Okay, I wrote this up recently, it is something I've thought alot about aand am interested to hear what the rest of the photography world thinks, it is by no means authoritative, all encompassing, or correct, merely some thoughts... Each negative results in 2 prints I hate reprinting negatives. This is something Ive been fearful of facing for years. Fearful for many reasons: 1. A mainstay of the fine art photography world is the concept of editions; a photographer/artist sells a limited number of prints from a given negative, slowly rising in price as he/she sells more and more. This is a common practice among fine art photographers and not so fine art photographers; the internet is strongly populated by them (the former and the latter). 2. One of the key benefits of photography is that you CAN in fact, make another print similar to the one previously produced, given you have the control and knowledge to do this, this is a key aspect of photography. In regards to #1, I have always shied away from the concept of editions. Im going to print a negative how ever many times I feel like it, and if Im going to sell them, then Ill sell as many as I choose. In regards to #2, this is a wonderful aspect of photography, but one that is a bit of a curse as much as a blessing. All this was spawned by a recent need to reprint a collection of negatives I made while visiting New Orleans in late summer immediately prior to Hurricane Katrina. Many of the locales I happened to choose to capture where devastated by the flooding and weather. I had previously made two sets of the 7 best negatives I got on the trip, it was/is a coherent portfolio of images that I was proud to give to my sister and to sell to a good friend of hers. My sister asked that if I might reprint them in order for her to use them in a fundraising auction she was coordinating. This is without a doubt a wonderful idea, but I hated the concept of actually pulling out those old negatives and reprinting them, I would need to dig out some normal black and white silver gelatin paper, mix up developer/stop/fix so that I could make the prints. I didnt want to do any of that. The photography gods were watching out for me, as I already had a set that I had printed along with the initial 2 sets. Phew. Saved. But this experience brought up my overall feelings about reprinting when the need arises. Lets be honest, I dont sell a lot of work, in fact not much at all actually. Ive had three exhibits to date (one solo and two group ones), not a single normal print sale by normal Im referring to selling a print to someone in the general public and/or a collector, the only single print sale Ive had from an exhibit was to a close friend who didnt even manage to attend the exhibit. I digress, back to my original train of thought, given the rarity of print sales, and the fairly regular exhibiting Ive been blessed to steadily continue, it brings to light a certain fear I have. This fear revolves around one of the key outcomes a photographer may hope for from an exhibit, prints sales. This may sound insane to some, why would I be fearful of print sales? Selling a print means putting it in the hands of someone who felt it beautiful/worthy of shelling out their hard earned dollars to own and exhibit in their own manner. Selling multiple prints of a given negative means it connects with multiple people and means you make that much more money. Money is needed to practice photography, even if you are a minimalists, film, equipment, chemicals, paper, trays, ink, etc, it all costs money. So obviously selling more prints means helping to fund the continued practice of photography, this is a cold hard truth, one that has been abundantly clear for me in recent months. So in that light, why would I be fearful of print sales whenever I am preparing for an exhibit? Well, because I have no desire to reprint a negative. I dont enjoy it, its work in that negative sense of the word. The older I get the less and less time I have to practice this astonishingly rejuvenating practice of photography, I have a job to go to, chores at home to do, commitments on the weekends etc (and Im not even married, nor do I have any children) yet I still find the time I get to devote to darkroom work or out shooting to be rare and sparse. When I manage to carve out a weekend morning to shoot or print, the last thing I want to do is reprint a negative I have already printed. I dont want to reprint something Ive already done. I want to grab from that unending stack of unprinted negatives and explore one of them that has yet to see the UV light make it a positive image. So, when I am preparing for an exhibit, there is always a sense of fear that comes over me, one side of me the practical one says yeah I hope some of these prints sell so I can continue to fund my love/passion, the other side the true and deeper part of me says I just want to continue to exhibit and share my work, but focus on creating new work and continuing to capture my vision. Its a mental conflict, but it makes sense in my mind. So where does this leave me, or better stated, what/where does this bring me to? 2 prints from each negative. Im tempted to embrace this concept wholeheartedly and entirely. Each negative I choose to print, when I come to the point where I have printed it to the best representation of my vision, and then I just print another one. Now there I am with two prints. One will be for exhibiting, the other for sale. Thats it. No more prints from it. I move on to the next negative or I move on to going outside and capturing more and more negatives. This concept is so incredibly enticing to me as an artist and photographer, and at the same time is so incredibly simple, one I want to fully embrace and accept and at the same time it seems as though it could prove to be extremely limiting and potentially isolating, but then again Im not in the situation of be a proficient seller of fine art photography. Maybe thats okay.