Picture Perfect

The picture you see framed and hanging above was snapped of a gray wolf at the Los Angeles Zoo 10 years ago. So enamored was I with the portrait that I cropped the 3″ x 5″ print to what you see and enlarged the hell out of it with my scanner, surprised that it held together.

Around three years after that I had a poster made of it and took it to a local framing place so that I could properly display it. Trouble was the difference in price at this place between getting it custom framed or just getting it mounted in a standard 24″ x 36″ off-the-shelf frame was hugely more than my budget could bear at the time, and so I chose the lesser-expensive option and ended up with one of my favorite photos drowning in a sea of dark brown matte (visualize the wolf centered in the middle of a frame/matte that was basically three times as tall as what’s above and you’ll get the idea). Yeah: lame.

Not lame enough not to hang in the livingroom of the Silver Lake apartment I lived in at the time. But after I moved in with Susan in 2004 the best I would allow it to do was occupy space either in the basement or leaning against various walls in the study.

But this is not the boring story of me finally running the picture down to a different framing place and getting the whole thing redone. Of course not. Instead, this is about me going Capt. DIY armed with nothing more than a pencil, ruler, X-acto knife, box cutter, scissors, hacksaw, staple gun and a half-baked idea that I might just be able to reconfigure the whole thing. So I dismantled the pieces, crudely measured, semi-cautiously cut and then reassembled everything and voila!

Don’t look too closely unless you want to see imperfections in where the top corners come together, but regardless of that I ended up with a frame proportional and complementary to the image, making it suitable to proudly and finally hang in the window above what’s now our landing room.


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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."