



The first inspired occurrence was Abildgaard’s exposure to the work of an American documentary photographer, Dorothea Lange. He learned about her work through a recent release by the Library of Congress as part of a collection of more than 175,000 digitized images. Abildgaard became moved by these images taken nearly 90 years ago of Depression-era sharecropping and migrant farming families in the U.S., which motivated him to create a project using these images.



The second incident which led to the idea of the framing project was somewhat mundane and seemingly had nothing to do with the creative work of Lange. Around the same time of the release of Lange’s digitized images, Abildgaard was building a new fence in his backyard. The old fence had to be torn down to complete this home-improvement project, leaving him with leftover salvaged barn wood. Peter immediately saw the visual connection between the salvaged wood and Lange’s work, as the barn wood was the perfect fit for the stark and rustic images of the American landscape Lange captured. Thus, a fence upgrade was the one that sparked the idea of utilizing the barn wood for this project.



These two sources of inspiration were taken to another level when Abildgaard saw the recently released Megawood Larson-Juhl Anvil Collection. All three sources, Lange’s photographs, the salvaged wood, and the new collection came together in the striking piece created.



The design


This large framing project (50” X 32”) features 10 of Lange’s photographs, including the iconic Migrant Mother. All the images are individually framed with Megawood Larson-Juhl 288 615 Aged Steel and 288 620 Aged Steel, from the Anvil Collection. He then used the salvaged wood for the backing of the project as a great visual complimentary backdrop for the images. To ensure that the wood maintained it’s organic timeworn quality and still connected to the images, Abildgaard decided to treat it as little as possible to ensure its rustic charm stayed intact. He then mounted the individual framed photographs to the found barn wood.



When viewing the framing project, one can see two slats of wood that extend from the back on each side of the project. Abildgaard used the roughest ends he could find for this part of the design, adding to the strength and rustic feel of the piece. Finally, to complete the framing project, he used Megawood Larson-Juhl Burnt Black XHQ 1062 as the main moulding and glazed with Tru Vue® UltraVue® UV70 for clarity.



“This piece was a product of over a year’s gestation in my mind, with the individual elements coming together from very different sources,” said Abildgaard. “I like to think the photo selection chosen serves to illustrate the amazing mix of dejection and, conversely, hopefulness that one can see in the faces of these children from a much different world to the present one.”



Frame Up Quality Picture Framing is a second-generation, family-owned business, located on the Mornington Peninsula. Acquired by Peter’s parents in 1990, the shop specializes in high-end quality custom picture framing for a discerning clientele with an emphasis on conservation techniques and innovative design. Peter, who studied art in Paris, and his wife Terrie now run the business.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

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