Portfolio Proofs / Artist Proofs / Editions

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by MarkL, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    For those of you who number prints in editions and declare a set number of artist proofs, is it possible to have one or more unsigned, matted portfolio prints that are not considered artist proofs? I was thinking of stamping the back of the mounts of one 8x10 copy of each final image with “Portfolio proof – not for sale”. This would leave me free to have a couple larger actual artist proofs for exhibition and for leaving to my family (whether they want them or not!) in the rare and happy instance that I actually sell out an edition.

    Of course I want the best of both worlds: a limited edition with enough proofs to keep a few copies of in reserve! I was thinking 10 in an edition and 2 proofs, plus one permanent portfolio copy not to be sold. Or is it more proper to say that's 3 proofs?

    The subject of editioning is controversial and not one I’m settled on, or want to get into here. But for anyone interested, I’ve found these informative articles.

    http://www.dpandi.com/essays/jensen.html

    http://www.mcnamara.co.nz/news.html (near the bottom of the web page: An introduction to the editioning of photographs

    Mark
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    I think it would be simpler to have editioned prints and artist proofs. Why get more specific?
     
  3. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    I'm just thinking that some photographers might have portfolios (for approaching galleries) with larger size prints than 8x10, maybe as well as 8x10 archival personal copies for reference. It may be a moot point for a hobbyist like me, but in the interest of ethics, do these portfolio copies count among the "artist proofs", which are supposed to be only 10% or so of the edition!?
     
  4. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    I have yet to see two photographers or artists that handle editioning in the exact same way. Lately, I'm not editioning my silver gelatin prints and it hasn't been an issue for buyers. If it weren't the policy of some galleries requiring it, I'd probably just forget it altogether. In some ways, the fact I sell silver gelatin prints contrasts a limited availability hand made print against the ubiquitous inkjet prints--my buyers get that.

    You don't have to be so stingy with your editions. I think it's foolish when I see unknown photographer's prints with 3/200 written, but 25 would be perfectly reasonable and leave you some extra prints for portfolio and other use.
     
  5. gzinsel

    gzinsel Member

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    well, editioning is weird sort, back when, . . . When lithography and etching plates ruled the day, prints would be signed and number. It was in large part because the stone or plate would eventually wear out. The print would not look so good after a few hundred or so. Now in the twentieth century with siver gelatin prints and negs. as long as you keep your neg in good shape, you can print forever and ever and ever and ever, AND more ever's than you can imagine. Now with digital you do not even have to print, just send e-mails of your image to everybody!!!! FOR FREE, now that's convenience!!! and what a great price huh!!! good deals for everyone, easy on the environment.

    all jokes aside, artist proofs are not considered an edition, or part of the edition. You should also have the strike plate, in the edition as well. That is the print that has the HUGE scratch of an "X" in the negative and print that. literally destroying the neg. I mean, you can not have an opened edition????? can you ? so as example, having 10, 20, 100, 1000000, or whatever number, then a strike plate, and then in the paper work you should memtion how many artist's proofs you printed as well, by the way artists proofs in my opinion should be done a little differently, because "WE" are so God Damned tempermental".

    Cheers.
     
  6. gzinsel

    gzinsel Member

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    also don't sign the mat board!!! you are not editioning window mats cut by "the mat cutter" at your frame shop, you are editioning prints. I think your name should be in pencil on the back, or make a blind stamp with your log, your mark, your . . . . .cachet!!!!
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you can number the board, and the back of the print
    you can sign a tag and number it on the back of the print
    or a stamp
    or a certificate ...

    or you can just not differentiate between the proofs and the editions and anything else
    anything can be considered an edition, a size difference, a different paper printed on, a different developer, toner

    me, i just sell single editions, because .. i don't want to be tied down to make 25 or 10 or 50 of the same print,
    i have better things to do ...

    in the end, does it really matter ?

    good luck with your sales!
    john
     
  8. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    True John....what does it really matter? Only to a few I suppose. There are only hundreds of thousands of people out there making good photographs and editions of one are one too many for most of us, most of the time!

    I've read quite a few long threads and articles on the subject and as you know most people fall on the side of not editioning. That said, it seems there's little to lose by doing so, and one would be prepared if he/she ended up talking to a gallery someday about a couple good images that had some prior sales. Seems like 10 is plenty enough for an amateur and more than I feel like making of an image before moving to new material. If I ever were to sell 10 and retire a picture, fine. I'd have some giclee posters made thereafter! If the 11th person who liked my work wants one, I have plenty of others and hopefully they're better than the older ones anyway! If I were ever to sell, say 8, then I might be able raise the price on the last two a bit and actually recoup for once some of what it cost to make the thing. I see nothing wrong with that....we all hope to earn as much as possible for our efforts or goods, whether it's seeking a higher salary at work or selling something in a garage sale. But I should shut up because this topic has been covered to death already and I vacillate between the different points of view anyway!

    I was simply wondering how "editioners" handle their final portfolio proofs, which could be several. I do believe stating the number of proofs is customary in editioning :smile:

    One thing we all have in common and can be proud of is that we hand make our photographs, often with great difficulty. As that becomes more rare, I think our stuff will increasingly stand out as being more personal and "limited" on its own merits!

    Mark
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mark

    i think you meant 1 isn't enough ? :smile:
    it's enough for me, because i sometimes
    make negatives by hand and assemble them &c
    and once the print is made ... i make another ..
    even with the materials in front of me, another can't be made :smile:

    the problem with closed editions, is there will always be an 11th person , or a 12th &c
    that is why i don't bother with editions, they are almost a joke ( IMNSHO ), just make as many as you want
    and number every one, if you want to number them ..
    with editions people make up their own rules " no, that edition was for 8x10 images, this group is 20x24, its a new edition"
    sort of thing .. what's the point ?

    good luck with your sales
    john (former gallery owner :smile: )
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2013
  10. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    The more I think about it the more over-the-top it seems for me to edition, but numbering is a good idea. Thanks John and everyone!
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Mark

    After years of considering editioning of prints , watching Ed Burtynsky and others in my home town I have came up with the following strategy for myself.

    First consider that I print in many forms, I am not stuck on any one process . I feel that the Image is the most important aspect of this process.
    so my editions are based on numbers of prints I make from any image, regardless of size , materials used.

    I am now making 10 to be my largest number of any one image , with two artist proofs .

    I am over the next 10 years going to print out the editions of images that I like. I will print them on the material I think appropriate, but will be open to consider a replacement
    image on another material, if this happens I will tear up one of the numbered prints to make an appropriate sale.

    for example take the image attached View attachment 70236
     

    Attached Files:

  12. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Thanks Bob. Your method is exactly what I have been thinking but am now reconsidering. Whether it's 8x10, 20x24, standard developed 10 years ago or lith developed yesterday, the edition is for that image. This is what I'm running into with a normally printed image I printed 25 years ago and sold several copies of. Don't know how many...maybe 3 or 4. Now I'm lith printing it with a totally different look and range of tones. If I were to edition I'd have to guess at how many I previously sold. Some would say it could just be a new edition. I think it's interesting that various prints in an edition could be way different from others, reflecting the photographer's evolution.

    Can I ask why you are limiting to 10, and what you think about the argument for keeping it open and available for that 11th print? I agree with you but am curious about your thoughts. I really don't buy or appreciate the allegation by some that creating "artificial scarcity" to pressure the price up, if you're able, is a bad thing. Artists rarely cover a fraction of their costs and to try to get a respectful price for hard work is a normal goal.

    What I had been thinking is that, if a buyer likes/values that a print is only one of 10 GSP's out there, and they believed in my work enough to buy it, then I'm thankful and would be happy to provide them with that guarantee. And it would save me having to print the damn thing too many times! I want to drive towards NEW stuff!

    Well....time to pop open a cold one and actually print. Enough philosophy!

    Mark
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Mark

    Limited Editions

    I only know a few who actually print all the images in the editions, due to fame, finances and time. Ed Burtynsky is my hero when it comes to workflow, I have watched
    him for over 24 years now and am amazed at his continued excellence. There are others but he is quite significant and someone to watch.

    I have limited to 10 because I feel that knowing the number of images I have, and the fact I own all the equipment to logically print out my work, I am
    challenging myself to actually start printing out the images I have grown to like and exhibit.
    I think it may sound completly silly to some to have a room full of boxes that archivally store up to thousands of prints that I intend to print.
    Even if I end up with 1000 images I want to print, we are talking about 12000 prints, not to mention the expense of separation film to make the colour carbons.
    I would have kept it to 5, but in some cases, it takes a year or two seeing different versions before you are happy with your interpretation of an image.
    It does not mean your first attempts were bad, its a confidence thing, so therefore I am mixing the looks within an edition and letting the buyer decide which one they like.

    Re printing out the edition before you kick the bucket.
    What silly ass in his right mind would do such a thing, but then I remember the **build it and they will come** line of thinking and if I do not do it.*** A full time printmaker** then who would? This will take me the rest of my life to finish, but I have a great person Laura my wife behind me and she is doing the same thing , so it makes sense in my family.

    I see your pain about images you sold earlier , and yes you do have a dilemma but I think you can come to a workaround, I would be trying to find out who purchased and have an open discussion with them about your editioning dilema.

    I have taken stock of all the images I have made, the bulk of the images I have were taken in the last 10 years as the 20 years before I was learning how to cope as a printmaker. Therefore any I have sold I am aware who they are and I have already started the process of informing them of my goals.
    Over the next 10 years I plan to exhibit internationally as much as I can financially and physically manage.
    If I have any talent , people will buy my work and the silliness will make sense.
    If I am a loser and nobody likes my work then , I have the memories of hundreds- thousands of days in the darkroom doing what I love to do.
    I do not play golf, I do not play an instrument and my days of hockey and baseball are behind me so I figure its a good plan for me.
     
  14. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    This is only my personal opinion, but I find the whole idea of editions and artists proofs completely pretentious.
     
  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    You are entitled to your opinion.
     
  16. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Pretentious: "Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed."

    I see Tim Rudman has limited edition prints. He's about the least pretentious person I've ever met. I'm sure there are many other artists in many mediums who edition and have valid reasons! I agree it's unnecessary for the vast majority of us, me included.