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Thread: Fine Art Status

  1. #21
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheimfluger_77 View Post
    Generally I would agree with you. The client is purchasing primarily the end product, so any process that produces that desired end product is "relevant." I think what eddie and the others are implying is that analog photography is becoming a "desired" medium not because of the materials used of themselves, but because of the worker wrestling with the disappearing materials, rising costs, and relative difficulty of obtaining, and maintaining a darkroom. Perhaps those who choose to work this way are becoming perceived as people who can be trusted to produce important and collectible work because they choose to struggle with these limitations and excel regardless. Don't get me wrong, junk is still junk and fine work is still fine work. This is a lot like the "blue sky" a business creates over time. It's those intangibles of integrity, diligence, craftsmanship, customer service, value, etc. that lead a person to do business with company X and not company Y. Not every business has it or can create it on demand, but it does have monetary value.

    Steve

    Steve,

    I see what you are saying, and in a perfect world, that's just the way I'd want it to be. My feeling is that we are talking about a very tiny crowd of people who are able to appreciate, and willing to buy, a print of an image that originated from film and processed in a fully analogue environment, just because of it. There is no denying that today, some of the most beautiful prints are produced using hybrid processes. Sandy King's carbons, Paul Taylor's, Jon Goodman's, Lothar Osterburg's photogravures are just a few examples. Whether any of the images were shot using film is almost irrelevant to the prospective buyer. So, what I really see, is a market dominated by committed photographers who are using film AND digital, to create handmade prints, in a fully analogue and hybrid manner, that are beautiful, relevant and collectable. The important distinction, for ME is: analogue/hybrid printing and fully digital printing, not film vs digital photography/capture.
    From my personal standpoint, and as an example, I am now exclusively focusing on copper plate photogravure, using a hybrid process. Why? Because even with some digital thrown in, the process is a bitch to master, unique, and the prints absolutely beautiful. They stand out and that's not something that anyone wants to or can do. From a marketing perspective, it matters. Most of the images are from film and some from digital. NOBODY could tell the difference on paper, and NOBODY really cares. That's reality. What they are buying is an image that moves them, printed on beautiful art paper, using a process that is laborious, time consuming, frustrating at times, expensive, but again, the end result are gorgeous, unique, handmade prints and that's where a lot of the value lies.

    Best,

    Max

  2. #22
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    It's tough to predict the fickle art market. But I would think that handmade prints from negatives will hold it's value better than digital photographs. All it would take to spoil a fine art photographer's value is to have a digital file and print up more Giclee' prints. Yes analog methods can be counterfeited to, but it's much tougher. My girlfriend and I were at a gallery looking at Giclee' prints and asked me what it is. I said "inkjet". She was surprised. She expected something complicated explanation like the Fresson process which is somewhat a secret.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
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  3. #23
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    Re: Fine Art Status

    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    ...And I seriously doubt 1 in 10,000 could look at a print and know how it was made, digital or analog.
    This was an observation I made yo myself some time ago. When the first "family portrait" packages were available right off the printer, and Grandma needed a magnifying glass to tell if it was "real" or not, then the scale was tipped for the commercial world.

    The rest of us chemical afficinados became hobby practitioners.

    Nothing wrong with that in my mind. I'm a hobby guy, not a pro.

    Sure a few high dollar portrait artists still work in oil professionally. And sure there will be folks pouring glass plates by hand. But the mainstream won't look back or shed a tear.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  4. #24
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    As I alluded to on my previous post that on this site there seems to be some sort of mythology of the master printer spending countless hours toiling over a hot tray in his darkroom making his one off masterpiece, which he may or may not decide to cheapen himself by offering it for sale.

    The other myth is that digital is the process of snapping off a hundred shots, to get one, and then downloading it to his computer and hitting print and making a hundred identical soulless inkjet prints to flog out to an unsuspecting public.

    Any fine art or even decent printer in analog does almost the same process as does a decent or fine art digital photographer. As has been said here many times, the process is just "different".

    In both cases, he has to expose in the camera properly. He has to develop properly and in digital, developing /processing is more intertwined than in analog where the developing is a different and separate process.

    The process in the computer is not much different that what the printer in analog does. He burns and dodges, he manipulates exposure in certain areas, and he executes the decisions that he first made in the viewfinder and on the "contact sheets". I've often spend many hours on a single image in photoshop, sometimes going back the next day to change it again.

    Now for printing, with a computer you have to balance your computer screen with your printer and keep and maintain this relationship. You have to have different setting for different papers, and test often for taste. Your first print is rarely a keeper. Often you go back into photoshop and make changes to the image and you tweak printer settings.

    This same process in analog is making test prints, tweaking contrast, tweaking burn/dodge, tweaking exposure.

    But now comes the big difference. The earth shaking moment. The holy dipping of the fingers in the fluid filled trays. The sliding of the rigid paper into the wet welcoming receptacle. Is this it?? Is this the magical moment, that transcends digital, in fact life itself. Is this the critical element when one medium attains the cherished level of "art". I'm feeling faint.

    As for making multiple prints. In analog I could make lots of prints that were identical one after the other, in not much of a different way than I do with inkjet. The only real difference is that if I were to go back in a week or year, the digital file would be closer to the original than an analog print would be. But in both cases, I'd probably tweak them slightly because I'm not the same person I was back then.

    So maybe we should quit kidding ourselves that the processes are much different at all. They both are a manifestation of a vision we had when we looked at our original subject.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  5. #25
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    As I alluded to on my previous post that on this site there seems to be some sort of mythology of the master printer spending countless hours toiling over a hot tray in his darkroom making his one off masterpiece, which he may or may not decide to cheapen himself by offering it for sale.

    The other myth is that digital is the process of snapping off a hundred shots, to get one, and then downloading it to his computer and hitting print and making a hundred identical soulless inkjet prints to flog out to an unsuspecting public.

    Any fine art or even decent printer in analog does almost the same process as does a decent or fine art digital photographer. As has been said here many times, the process is just "different".

    In both cases, he has to expose in the camera properly. He has to develop properly and in digital, developing /processing is more intertwined than in analog where the developing is a different and separate process.

    The process in the computer is not much different that what the printer in analog does. He burns and dodges, he manipulates exposure in certain areas, and he executes the decisions that he first made in the viewfinder and on the "contact sheets". I've often spend many hours on a single image in photoshop, sometimes going back the next day to change it again.

    Now for printing, with a computer you have to balance your computer screen with your printer and keep and maintain this relationship. You have to have different setting for different papers, and test often for taste. Your first print is rarely a keeper. Often you go back into photoshop and make changes to the image and you tweak printer settings.

    This same process in analog is making test prints, tweaking contrast, tweaking burn/dodge, tweaking exposure.

    But now comes the big difference. The earth shaking moment. The holy dipping of the fingers in the fluid filled trays. The sliding of the rigid paper into the wet welcoming receptacle. Is this it?? Is this the magical moment, that transcends digital, in fact life itself. Is this the critical element when one medium attains the cherished level of "art". I'm feeling faint.

    As for making multiple prints. In analog I could make lots of prints that were identical one after the other, in not much of a different way than I do with inkjet. The only real difference is that if I were to go back in a week or year, the digital file would be closer to the original than an analog print would be. But in both cases, I'd probably tweak them slightly because I'm not the same person I was back then.

    So maybe we should quit kidding ourselves that the processes are much different at all. They both are a manifestation of a vision we had when we looked at our original subject.
    You make perfect sense, and you are indeed correct in your views. The question though, and that's where things break down, is the "perception" of value by collectors/buyers. We are talking photography within the "fine art" (hate those words) realm, after all. Reality is that an inkjet print, for as beautiful as it may be, is simply not as valuable. I'm not trying to minimize the work that goes into or be a snob, because I have printed plenty using Piezography inks and the best from Epson, but it just isn't the same. Personally, I have always felt that I wasn't accomplishing anything, which also made it difficult to market and present myself properly. Trust me, I wish it was different so I wouldn't have to dip my fingers (with gloves) into potassium dichromate, but it isn't. It may change, but I seriously doubt it.

  6. #26
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    If I was to buy a print by say William Eggleston, would it be the same price as a digital or chemical colour print? What do existing sucessful artists display? Does it effect their price?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #27
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    If I was to buy a print by say William Eggleston, would it be the same price as a digital or chemical colour print? What do existing sucessful artists display? Does it effect their price?
    Well, Clive, here are a couple of answers: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...of-old-photos/

    http://www.petapixel.com/2012/03/14/...on-at-auction/

    And the most interesting quote: "Eggleston has been kind of stuck in the old school world of the photography collectors for a long time, whose primary concerns are about process, print type, print date, etcetera. [...] for contemporary art collectors it’s much more about the object itself—they couldn’t care if it’s a dye transfer or a pigment print or whatever, as long as the object itself is totally amazing, that’s what they care about.

    This is an attempt to start a migration of Eggleston from the quote unquote confines of the photography world into the larger context of the art world. I think it was probably the most important event for Eggleston in a long, long time."


    Beauty, in the end, is always in the eye of the beholder

  8. #28
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    So what's the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    But now comes the big difference. The earth shaking moment. The holy dipping of the fingers in the fluid filled trays. The sliding of the rigid paper into the wet welcoming receptacle. Is this it?? Is this the magical moment, that transcends digital, in fact life itself. Is this the critical element when one medium attains the cherished level of "art". I'm feeling faint.

    As for making multiple prints. In analog I could make lots of prints that were identical one after the other, in not much of a different way than I do with inkjet. The only real difference is that if I were to go back in a week or year, the digital file would be closer to the original than an analog print would be. But in both cases, I'd probably tweak them slightly because I'm not the same person I was back then. You pay more for Giclee'.

    I'm not an art dealer, but what's the difference if an artist sends the art to be printed with an offset litho printing press vs a Giclee'?

    Most hand made prints have the had hands of the maker in the process. We are humans and it's virtually impossible to make every print exactly the same. To me, that's the difference.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
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  9. #29
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusM3 View Post
    Well, Clive, here are a couple of answers: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...of-old-photos/

    http://www.petapixel.com/2012/03/14/...on-at-auction/

    And the most interesting quote: "Eggleston has been kind of stuck in the old school world of the photography collectors for a long time, whose primary concerns are about process, print type, print date, etcetera. [...] for contemporary art collectors it’s much more about the object itself—they couldn’t care if it’s a dye transfer or a pigment print or whatever, as long as the object itself is totally amazing, that’s what they care about.

    This is an attempt to start a migration of Eggleston from the quote unquote confines of the photography world into the larger context of the art world. I think it was probably the most important event for Eggleston in a long, long time."


    Beauty, in the end, is always in the eye of the beholder
    But again, as we talked about earlier, a "collector" may be the perfect analog client but most people really can't tell or understand the difference in analog and digital and just "like what they like".
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    So maybe we should quit kidding ourselves that the processes are much different at all. They both are a manifestation of a vision we had when we looked at our original subject.
    Amen.

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