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Surround Yourself With Family Portraits

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You don’t need a stately mansion to have your own portrait gallery.

But what to do when faced with 20, 30 or 40 (or more) pictures to hang, and the only common theme is they’re all photos of people? Calling Right Hook picture hanging to make sense of the lot is a start, and that’s our theme for this blog.

Now, we’ve found that hanging these family pictures is much like family gatherings in real life.

Different branches of the family need to co-exist - on the walls - though they never get on in life. Loved relatives need to be respected and given primary space; while those disliked are sidelined – or left to fill a gap in an out-of-the-way corner.

We find formal family studio portraits, snapshots taken at the beach, proud sporting moments and happy gangs at a wedding. And all jostling for attention.

And then there are the frames. Naturally there’s little cohesion. After all, these have been photos collected over a lifetime of parties and celebrations: births and birthdays, holidays and trips to special places, weddings and anniversaries; and me-with-someone-famous.

And as to the family relationships – they’re the real dynamic in the mix and a nightmare to make sense of. (So this is your cousin’s uncle but we can’t put him next to this lady because of…why exactly?) And while at it, here are some not uncommon examples of requests we’ve had:

  • The dynamics: “You can’t put them next to each other - they don’t like each other ever since he hit on her sister
  • The emotions: “Stick her in a corner – she was really nasty to my nephew over the divorce.”
  • Keeping the peace: “Better add a few from his side – I never much liked any of my husband’s family but for our children’s sake…
  • Playing fair: “I know I’ve got too many photos of this lovely granddaughter, so better put a few more of the others up or I’ll never hear the end of it.
  • Future proofing: “Can you leave enough room for more pictures – I’m sorting my Nan’s things and found stacks of old photos from back when she was a little girl.

And here we are looking for aesthetically harmonious groupings, while there you are deeply immersed in the people and the occasion.

Mostly the hardest part is remembering who goes with whom. Which, you can imagine, is no mean feat.

Luckily, we find that most homes have enough wall space to keep the feuding apart, to allow for growth and to still achieve a look of balance and harmony. The key is that we keep consulting, without getting too sidetracked by the reminiscences each photo prompts.

But in the end, it’s still all about emotions and memories. One of the most gratifying portrait hangings we did was for an older lady. She asked us to hang the pictures of her favourite family members in her bedroom, opposite her bed, so that, as she said: “I can see them when I wake up each morning, and that makes me happy”.

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Mike McClughan

Right Hook Picture Hanging

Based on the Sunshine Coast, we are picture hanging specialists. But we don't just hang pictures, we can hang almost anything on a wall... rugs, murals, artefacts, sporting memorabilia, mirrors etc. We can do anything from a collection of pictures, to heavy items, to large pieces, to an entire gallery collection. No picture hanging job is too small, or big, so just ask!

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