Portfolio Proofs / Artist Proofs / Editions
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.mcnamara.co.nz/news.html (near the bottom of the web page: An introduction to the editioning of photographs
I think it would be simpler to have editioned prints and artist proofs. Why get more specific?
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!?
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.
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".
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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!!!!
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!
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 :-)
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!
Originally Posted by MarkL
i think you meant 1 isn't enough ?
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
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 )
Last edited by jnanian; 06-14-2013 at 07:29 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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!