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  1. #1
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Posters or ... Art????

    I recently got an offer through a rep that markets my work to the printed matter world... posters, cards, etc. It is from a huge seller of home items that I will not divulge. What they are interested in from me is to be part of a "test" market for signed and numbered "giclees". When I asked why I should help in putting a product out there that will directly compete with and undercut myself, the answer was this. "They are not to be sold as posters, but also not to be sold as real photographs. Something in-between". In any event, they want me to agree to sign 250 of them which will in turn be framed and sold through ??? for 3-400.00 dollars a piece. My take? Twenty dollars for every one sold.

    When I balked, they tried to sweeten the deal by saying that the only other photographer to sign-on so far is Imogen Cunningham... or her "trust". It would be pretty hard for Imogen to give her OK. Something tells me she would not be happy about this move on her behalf. Anyway... So far, I have told them no, but they have not taken that as a final answer and want to meet with me further on this. They asked what I wanted and I asked that they define what "not a poster, but not a photograph" means if it is to be considered collectable art. In my mind a "giclee" IS a poster. Sure it is on nicer paper, but it is nothing more than a poster. What is the difference? I also told them that if they wanted to act like "art dealers" they should pay like art dealers. Fifty percent or nothing. I feel this is nothing more that the big guys trying to cash-in on the art gallery market and try to pass-off posters of recognized artists as real art simply because they are signed.

    I put this out here for discussion. I'm interested to hear what others think about this. What would you do faced with a similar situation?

    Bill

  2. #2
    reellis67's Avatar
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    I'd like to be on their end of that deal - $380 per sale for them?!?

    Seriously though, regardless of what Imogen's trust is doing, I wouldn't take that deal based on the return to you. Sure, they have expenses getting them printed, framed, and distributed, and what not, but still, that's one hell of a gallery charge.

    In your position, I would certainly tell them 'This is what I expect to make per item - period' If they are willing to pay that, then fine, if not, no big loss.

    - Randy

  3. #3
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Maybe you can think of them as another form of poster, then go for a much bigger piece of the pie, and agree to initial them only!

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  4. #4

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    I wonder if it would undercut your gallery sales. These would be cheaper yet not really the price of a poster.

    My take on it is you have more to loose then to gain from this.
    George Losse
    www.georgelosse.com

  5. #5
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Wait a minute...$300.00 to $400.00? That's way too much. Try and talk them down, if you go for it.

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  6. #6

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    hi bill

    sounds like they want to take you for a walk down the path ...
    i would say no, unless they give you 50% ..

    - john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  7. #7

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    The sad thing is that many will take the offer screwing the rest of us just like the photo stock market where now the norm has become royality free images.

    I am really sick of this type of behavior. Everything in their power to discredit artist and their work. I would tell them 60% me 40% you off full price. Take it or leave it. The problem is the mentality that one editor spews out that more than $50 for a image is too much. I am still waiting for the magazine to get to real people prices of ten to twenty cents an issues just like back when Edward Weston was alive as that is a real people price also.

    Really irritates me to the umph degree.

  8. #8
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Would you agree to machine prints on RC and larger cut?

    My concern is that 1) they are misrepresenting the product; 2) they are being greedy. As for no.2: If you assume that the framing and matting costs 75.00; that they will pay Bill up front regardless of sales; Then they are therefore taking a greater risk and maybe justified in paying Bill 'First Cost.' First cost might be anywhere from 75.00 to 100.00 (~25% of retail).

    Item one is where I have the bulk of my concerns. Posters and machine printed RC prints may look good, but aren't often mistaken for the original. If the sales rap on these include all of the buzz words, archival, carbon pigment, giclees then it is proabably a misrepresentation. If Bill sells a 4x5 pt/pd contact print for 200.00 then why would I not be willing to pay 300.00 or 400.00 for a 16x20 fancy archival, carbon pigment, giclee and skip the tiny little brown print?

    My advice: get more money upfront and the right to approve or reject the marketing pitch.
    Last edited by jd callow; 02-07-2007 at 03:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.

    *

  9. #9
    Sean's Avatar
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    I would sell standard posters unsigned http://www.allposters.com/
    And real prints signed. This new in-between market they are trying to create makes no sense to me other than filling their wallet..

  10. #10
    billschwab's Avatar
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    I appreciate the input on this everyone. Thank you. I do feel that it would do more harm than good in the long run. It will be interesting to see who goes for it... someone alive I mean!

    In fairness, I have allowed several of my prints to be made into posters that are popping up everywhere it seems. Still, they are nothing more than posters and haven't proved to be any direct threat to real prints sales. The fact some are framed and passed off as something more bothers me a bit, but at least they are not sold as original art as these would be.

    Bill

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