I think it was an article in Photo District News, and the justification for it was that if you were buying art that was also investment grade, then editions of more than ten were just not limited enough. It's rather specious logic, but that was what they were saying. I don't know why ten is just so much more limited than fifteen, or twenty, and how it became THE magic number, but that was the report in the article.
Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
The whole idea of the limited edition is that you DON'T print more, once the edition is done. If you sell the entire edition, and didn't make enough money, then raise your prices next series.
The driving force behind destroying the negative in some way (or at least rendering it unprintable with a hole-punch or scratching an X through it or something) is to make buyers feel comfortable that you're not making more prints of it, so they're willing to pay more to buy the print, because they KNOW that once #10 or whatever is sold, there will truly be NO MORE COPIES made. It's just another trick to "add value".
I'm "stickifying" this thread, as I consider it far too valuable to be allowed to "sink" to the later pages.
I'll amend the thread title too, to better reflect the full range of the discussion.
I would also like to encourage any of the participants here to condense and/or expand it into an article.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Talk about an all night party!
Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.
Originally Posted by blaze-on
Though I have sold most of my work at Art Shows rather than galleries, I have work that continues to sell for over 9 years. My editions are printed off of a Chromira (or even a LightJet) with an edition size of 250 of all sizes that make up the edition. Some images are available in as many as 5-7 sizes and the public determines the number of copies sold of each size (it is a running total). I have many more than a dozen images that have sold 30 or more copies. In fact, I have many images that have sold 60 to 80 copies; a number that have sold 80 to 100, and 2 that have sold over 100 copies. In fact 2 images as far as I know have generated over $50,000 in sales and there are quite a number that have generated $25,000 to $35,000 in sales.
Additionally, with my first meeting with a gallery they did not have any argument regarding the edition size. We are presently in negotiation, but will have to adjust my pricing across the board so that I am able to sell both through Art shows and galleries (the prices will be increasing substantially).
Last edited by naturephoto1; 12-29-2006 at 08:52 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Actually AIPAD (Association for International Photographic Art Dealers) guidlines, "On Collecting Photographs" allow for varried editions at different sizes and in special portfolios. I don't have the guidebook in hand, so maybe someone with one in their grasp can be more specific. It is a very good booklet to have and can be ordered from their website I believe. Basically it means you can offer one edition at a size of 8 x 10 and another at say 11 x 14.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
Last edited by billschwab; 12-29-2006 at 11:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Bill - I understand and agree about the AIPAD rule - I was just explaining the rationale behind destroying the negative after the edition(s) is/are finished. If you are declaring a single edition of a single size in a single media, then many collectors will expect that once the edition is sold out, the negative gets FUBAR'ed.
Originally Posted by billschwab
I think the AIPAD guidebook is a good set of rules to abide by - unfortunately, there are photographers without ethics on the one side, and clueless patrons who don't understand editioning on the other, and make it harder for everyone else.
Then again...one need not climb aboard the gallery driven treadmill quest for fame.
In life, my wife and I have always chosen 'happy and humble' over 'get rich at all costs'. I could be making over double my current wage working in the local aluminum smelter or paper mill, but that would mean shift work and I couldn't walk my daughter home from kindergarten every day for lunch, and I wouldn't come home from work in a good mood.
I think I'd be happy enough selling in some local museums and through a website to make enough money to cover material costs + a bit more for some little extra's, such as adding to our daughters RESP (registered education savings plan).
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
That seems valid for those who enjoy money and merchandising more than doing photography. However, it would deprive friends and neighbors the pleasure of owning my photos, too great a sacrifice. It would also have denied the world much of the genius of Eugene Atget, Edward Weston, Gene Smith, and many others. Photography means galleries to some, pictures in print to journalists, creativity to artists, wedding gigs to others, and snapshots to millions. Inexpensive quality prints at local venues can be satisfying, too. There's room enough for all of us.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
Or brave persons could universally chuck the limited edition artifice. I find the idea of defacing my best negatives to create an artificial scarcity after I have pulled ten prints from them, repulsive.
I much more favor the "vintage" notion, where the negative date and the print date fall within the same year. Prints after the first year are no longer "vintage."
I usually make only 5-10 prints from a given negative anyway, but I find the concept of cerimoniously wrecking my negatives a bit silly, and I have better things to do than keep track of the total printing amounts for umpty negatives. My prints are already "rare" without my pretending so. If my son can print from my negatives for some bucks, years from now, great.
As far as being in the back of B&W as a "wannabe" I would just say it has been a very cost effective promotion, and that selling prints has far more to do with effective promotion in as many ways as possible, than what venue or venues your prints are marketed in. That little statement is what has been missing from this thread. Make a name- sell many prints. Be a nobody- sell few prints. Very few photographers have ever made it big by accident, but there are plenty of photographers better than me who sell very few prints because they simply can't stomach self promotion.
I'm J Brunner-Buy my prints- They are nice.
Last edited by JBrunner; 12-29-2006 at 10:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.
You can say that again Murray. Like I said before, in this business the bank account rarely matches the fame. If you've got a good job that feeds your family... keep it. Those of us that don't are left to run that treadmill. From my perspective, anyone not independantly wealthy that would quit a good livelyhood to do this has not fully thought it through. Best to keep it as a hobby, avocation or passion. If you can sell a few prints on the side to feed your habit, all the better.
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Edition or not, I would NEVER deface a negative.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
I certainly never meant that disrespectfully. I am extremely happy to hear that it has worked out for you as I have not heard of much success with those ads. Congratulations!
Originally Posted by JBrunner