New Houlton framing business harkens back to bygone era

2 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Mike Carlos has always prided himself on being a problem solver. 

Whether it was on a basketball court serving as a high school coach, or as a photographer seeking just the right lighting to capture the image he desired, Carlos has always approached challenges head on.

So when it became increasingly difficult to find quality framing options for his images, Carlos decided he would do the next logical step and open up his own framing business.

Carlos Custom Matting and Framing, at 9 Broadway in downtown Houlton, provides a full array of professionalquality mattes and frames for people looking to display their images.

“A million years ago when I was in my 30s, I first started doing matting and framing just for myself,” he said. “What I hang my hat on is providing high quality service.”

A photographer for 56 years, Carlos said he first honed his skills working in a darkroom before ever touching a camera. 

“I actually learned about photography through an Upward Bound program in Greensboro, North Carolina,” he said. “It taught me all about f-stops and shutter speeds. I still have my own darkroom and can process black and white film.”

Aside from framing and matting, Carlos also has a professional grade color printer able to print high-resolution images for people.

“If people want quality prints made, we can do that,” he said. “The printers at the big box stores only have three colors, so you get an approximation of what the color really is. My printer will give people the exact color you want.”

Prints can also be scanned, repaired, enlarged and printed up to 16 by 20 inches, he added. If there is enough demand for even larger prints, Carlos said he would consider adding a larger printer.

“A lot of people in this area have old black and white photographs that are damaged over time,” Carlos said. “If the photo is wrinkled or torn, I can fix all that so the image is presentable.”

The Broadway studio features a vast array of mattes and framing options in a variety of colors. Both he, and his son Michael, custom build the frames in their studio. He can also frame canvas prints and paintings to precise measurements.

HOULTON, Maine — October 18, 2022 — Mike Carlos shows a canvas print that he is currently framing for a client at his 9 Broadway shop in downtown Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — October 18, 2022 — An assortment of color mattes are available for customers to choose from at Carlos Custom Matting and Framing. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)