Regarding the selling price of prints.
The solarizations that I am making ,are part of a long term project I have been working on.
I have decided to limit the image to 3 versions, the selling price I have in my mind for print only is $2500.00 . framing would be extra.
My reasoning is as follows. I honestly don't think I will sell out this series.
I really don't need the cash to survive from sale of these prints, and due to the complexity of these prints I know nobody else could duplicate them in the future, I am 52 years old now and if they start to sell based on the volume of negatives I know I could not print more than 3 of each negative of this series in my remaining lifetime.
If I get representation and I get 40-50% cut, I would glady keep my price high and print for myself and anyone enjoying my work enough to cough up the selling price.
I am getting tremendous enjoyment from photographing and printing this work, but I am very concience of the cost to do so. If someone wants one of the three , my price is my price.
This argument about $25.00 per print somehow jogs my memory, *I am not sure* but somewhere in Fred Pickers Newsletters*I am not looking for it* there was a piece about Edward Weston and how he made prints to order for some of his famous images.
Orders would come in and he would walk into the darkroom and in an afternoon he would print 100 of the same image and then the would sell for $25.00 . If you do the math , thats a pretty sweet deal if there is DEMAND for your work. $2500.00 for an afternoon.
Somehow I think this is the reasoning of Brooks article,
Inded, Bob. EW sold his prints for $25 but that's equivalent to (roughly) $300 in today's dollars. (I really don't believe he sold prints by the 100s in one afternoon - even in years, though). So Brooks selling his "prints" (or whatever you call these things coming out of Epsons) at $20 would mean EW would have had to sell his prints for what, $1.50 or so? Even way back when, EW knew the folly behind that silly notion.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Also, it wasn't until maybe the late 1960s that photographs were even regarded potentially as items of significant monetary value. This is also true of books and prints, for that matter.
OTOH hand Matt, one cold argue that if he can afford the luxury of not accepting advertisements, then the magazine must be doing pretty well.
Originally Posted by scootermm
What chaps my hide is the somewhat hypocritical behavior. Jensen did not answer when I asked here, why does he not charge $3.00 for his magazine? But he did answer the same question in the LF forum. His response was that Lenswork is not a magazine but a "mini book" because of the inks, paper...blah, blah, blah. Well, lets use his example, lets go to any B&N and ask any person if Lenswork is a magazine or a "mini book" , I bet 99% would say it is a magazine and that it is overpriced. So apparently it is ok for him to charge premium prices for something that he has put a lot of effort, care and expense into, but it is not Ok for us to do the same.
IMO Jensen's editorial and opinion hurt photographers because of a couple of very important reasons. First, $20 prints reinforce the idea that if you buy a camera you are a photographer. Second, the person who buys a print is not buying the paper and micro grams of metal deposited on it (or ink for that matter). They are buying the years of effort it took to develop expertise, craft and talent, and most importantly, the ability of the photographer to show us ordinary things in a special way.
About the $3700 print he mentions, this might be a bad print where the guy is trying to take advantage of the art market. This happens in every profession, we have doctors who do not know their ass from their elbow, but you dont see the AMA saying, "hey, are we charging too much?"
His attitude is like getting into a boxing match and fighting your opponent while your corner man is trying to trip you......
I am glad I never sent any work to Lenswork for consideration, I would have been chagrined if my prints got published in a magazine whose editor believes they are worth $20.....I wonder what his buddy Whitherhill has to say about that...
In all honesty it can be done, but it is not easy. I used to supplement my commercial photography income with fine art print sales. Over a 25 year span, it has slowly shifted to the point where I now do a couple of good commercial jobs a year to supplement the income from my "fine" photographic work. It is not all from print sales however. Licensing and royalties from posters, note cards, books, etc. is a big part.
Originally Posted by Paul Sorensen
Too many photographers out there who see another with representation think that photographer has it made. Nothing could be farther from the truth! It almost always amuses me to read discussions of those with impressions of what it is like to be a photographer with representation. If most really knew, I'm sure they would be chasing a different carrot. Any who think that all but a very few are making a good living doing this are sadly mistaken. Most "successful" photographers doing this that I know also have a spouse or partner with a real day job as well. One very good friend of mine who is a very successful photographer perhaps said it best.... "My wife goes to work... I stay home and hunt for money." ...You do this as a labor of love, not riches.
To me this is not threatening, simply annoying. I have no true knowledge of this, but I would expect that Brooks Jensen has never truly attempted to make a living from his work as a photographer. His writings also exhibit little knowledge of the true workings and transactions of the business of fine photography. Believe me, I am no master or expert in the field, but being a lay person who criticizes and speaks flippantly about the way others grind out their living is no way to gain respect among your peers. The more I become familiar with Brooks and his writings, the more I suspect his positions come from a tiny bit of bitterness among the more noble causes. Something tells me that if his prints were represented by high profile galleries and selling for $3700.00, there would be a lot less criticism and a whole lot more photographing. We will never know.
Originally Posted by Paul Sorensen
Also, Brooks is an entrepreneur with a magazine to sell. Those like him thrive to a degree on controversy and taking positions "for the point of discussion". It brings attention and perhaps sells magazines. I for one prefer to spend my money on publications that don't hide their criticism of my business behind a banner that claims support.
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Considering what he is putting out these days, I'd say that $20 a print is about on par. Have you seen the digital abortions of flowers and other bits? I get the sense he did a bit too much of the 'ole Peytoe in the 60's and it's coming back to haunt him.
Originally Posted by Jorge
Seriously, it strikes me he is facinated with the gradient tool and other things like that in PS, and hasn't gotten past that initial novelty level in his work. Considering the quality of his previous (traditional) work, I find it disappointing that he has been unable to produce quality images digitally without them succumbing to the novelty aspects of digital.
However, I'm sure that the images are much more broadly successful than his previous b&w work, as they probably appeal to many more people, simply because they are in color. When I first saw them in a gallery, I thought, 'These would look great in hotel rooms'. They have that somewhat generic, unassuming and unchallenging feel to them that would do well in that application. I get the impression he is trying to give the Kinkade crowd an aesthetic option. If it works, he'll make a mint doing it.
I saw them in his web site and I agree with your assesment, but I am sure he does not agree and I would bet my bottom dollar that he is not charging $20 for them......So I guess if you are Jensen's buddy it is ok to charge a lot for crappy pictures, but if you are not, then your $3700 print of a leaf is crap and not worth the paper it was printed on...... Imagine that!
Originally Posted by Michael Mutmansky
Well said!! I have some experience with gallery representation, but not nearly at Bill's level. But, I've been involved with it enough to know that everything Bill says is T-R-U-E!! (now, back to work at my Day Job...)
Originally Posted by billschwab
2013 Workshop Schedule Online
Brooks Jensen’s article “Trolling for Fools” is one-side, irresponsible, and unjust to the art photography and collector community. I believe editors of a wide distributed magazine take on amazing responsibilities for doing a proper job on choosing content that is well thought out and researched. Brooks words are not worthy as a magazine article but as a one-sided rant. It’s his personal business to rant all he wants, but when you have such a large community and audience that is vast in many different kinds of photographs, techniques, and markets, I find it irresponsible to take on such a role to dictate market prices.
If Brooks’s rant was worthy of a thought out article, he would have shown both sides of the story. One would think a 10 page article would cover reasons why some photographers charge what they charge. Instead he inputs long and irrelevant facts about the world economy. He never once mention any contrast between different types of products.
If you stand back and over look the rant you will notice:
…If you are spending more than I think you should, you are a fool…
…My 8x10 photographs are $20.00, and all 8x10 photographs should be price the same…
…Here is some useless facts about the economy..
…By the way, if you can’t find a $20.00 8x10 -- “Oh, and I almost forgot, my website is www.brooksjensarts.com - just in case.”
All of the above are my words expressing what I think Brooks is tying to say, except the last quote. These are Brooks’s finishing words in his 10 page rant.
Lets take a market that photographers generally do not know much about…let’s say… the magazine market.
Let’s pretend and say we are in a large book store with other customers looking at magazines. Let’s also say there are just as many customers in the store as subscribers to Brooks’s magazine. We are looking among hundreds of magazines, and we come across LensWork. Now this magazine looks different, it is smaller, heavier, very well printed , unique in its own way. Now I don’t know much about the magazine market, but it looks like someone spent some time and hard work because it looks pretty fine. You look at the price and WOW it’s almost twice as much as the others. I will buy it anyway…I LOVE the content and I find it WORTH it.
NOW -- A loud voice comes over the speakers in the book store -- “You are a fool if you buy a magazine for over $ 5.00”. Then goes to explain useless facts about the world economy. Finishes by speaking “Oh, and I almost forgot, I have $5 magazines on my side of the store”
I put the magazine down, because I don’t want to feel like a fool.
Thanks to good photographers and their hard work and products, buyers know the difference .
Ps.. I feel like a fool because I purchase a magazine that is “Trolling for Fools” by charging twice as much. Won’t do that again.
Originally Posted by Kerik
That was the basic thrust of my post last month on the LF Forum when this debate came up.
Surprisingly, it was the one post that actually got Brooks to come out of the shadows and respond to the criticism. What he said, however, was not a satisfactory rational for his position, and he failed to respond when I challenged his thinking, so I guess it must come down to his essay being a bit of a rant after all.
I've let my subscription lapse, because of his declared bias toward digital as the solution to all problems, and this rant against photographers was the final nail.
I don't want to insult people who read Lenswork, but more and more, I get the impression that the magazine is geared toward wannabees. I don't just mean photographers, but wannabee collectors as well. I guess the people who aren't trying to do it won't find an article like that objectionable, but anyone who is trying to sell their photographs and maintain a level of self worth and dignity will find his writing at least partially offensive.
A real collector will find that essay offensive as well, as they are generally willing to spend money on images that apparently Brooks finds absurd.
Let me revise my statement a bit, he is trying to create a photography art market that rejects class divisions, and is rejecting the implicit selectivity that a piece of art has when it is priced above the average amount that people spend on a dinner out. The problem is that the 'typical' human has no interest in his effforts, and would rather have the Budweiser girls on the wall (or worse, spend much, much more on a Kinkade) than a $20 print of his.
The issues of class in art have been bandied about for centuries. It is an irrelevent argument because there will always be class seperations despite attempts by people like Brooks to destroy them. The second an aesthetic movement becomes mainstream (becoming accepted or understood by the majority classes), it becomes kitsch, and the class divisions (which are carefully maintained by those who are at the top) move on to another, leaving behind the mainstream.
I wish there were a magazine with the production quality of Brook's that has great images and didn't have an agenda like his. It would also be nice if they appreciated something other than a square or 4:3 rectangle, and if they were willing to consider alternative process photographers worthy of publication. I think that would take the best of his magazine and eliminate the worst and be a GREAT magazine to subscribe to.