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  1. #31
    jovo's Avatar
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    I never got the impression that Brooks was recommending that other photographers price their 8x10 'graphs at $20. He does because he can. He reaches a large audience through Lenswork and people have been buying his inkjet prints. He wrote (or stated in a podcast) that, in fact, he'd sold 1000 of them and taken in $20,000. That much money will pay for a lot of time, and material and allow a profit. But most of us can't even consider such a scheme because we are unknown, and a $20 price makes uninformed people wary that if something is that cheap it can't be any good.

    I think his message is that photographs...inkjets at that....by unknown photographers that are priced at $3700 (the example cited) are ridiculous, and I agree. The trick is to find a price that is affordable and attractive enough for people to make the decision to forego what else they could buy for whatever amount is involved and spend it on your photograph. That just seems like common sense to me.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington

    As long as the principle of personal liberty applies, you can sell pictures for what you like. You probably do not need me to tell you that out of your $75 (no sales tax?), after the 33% has gone to a good cause, you have $50 left, minus the cost of mounting and framing this is $20, which most likely does not even cover the cost of your printing paper and chemicals (presumably in your hours in the darkroom, you got through quite a bit of paper). There is no allowance for your time, heat, power and water costs, the time it took you to frame the pix, and the time, gas, and parking charges it took you to get the pix to the gallery. Profit is not zero - it is heavily negative (aka a howling loss).
    On the other hand, taking the "shameful" sticker price of $350, half will probably go in gallery commission, leaving $175. If sales tax is payable (British VAT is 17.5%), this would take it down to $148. Allowing the same as you for matting and framing brings it to $118, translating to a profit of $85 if the seller were lucky. This is surely not an excessive amount to hope to earn for a couple of hours work (minimum) per print, even without allowance for the time required to take the picture in the first place, cost of film and processing, depreciation of equipment, automobile, etc?
    David

    Thanks.... your analysis is absolutely real. However, notwithstanding the cost, for this initial showing the lost leader is my cost for "getting into the game". Goodness I am glad that in the U.S. our taxes have gotten that outrageous yet (we are clearly headed in that direction). Also, I looked at what I thought the bottom line worth of my prints would be in this market. Once I factored that in, I believe my prints are priced correctly for this show. I am quite aware that I couldn't make a living doing this at this price. Ultimately, the photographer has to increase the market value for his work in order to demand a higher price. Otherwise, it should not be his primary means of income.
    Often wrong, but never in doubt!

  3. #33

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    Jensen sells 1000 pixelgraphs for $20 each.

    It is sad that we have come to this. the Wallmartization of photography. Where cheap mediocrity rules the day.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
    Jensen sells 1000 pixelgraphs for $20 each.

    It is sad that we have come to this. the Wallmartization of photography. Where cheap mediocrity rules the day.
    Jim,

    I don't feel "We" have come to this, there are certain elements of any industry that will prostitute themselves when they think they can get away with it.

    Dave

  5. #35
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    I recently had occasion to see one of the 'giclee' prints in question. The fellow who showed it to me also had some of Paula's Chamlee's work, which sells for $1,500.00 or so.

    After comparing them side by side, I'd have to say that $20.00 is an excellent price point for the inkjet work. I wouldn't pay that for it, but I'm excessively fussy about print quality. The Litton inkjet print that I paid $17.00 for is a much better print. (Which reminds me - I promised to send that POS to Jorge but never got around to it - maybe we should start passing this thing around in a round robin "Inkjet Laugh Exchange". I'll go to the vaults tonight and ship it off to Mexico to get the ball rolling.)

  6. #36

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    Uh-oh. My point was lost. Most of this thread is focusing on my $20 price when the article is not really about that. It is about the out-of-reach prices that some photographers ask for their prints that make them only available to the elite in society. I have always thought that art should be for everyone, not just the well-healed. I was hoping this was the point folks would get.

    Here is the main point I was trying (but evidently failed) to make. It is best illustrated by the person who earlier in this thread posted: "you can sell pictures for what you like" which is patently untrue. You can offer pictures for what you like, but ultimitately it is the buyer who determines what is paid. You all know this -- see the thread about Michael and Paula's Azo portfolio and the reactions you had to their $10,750 price. I'm an not arguing whether or not their portfolio is worth that much, but I am certain that "regular folks" won't be able to buy it because it is simply out of their league.

    As to my $20 price, okay,I'll take the criticism. May I ask - what should I price my photographs? They are 8x10 images on 11x14 paper. No mats. No frames. Pigment on paper (inkjet, if you insist). They are not "collectible". They are offered because you just might like the image. They are simply meant to be fun, and meant to be enjoyed -- like a CD, etc that I tried to compare in the article. I see them as a form of "entertainment" that folks should be able to purchase with their discretionary income. So what should I charge? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    One other thing. Not all of my work is $20. Some I offer for free (as, say, PDF files.) Some, like my folios, go for hundreds. Larger, framed prints are obviously more. One key to my thinking about this is the idea of trying to have a marketing strategy for all levels of the market. Of particular importance to me is the "entry-level" buyer who can only afford very little. I know that if we, as photographers, can develop a larger entry-level market, that the market for larger, more collectable, expensive work will grow as these buyers migrate through life and the interests and means to acquire work grows. Am I making sense?

    BTW, I do note that there is a long tradition of this kind of thinking about the "entry-level" market. I'll bet a lot of you own Ansel Adams Special Editions images - the silver prints made by Alan Ross. Photogravures were long made as an alternative to expensive originals. My friend Morrie Camhi offered what he called a "Popluar Edition" that was smaller than his real artwork. Even the print-with-membership offers that come from various organizations like the defunct Friends of Photography can be loosely lumped in with this.

    Lots for each of us to think about as we try to find a way to share our work and at the same time build a larger audience for photography in general.
    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
    Written Thursday January 12, 2006

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenS
    Ask the publisher of the said magazine if you might purchase a minimum of an half-page for advertising sales of your art work for the same $20.00

    Ken
    Ken, thats funny.

    I've actually decided to beat his price and all my photo's are now $19.95;

    Available by download only.

    Maybe he was just bored and needed some controversy?

  8. #38
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    I think I can see selling a "simple inexpensively mass produced" type image for $20. Im a nobody in the broad galaxy of fine art photography perhaps a 1/4 of a speck of sand in the broad beach of it all. if I were to make say a 7x17 platinum/palladium print and then scan it and reproduce it many times over and sell those inexpensive reproductions for $20.... easy and a given. a $20 price point makes perfect sense. But like people have said before I couldnt charge that for the original 7x17 pt/pd it just wouldnt cover costs. I dont think this was adequately explained in the article and has been more adequately explained from his reply above.

  9. #39

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    Hi Brooks,

    I have no problem with you charging $20 for your work. As I said you have found a business model that works and you have the resources to make it work.

    Here is where the confusion lies. You say you do not consider your $20 inkjets collectible but something fun like a CD or a good meal. Ok I see where you are comming from with that idea of a commodity, especially when you can load the paper hit the print button and crank them out to order. The problem I have is that you feel that anyone who believes that their skill, experience and craftsmanship should be considered in the pricing of the work is an elitist and delusional. Does that mean charging $1000 for an 8x10 from an unkown artist is OK. If it sells fine. But on the other hand why should someone with 20 years of experience and skill charge the same as a kid in college. And yes I know it is not about what your asking price is but wwhat someone will pay. But there is a point where intangibles play a part in the percieved value of a print.

    I have a question that I mean in all sincerity. What do you consider a collectible print and at what point do you (or anyone intersted in buying photographs) consider the work of a person collectible?
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  10. #40
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
    Hi Brooks,


    Here is where the confusion lies. You say you do not consider your $20 inkjets collectible but something fun like a CD or a good meal. Ok I see where you are comming from with that idea of a commodity, especially when you can load the paper hit the print button and crank them out to order.

    I have a question that I mean in all sincerity. What do you consider a collectible print and at what point do you (or anyone intersted in buying photographs) consider the work of a person collectible?
    To me, therein lyes the problem, if we can't answer the question of what is collectable, how in the world is the buying public to differenciate in what they are purchasing is for fun, or for collecting?

    I myself don't produce ink jet prints of my work, just for the fact I believe it cheapens the value of my traditionally produced prints and creates confusion to the customer I am trying to appeal to as to why they should pay the higher price for the tradionally produced print, especially when the terms of archivial and such get thrown around, I myself will not sell $20 prints, if you have a business model and the resource to do it at this type of price point, then more power to you, but I feel when a photographer does not make it clear then we cheapen the whole process to the end user/purchaser.

    Dave

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