how to price prints

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by jim_chow, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. For those of you who sell fine art print, how to you price them? I
    realize it would be dependent on the medium (oil pigment, Ilfochrome
    Classic, Lightjet 5000) and, obviously, the print size. Do you charge
    a certain price per square inch for that certain medium? Reason I ask
    is, I have someone who wants to purchase a print from me, but since I
    don't do this as a normal business, I don't know what the market
    rates are.
     
  2. Try around one dollar per square inch, for a fine quality Ilfochrome or Lightjet print.
     
  3. Prices are generally a function of your reputation in the field in
    reference to the broader market for photographs. If you are totally
    unknown, you might start at around $200/$250 for a great 8x10 print.
    But the right price for you might be anywhere from $100 to $400. There
    is no right answer that can be given to you. I am talking here about
    fine gelatin silver prints. If you are doing digital prints, start at
    around $29 if you are totally unknown. Digital prints do not yet have
    the high quality of fine silver prints, and are not as collectible.
    They are more like very fine reproduction prints.
     
  4. High quality LightJet prints are just as collectible as them precious silver prints. It only depends who is the photographer and how exceptional the image is, and not that what kind of rag it is on. Boring, uninspiring images printed on “Gelatin Silver” paper are still boring and uninspiring. Just get used to digital!
     
  5. Hmmmmm. I guess the elevation of one's horse is relative to the zeal one has for a particular medium. While your enthusiasm for digital is noteworthy, Geoffrey, your comments seem to run counter to the attitudes of most galleries that cater to collectors. Perhaps that has something to do with the idea of a one-of-a-kind print compared to a digital that can be reproduced any number of times with no human-based variations.
     
  6. Mr. Smith is correct. I prowl the fine art shows in my area, listen to the viewers and talk with some vendors about their preferences and experiences. Generally speaking prospective customers expect to pay less for prints that are more "easily" reproduced, such as inkjet, Iris and giclee prints, or even the more traditional reproductions using lithography. Knowing the work that goes into making an original watercolor, oil painting or gelatin silver print (or other light sensitive print) I would expect to pay more.

    Yes, the image would have to appeal to me first. That's a given. "Getting used" to digital won't cut it with many buyers who regard art as both investment and aesthetic addition to their lives. I've never cared for acrylics as a painting medium and wouldn't invest in one. I feel the same about digital output. I have great respect for watercolor and oil painting. Ditto prints on light sensitive materials produced by traditional means. And in the end all that matters is the buyer's preference, not what the artist believes is an equal or superior medium.
     
  7. Most people cannot tell if an image is a digital print or a silver based print - but then again most people do not understand classic art, modern art, go to art museums, read about masters of painting, or read Shakespeare for that matter.

    Digital imaging has come along way for sure and there is no doubt that a new medium will mature using digital technology. At the moment digital prints try to "catch up" or be like traditional silver based prints - which in my opinion is a mistake.

    It is also true that the best made silver print does not guarantee it being a work of art. After all it is the content - the vision that is important.

    Like Michael mentions above your print prices may be anywhere from $100 - to $400 for starters. Or from $50 to $1000 - it all depends on you, your images, and how well you represent yourself - and how bad the buyer wants to get your print! :)
     
  8. Michael, just so you know, Digital color photographic prints made by Andreas Gursky are selling in the range of a quarter-million dollars, and recently have been featured in solo exhibitions at MoMA in New York, San Francisco, and at several similar venues in Europe. By most standards, this kind of reception in the art world would be sufficient evidence that digital prints can be accepted as fine art. The more important question is the value of the images they contain; THAT is what determines if a print is a piece of art, regardless of whether the medium is gelatin silver or digital inkjet or any other medium for that matter. David Hockney's "Pearblossom Highway" was constructed from several rolls of 4x6 prints he had made at a drugstore, and that piece is valued at something like $25 million. Subhankar Banerjee's digital photographic prints have been shown in a solo exhibit at the Smithsonian, and shortly will open at the New York Natural History Museum and other museums all over the country in a travelling exhibit. His prints aren't available for purchase yet, but when they are, it is expected they will fetch $20,000 or more. Ed Burtinsky's digital prints start at $7500. Do I need to keep going here?
     
  9. This is a frustrating subject. I see many , too many photographers pricing by size of the print. That ignores the creative ability. I have seen the same image done 8x10 for $40 and then enlarged to 30x40 fo $1,500. Ridiculous. The same creative ability went into both. The artist creates and that is what the Value is. The size is just a matter of how the purchasing client wants to display it.

    Next, The Uniqueness of the image. If you do it digitally there is a preception that you will turn out thousands by letting the machinery run. You the Creative Artist must commit to only "x" many of that image. So a one off is worth more than one of 1000. Polariods are the most unique.

    Do not under price your prints please.
    As to Ed B. His work is great but I tried his lab and they blew my pics. They didn't dust the negs and the colour and focus were off. He said the same printer that did his work did mine. So I abandoned his lab and found one that did it perfect.

    Maybe he just wanted his 8x10 art to be the best and I was competetion? I don't know. Just guessing.

    (Message edited by mod to remove shouting and excessive exclamation marks..)
     
  10. Alright, alright, settle down...

    Didn't Jim have a question that needed answering, not a bunch of pontificating about so-and so who gets some museum with deep pockets to cough up some dough for their work?

    I think we all wrestle with what price to sell work for initially. It is a very subjective point. I would say that looking at your true costs of producing the piece (materials, time, effort etc...) as well as whatever markup you think is appropriate, is a good starting point.

    Initially I feel most people would rather sell more piece affordably than to price themselves out of any market when they're starting.

    Galleries aside, I think that most people feel a hand-made product is more valueable than a machine made product. People also feel that a big print is worth more than a small print, but is it really? I'm not saying that it's correct, just that it does happen. For the most part digital does not have the REPUTATION of lasting quality and therefore doesn't have a perceived value YET.
     
  11. While some digital prints are selling for high prices that is not the norm, and I suspect it has to do with more with hype than substance. Having seen Gurky's work I would not pay $100 for one of those prints, let alone the thousands of dollars, but that is me.

    To answer your question, I recently purchased a print by Les Mclean, a british photographer. I paid $175 and choose to have it done in 5x7 size. When I inquired about the print, Les told me I could have it in any size up to 16x20 since in his experience it took him the same amount of time to do a 5x7 or a 16x20 and as a matter of fact the print was made on a 11x14 piece of paper. At least in this case size should not matter. Now, the first print I sold I charged $125 and it was an 11x14 silver print. Dont worry about size, at least in silver printing the price difference between an 8x10 or a 16x20 piece of paper is not that great. I would say a fair price for an archival processed silver print directly marketed would be in the range of $125 to $175. Congratulations on your first sale and I wish you many more...
     
  12. >>Galleries aside, I think that most people feel a hand-made product is more valueable than a machine made product.<<

    A Light Jet digital print *is* a hand made print. All the 'hand made' adjustments (dodging, burning, unsharp mask, etc.) are still performed by the artist/photographer. The only difference is that they are made in Photoshop and not in the darkroom. Frankly, it's almost a bit Orwellian that one would think detrimental variations in production quality from print to print could be thought of as valuable. That's one of the bigger slices of DoubleThink I've come across.
     
  13. A Light Jet digital print *is* a hand made print. All the 'hand made' adjustments (dodging, burning, unsharp mask, etc.) are still performed by the artist/photographer. The only difference is that they are made in Photoshop and not in the darkroom.
    By this definition then all lithographs, posters and book reproductions are "hand made"...no?
     
  14. I’ll go with Joe and try and answer the original question. The variables are;

    The medium (apart from those in the art market stratosphere who could probably sell toilet paper for $0.5M) – all aesthetic things being equal, a platinum print will sell for more than a silver print, will sell for more than an inkjet. If you print the work yourself that is a bonus, some (myself included) might say a given.

    The photographer, or at least the name, the reputation the photographer has (even if it’s only locally), the better known you are the more you can charge. A great deal of that is track record, how many exhibitions have you had, etc.

    Then there is the market and that’s just simple supply and demand. If you don’t sell anything your priced too high, if you can’t get out of the darkroom (or in Geoffrey’s case the light jet printer is running hot) then you’ve priced too low.

    The content, the vision, the style and technical quality, you would like to think, makes a difference, unfortunately it doesn’t necessarily work that way.

    I do totally agree with Edward, don’t under price yourself. I would say look at the actual cost of a print for you – materials and chemicals, think of the time you take to produce the image and that is a good starting point for pricing, maybe $100 or $200 depending on how precious your own time might be. Below that value you know it’s not worth your while printing the image and be content not selling at this stage.

    Good luck with the print sales!
     
  15. Do you really believe people buy a print based on how exactly their print matches the next one? Maybe that's the allure of computers... That they can all be perfect because they are the same. That seems to me to be a more backward way of looking at it than my comment on hand-made!

    How's this for an example...

    If I was to build a piece of furniture that I built myself with hand cut dovetails and a hand rubbed finish...

    or

    I built a piece a furniture that I plugged a bunch of CAD drawings into a computer and it spat out all the parts on a CNC machine...

    If I was a great woodworker and If people wanted my work, which do you feel would be worth more? The Computer guided one? It's certainly the same as the last piece... And it's probably built a little better because it's exact, but somehow I don't think it's WORTH more... The really VALUEable one is the one that's built BY the artist.

    What I'm saying is that people FEEL there is an intrisic value to a piece knowing that the artist did it themselves, using their hands. Sure, people will pay big bucks for a digital print, but the mastery of hand techniques (no that doesn't mean the index finger on the mouse, or CTRL+Z) still holds value with people. That includes me! Having something that someone made from the start vs. some sort of print that they only signed at the end still holds value these days.

    I have photoshop skills and can work on a print till the cows come home, but nothing makes me prouder than the photos I make by hand.
     
  16. To answer the original question, I agree with starting at $125-175. I under-priced some of the first stuff I sold (which was very recently) and soon realized the demand would have been willing to support such a price (maybe a bit lower). It's then tough to explain to people why the price for something doubled over night (unless you die, of course).

    As to the question of the "individuality" and "hand-made" attributes of "traditional" silver-gelatin prints versus the "identicality" (making up a word here) of digital prints, I look at it in the same way as wood working. Although plywood is in many ways a superior product to solid wood, and certainly has its place even amongst fine furniture, there is a premium to be paid for solid wood that is above and beyond just the difference in material price and any associated extra labor. It's the individuality and uniqueness of the final product that attracts the "true believers". Sure, the digital print has had the same manipulations done, but it was done once, not for every individual print. Factory-made furniture was designed once as well, but, with a few exceptions, the premium is for hand-made, unique pieces. Just my 2 cents.
     
  17. Bravo E.M.! Digital (LightJets, etc.) prints require just as much artistic vision and work from the photographer as in the B&W medium. Only the tools are different!
    As for mass producing prints, B&W can be just as easily made in quantities from enlarged negatives that had all the dodging burning etc. done to. This by itself is not justifying much higher prices, besides even the LightJet exposed paper is developed in chemicals just as all those “traditional” prints. So what is the difference? Snobbish attitudes perhaps?
     
  18. B&W can be just as easily made in quantities from enlarged negatives that had all the dodging burning etc.
    Very true, lens work magazine does that on their special edition prints, but then they are priced significantly lower than the same prints done by hand by the artist. Wonder why that is?.....must be snobishness..
     
  19. Handmade? One did not make the camera, the lens, the film, the enlarger , the paper, and the chemicals. It is true that one does load film manually, hauls all that heavy gear to the top of the mountain or wherever. It is also true that one sets up the camera, composes and then trips the shutter, manually mind you!

    Then again, most take their film to be developed by a lab. Now for the real handwork! One puts the film into the enlarger (if he is a saintly traditional) and dodging and burning until blue in the face, followed by some work with chemicals! Whoop-ti-doo!

    Even most of the subjects are stumbled upon and not created/assembled by anyone. So why are we so proud of our photographs? Because we were the ones who saw the image in something most people would just walk by. We had the vision! All the rest is just hocus-pocus!
     
  20. One puts the film into the enlarger (if he is a saintly traditional) and dodging and burning until blue in the face, followed by some work with chemicals! Whoop-ti-doo!
    yep..on each and every print, thus the term hand made....now depending on how many beers I have had I might turn red in the face...but never blue...I think the ones from royal blood do turn blue in the face, but they are snobish so they dont count...
     
  21. >>yep..on each and every print, thus the term hand made<<

    No, no. Hand made is when you use glass plates and coat each plate with the emulsion by hand, like a real artist! Don't you guys know anything? :)
     
  22. I'm more than well aware that digital prints by Gursky and others sell
    for big bucks. I thought one sold for $650,000 plus.

    I also know well that digital prints are here to stay and that over
    time they will get better and better. But as others have pointed out
    far better than I could have, there is something that people do value
    about hand-made objects--each one hand-made one at a time. Of course
    the eye, heart, brain, and hand go into the making of a digital
    print--but essentially, only once. That is not the case when making a
    print from an original negative, not from a copy negative nor from an
    enlarged negative. When making a print from an original negative, each
    one is done one at a time and the thought processes must be repeated
    each time.

    That people value these one-at-a-time objects more than multiple
    copies of the same object is the way it is. This discussion is not
    about what should be or how anyone would like things to be, it is
    about the way people respond. Sure, there are some who do not care and
    will pay much money for a Gursky, but that is not true of the general
    population.

    To Jim Chow. The real final answer is that you should charge what you
    think it is worth to you to do the work to make the print--however you
    are going to make it. The numbers I and others gave you are only
    suggestions, but none of us can know what your work is worth to you.
     
  23. Is the labor required to produce a product an intrinsic part of its value?

    If it is, why don't we charge more for a print where we had to travel farther, and carry the camera a greater distance?

    The rise of digital techniques in photography is generating a great amount of debate, and will continue to do so into the future.

    We are at a point where you can add digital components into your print production and achieve results that are (debateably) equal to (or superior to) traditional methods when evaluated on "technical" merits, such as archival life, color range, tonality, resolution, sharpness, etc.

    At this point, the debate really boils down to marketing: what does the art buyer perceive as "better" or "more valuable"?

    Both sides will start their propaganda machines: traditional printers will rave on about "hand-crafted"; digital printers will befuddle the listener with talk of how digital allows them to better "achieve a vision", and "have greater control". While there are massive similarities between the two processes, each side will focus on the little details that differ, and blow them up to huge proportions.

    In the end, you have a bunch of colors or tones on the surface of a flat piece of paper, that will last for a certain number of years. Maybe there is a limited number of pieces of paper produced.

    The final product has its own value. Everything upstream, such as how big your camera is, how much work went into capturing the image, the method and labor that went into its production, and who produced it, is not significant. If the print cannot stand on its own without all of this context, then what you are selling is not the print, but the context of the print.

    How to price it depends on one thing: how much is someone willing to pay for it?

    No matter what medium you use, the goal of marketing is to convince the customer that your product is worth the price. Talking about "the craft" or "the process" or "the technology" is marketing. Explaining "the labor involved" is marketing. Making your name "famous" is marketing. The comments in this thread that have been characterized as "snobbish" are yet another form of marketing.

    You can believe that your marketing slogans are truth, but, at the end of the day, they are just marketing. The only truth is the product. But, these days, in many ways, marketing is more important than the product.
     
  24. $100 per " was the advice given to me...
     
  25. As for digital prints being worth more or less than silver or platinum prints - if the photograph is good and you market yourself well and make your own name (as you must) no one cares what it's printed on.
     
  26. I don't tell people if my prints are Lightjets printed for me by a technician from a digital file or enlarger prints printed for me be a technician in the lab. They are just dye coupler/chromogenic prints - they don't need to know anything else. The printing is just a technical process I pay someone else to do to relieve the tedium of it.

    People pay for the image, not the paper.
     
  27. "People pay for the image, not the paper."

    Actually, many collectors do value the paper, or whatever substrate is used. That's why Daguerrotypes bring a premium. And certain processes such as albumen, platinum/palladium and others will as well from knowledgable collectors. The image itself doesn't have to be outstanding for the entire piece to have considerable value to at least a niche market. And the entire market for fine art photography *is* a niche market.
     
  28. “Very true, lens work magazine does that on their special edition prints, but then they are priced significantly lower than the same prints done by hand by the artist. Wonder why that is?.....must be snobishness..”

    YES!
     
  29. “Very true, lens work magazine does that on their special edition prints, but then they are priced significantly lower than the same prints done by hand by the artist. Wonder why that is?.....must be snobishness..”

    You have to admit it is a good marketing strategy: Introduce a lower-priced version of your product; market it as somehow inferior to your high-priced, high-profit product; use that to justify the higher price on the high-margin product.

    Lots of customers will want the high-priced product because they are sold on the concept that it has more value, or is more "collectible", and so on. You might also make some money on the low-priced product, but, even if you sell zero units, it has served its purpose.

    Am I cynical or what? :)
     
  30. Lots of customers will want the high-priced product because they are sold on the concept that it has more value, or is more "collectible", and so on. You might also make some money on the low-priced product, but, even if you sell zero units, it has served its purpose.
    I think they make more money on the low priced product, when you consider the gallery take, the time spent doing the print etc, I am sure they will tell you it is more profitable to make the serial prints from a "perfect" neg a la Lens Work.
    Geoffrey, I am sure you are not a snob, so next time you submit your work to a gallery tell them you are doing ink jet prints and that you can make thousands the same....I am sure they will jump at the opportunity to show your work...:))
     
  31. Photographs of living artists for 250.000, 650.000$ ?
    Today I visited Sotheby's and saw Lichtensteins lithographs between 40.000 and 60.000 a piece and a pastel by Degas estimated at 8.000.000-12.000.000$.

    I N S A N E!
    (Remember the Crazy Eddy?)
     
  32. I'm going to agree with Michael: Its all marketing. That said, if you want to make money with your photographs, learn to market yourself whatever medium you choose. If you make platinum prints, market that aspect, if you make large inkjet prints, market those. All these mediums have ways they can be effectively marketed. The debate between which is better, traditional prints or digital, is irrelevant. Its how well you market. I'm not even sure it has so much to do with how "good" your prints are. That's such a subjective area, and there are so many different genres you can target.
     
  33. Just my 2 cents, some of you like digital - fine go for it and enjoy, others of us enjoy the traditional darkroom - we like it. Why does it always have to end in a debate - they are both art to someone, but I think the question got lost a little. I have the greatest respect for Michael and would listen to what advice he has to offer, and even if I disagree there is no reason to be hatefull. I think that the current wisdom of gallery owners, collectors, etc is that over all digital is not where traditional is - but then neither is color vs B&W. That is not an opinion, just where things stand today. Next week, next year this could all change - BUT aren't we all glad that at least photography is given more attention by the gallery owners, museums,etc than it used to be? Price your work based on given market for your work. Look at other work like your own, see what people are paying (not asking) for like work. Ask for and listen to the advice of people that have gone through the process...

    But then that is still my 2 cents (or was that more like a dimes worth)
     
  34. No, no. Hand made is when you use glass plates and coat each plate with the emulsion by hand, like a real artist! Don't you guys know anything? :)
    That is a hand made negative not a hand made print....jeez, dont you know anything?...:)
     
  35. Most of the answers here have been given by photographers who themselves either sell prints or wish they could sell prints. Although I am a photographer myself, I don't sell any prints, but have been known to buy one know and then, so I will speak from the perspective of a buyer.

    First and foremost, I buy the image. Second, I buy the person who made the image, and third, I buy the material that the image was made on.

    As someone else once said, they would buy a great image made by edward weston even if it was printed on a floor mat, and to tell you the truth, If I could buy Pepper #30 as printed by Mr. Weston on a floor mat I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    As for the price I would pay, money is no object in the valuation of the piece. I could certainly agree that an image was worth $100 or $1000 or $100,000. But my financial circumstances might limit me to only being able to afford $50.

    Therefore, in direct answer to your question Jim, as you start out selling your prints, why not take a rather novel approach by attempting to see what people can afford to pay you for the print, and then charging them that much. Maybe not for a long period of time, but just to start. People may desire one of your prints very much, but may just not have the amount of money that you are asking for the print, and therefore may not buy it. Personally, if I were starting out I would much much much rather have people own my prints at a price they could afford rather than have nobody own my prints because I thought they were worth more than people could afford to pay. I am probably safe in stating that there can be absolutely no doubt that the monetary aspect of your photography is important to you but do not forget that there are other things that are very important as well, such as the internal pride that you might feel in knowing that others value your vision enough to want to trade their time (in the form of money) for your vision, and the internal pride in having communicated with another human being through a visual language.

    Bottom line. Ask the person how much they value the print and sell it to them for that, and then see how you feel after awhile. If you feel you got the short end of the stick, raise your prices. If you feel good in what you did, or if you feel you want to reach a wider audience with your message, then keep your prices low for awhile until your name is better known, and then raise your prices.

    Kevin
     
  36. I agree that content is the key (Volquatz, Swenson)... the subject of content merits itself another long threat... but...

    ...but Mr Swenson, Sir, where I came from they don't teach Art based on "snobism"...they still teach hand drawing, watercolor, oil painting. woodcraft, music etc... they don't teach the students how to take a picture and redraw it, they don't teach scanning a photo a click on a photoshop watercolor filter, improvising a melody based on a few notes on computer and so on...

    Mr Swenson, they don't teach Art based on ignorance of people. Too bad if people don't see the difference between a fiber based print and a machine print. There's no substitute for a real fiber base silver print or platinum print. If price is a concern for hanging something on a wall, then a poster will fit the bill... why bother..? it's big and cheap...

    Mr Swenson, you may owned and tried a darkroom and disgusted by it or you may never own one... but calling the prints from darkroom "snobism" is too far...You are now satisfied what you do in photography, good for you...

    Evolution, technology are good... they all serve their purposes... but pasting name on Art to people that doing it by their choice is not good. Back then in photography, what is "snobism" beside recording a scene on film and print it on paper...?

    Mr Swenson, they teach me (and later I teach others) Art... now.. what will you call oil painting, water color, music composition ?
     
  37. WOW! Jim what a thread to start! It’s made some fantastic reading.

    We are not really comparing apples with apples here. Indeed Andreas Gursky sells for huge amounts, as do Damian Hurst, Tracy Emin, et al. This is an all-together different market; it’s driven by hype fuelled by money, the desire to be famous and probably a few other things. The concept is the “thing” not the content or technique – it’s the packaging not the present.

    What the majority of us here work to is the opposite, if nobody took an interest or purchased anything we would still work away and produce images. Many artists have worked this way and only become famous (and expensive) long after death. We don’t do it for the money, if someone likes what we do and wants to purchase, great.

    The other side of this equation is the collector; again you can choose to compare apples with oranges. There are collectors like Charles Saatchi, lots of money and keen to promote whose “in”, to be “in” themselves. I’m not sure they purchase entirely out of love for the item. Art as an investment is possibly a higher motivation for some.

    There are the institutional (like the Getty) and wealthy (like Elton John) collectors that just distort the market, they pay as much as it takes to get their Pepper #30.

    There are also those who buy what they like and what they can afford. If it is “worthless” on the art market then that’s not a problem because the individual is happy and content living with the image on their wall. If it makes money, great but they probably wouldn’t sell anyway.

    I’ll avoid the inkjet vs fine art print argument, the market will decide - no matter what we do!
     
  38. No, no. Hand made is when you use glass plates and coat each plate with the emulsion by hand, like a real artist! Don't you guys know anything? :)
    That is a hand made negative not a hand made print....jeez, dont you know anything?...:)

    Jorge,

    LOL My point was that at some point in the process you're going to be using mass produced materials. Insterting a 'hand made' process at the print stage instead of say the negative stage or some other stage is arbitrary at best. Why not value a print more if it was made from one of Ron Wisner's hand made view cameras and not a mass produced Toyo?

    By the way, I"m still waiting for the name of photographer who makes a fine art print via digital methods, offers it to a gallery or perhaps has the work hanging in a gallery and then goes off and secrectly runs off 'thousands' of identical copies to flood the market! This is a straw man argument.
     
  39. To put it simply, in a photograph only two things matter the content and the quality of the print, materials notwithstanding. To print via the traditional darkroom is very commendable. I did not say that was snobbish, for it is not by itself but to put down other processes because they are new and unfamiliar (or threatening) to you is. What is also snobbish is to base a pick between two photographs indistinguishable in materials and appearance and from the same photographer because one was printed by “easier” means. I am not talking posters here! The photograph is what you see, no more no less.

    I agree that a rare print let’s say hand printed by Weston might worth millions, but that is not the photograph but the hype only. In the same vain, some people would pay hard cash for discarded underwear if it was worn by somebody famous.


    Dedicated digital printing using the same exacting methods as the traditional methods are equally worthy of buying/collecting, not to mention that we like it or not digital will take over and then your now despised “Digital print” will have made a good investment. See some renowned practitioners carrier paths. Don’t you whish you could have bought an original AA for $15.00 and own it today?
    You shouldn’t hang on too much on the paper and on other unimportant facets of photography, be interested mainly in the content. In my opinion, even the fame of the photographer is unimportant, content is!

    Also don’t make a mistake to compare a photograph to a Rembrandt painting as high Art, because it is not. Photography is a time honored Craft with an artistic bend only.
     
  40. By the way, I"m still waiting for the name of photographer who makes a fine art print via digital methods, offers it to a gallery or perhaps has the work hanging in a gallery and then goes off and secrectly runs off 'thousands' of identical copies to flood the market! This is a straw man argument.
    I agree with you that at some time you will use mass produced items, painters use paint made by the cubic meter, watecolor paper is made in meter long pieces etc, the point is the individual attention that is paid to each an every print and it inherent subtle variations.
    I dont think anybody is saying as per your example that the artist will flood the market right away, only that any other prints made will be exactly the same and will require no additional effort other than to press the button. Right or wrong people are placing a premium on prints made one by one and are rewarding them with higher prices and greater demand. As Michael said, perhaps this is not the way it should be, or the way you would not wish it to be, but it is the reality and the way it is.
    After all, a hand made Ferrari still costs more than your mass produced Cadillac...even though both are nice cars and do exactly the same thing..no?
     
  41. It's funny you know...

    The digital guys get all bent out of shape because THEY think the traditional guys think what they do is cheating.

    The traditional guys get all bent out of shape because they think the digital guys claim that the old ways don't matter anymore.

    Get over yourselves! Yes it's the image that's important blah blah blah... We know that but we're talking about what the PUBLIC INTERPRETS as valueable work. I think the point that many people (including myself) are trying to make, but the digital guys aren't hearing is this...

    Given the choice, the mass public (no not all the photographers that you hang around with) will buy something that they think was made by hand over something that was done digitally. That's it, end of story, sorry but it's true. It is also easily understood why hand made objects are priced at a premium.

    In an age where people are doing more and more with computers and craftsmen in all fields are fading away, all objects made by hand (including photographs) will CONTINUE to have an intrisic value over objects of mass production. It doesn't matter if only one copy is made or thousands, the PERCEPTION is that it's a copy and not an original. And yes, we know that the negs is the original and any print is a copy BUT, that the artist hand pulled it does matter TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
     
  42. >>Given the choice, the mass public (no not all the photographers that you hang around with) will buy something that they think was made by hand over something that was done digitally. That's it, end of story, sorry but it's true. It is also easily understood why hand made objects are priced at a premium<<

    I don't know what market you're thinking of when you make this statement, but it certainly isn't the case when it comes to color landscape photography that is sold in commercial galleries and by individuals in the Southwest.
     
  43. Joe,

    I understand your point. I'm simply arguing that the public is wrong, if they are as dogmatic as you claim. The public used to think nothing of throwing everything away. Now we recycle. The public used to think going to college was a rare event. Now most people would like their children to attend school. The public used to think stocks would let them retire at 45. Now they realize they might have to actually work until 65. The public thinks a hand made optical color print is somehow worth more than a Light Jet print from a hand made file. ;) Fine. It's my right to attempt to change the ideas they hold in their head regarding this topic. What's wrong with that? As someone said, it comes down to marketing, a war of ideas, so to speak. This whole topic also depends on the market you're in. Chris Burkett prints optically. Alain Briot shoots 4x5 and prints digitally. Alain makes a living off of his prints. So, I presume, does Chris Burkett. What does that tell me about the general public? It tells me that if your good there's enough out there for both types of printing.
     
  44. We know that but we're talking about what the PUBLIC INTERPRETS as valuable work.
    This interpretation has been created by marketing. It can be changed by marketing forces in other directions.
     
  45. Allow me to throw some more gasoline on this particular fire. Another reason that a
    vintage 'hand-made' silver gelatin print may end up being more valuble than an inkjet
    print is that it is printed by the artist a certain way at a certain point in time. Have you
    seen the recent Ansel Adams show where they show the evolution of his printing style
    over time on a few of his iconic images? For example, his "Wonder Lake, Mt. McKinley"
    shot began life as a light, somewhat soft 'sea of grays' and later ended up being
    printed as a much darker, much contrastier image. A collector may prefer one over
    the other, but will know that the particular version he has represents a unique
    interpretation at a specific point in time. Now, this could be done with an inkjet print,
    to be sure, but will it? Collectors will pay more for perceived rarity, and face it, there
    is no perceived rarity inherent in an inkjet print. Gursky and others get this
    perceived rarity through limiting the number of prints they will produce. But they still
    do not have that 'temporal fingerprint' that a hand produced print will exhibit.

    In the print world, a hand colored Havell edition Audubon print from his (250 units
    printed, I think) original portfolio is worth FAR MORE than a seemingly identical print
    in the 1970's Abbeville edition. The content is indistinguishable without a 10x loupe.
    But one is worth $10,000 and the other worth about $500. So you can say all you
    want about content being the sole criterion, but it just ain't the case in the world of
    collecting. What matters is rarity and provenance. Why do you think that photographic
    print prices can jump when the artist dies: Ain't no more prints on their way that have
    the artist's own vision incorporated in the printing.

    Food for thought.
    Clay
     
  46. But rarity really isn't what drives price is it??

    If it were, then the Ansel Adams print that he made the least of would be worth the most wouldn't it? Along this same line, wouldn't a neg that he never printed, but now there was 1 print skyrocket above all others because it is a one of a kind. I don't think so...

    It's all marketing and the perceived value an object has. Limited editions are just that a set of prints in a limited quantity. Then after you buy the last print of the set, the photographer reprints an entire new set 1" larger and on a different paper and calls it new! Some limited edition...

    Personally, I have a few limited edition prints out there, but I have far far more images that will never see the light of day. When all is said and done, those bad negs become the truly rare ones...

    In the end I think we can all agree that for collecting images for pleasure, it really SHOULD be about something you love to look at!
     
  47. "I agree that a rare print let’s say hand printed by Weston might worth
    millions, but that is not the photograph but the hype only. In the same vain,
    some people would pay hard cash for discarded underwear if it was worn by
    somebody famous."

    errr - I believe there are people who do... :-0
     
  48. Clay,

    You make good points but the variance in prints you mention are as much the result of using different papers and chemicals (at a point in time) and old technology as it is the artist's vision. AA always complained about whites being chalky and not white and blacks not being black. With advances in chemistry in later years his prints (some) were more to his liking.

    Equipment also affects how your color Light Jet or Inkjet print will look based on time. A print from a particular brand of drum scan will be different than that from a Minolta or Nikon or Imacon scanner, or even a different drum scanner, say an earlier model from the late 80s and not the state of the art Heidelberg Tango. A scan from color negative will be different than from a chrome; and Kodak films have different color pallets than Fuji films. The gamut of Fuji Crystal Archive paper is different than the myriad types of Inkjet papers available. Epson's various sets of ink all have different gamuts and characteristics, much as a particular paper and developer from the 50s or 60s or 70s might have. And there is a wide variety of Ink Jet paper, not that any 3rd party papers are archival. So you do have a great deal of variation in contemporary color digital processes. If you didn't there would be no need for ICC profiles and the science of color management, not to mention the whole cottage industry of custom ICC profiles and 3rd party ink sets for custom prints.

    Frankly, the emotional prejudice against digital color printing comes from the public's ignorance at the incredible amount of expertise needed to make beautiful prints. If everyone here were to write down all their knowledge, or teach a class and develop lesson plans, I think we would all be astonished at the amount of knowledge we have and would be required to teach. Because we tend to acquire digital knowledge little bits at at time we tend to believe that there's 'nothing' to a creamy, dreamy print, when in fact there is.
     
  49. Of course, if the image isn't any good, it doesn't matter how rare it is. My point was
    that, all other things being equal, a limited quantity, handmade contemporaneous
    print will have a higher perceived value than an unlimited inkjet edition where every
    print is identical. And the arists who increase the size 1" and declare a new edition
    don't get away with that very long before people catch on and discount his
    'cleverness'.

    Clay
     
  50. "Allow me to throw some more gasoline on this particular fire. Another reason
    that a
    vintage 'hand-made' silver gelatin print may end up being more valuble than an
    inkjet
    print is that it is printed by the artist a certain way at a certain point in
    time. Have you
    seen the recent Ansel Adams show where they show the evolution of his printing
    style
    over time on a few of his iconic images? For example, his "Wonder Lake, Mt.
    McKinley"
    shot began life as a light, somewhat soft 'sea of grays' and later ended up
    being
    printed as a much darker, much contrastier image. A collector may prefer one
    over
    the other, but will know that the particular version he has represents a unique

    interpretation at a specific point in time. Now, this could be done with an
    inkjet print,
    to be sure, but will it? Collectors will pay more for perceived rarity, and
    face it, there
    is no perceived rarity inherent in an inkjet print. Gursky and others get this
    perceived rarity through limiting the number of prints they will produce. But
    they still
    do not have that 'temporal fingerprint' that a hand produced print will
    exhibit."

    Not really correct - I know that when I go back to reprint a digital file I often decide to change it, along exactly the same lines as above. I know plenty of other photogrpahers who do the same. Sometimes the changes are subtle, sometimes substantial. And they most often ahve to do with a differing perception over time etc. I also print on different materials at different times. The point above is really more of a red herring.

    So unless you are talking of a batch of prints all made at the same time, it's moot.
     
  51. And to think, all this started because Michael said...

    "If you are doing digital prints, start at around $29 if you are totally unknown. Digital prints do not yet have the high quality of fine silver prints, and are not as collectible. They are more like very fine reproduction prints."

    I've got to watch what I say from now on... hehehe :)
     
  52. EM,

    Don't get the wrong idea. I am not a process snob. Heck, I've done a print trade where
    I received a peizography inkjet print in return for one of my platinum prints. And I am
    satisfied with the trade. And I'd be willing to bet that the women who made the print
    put more time in her photoshop efforts than I did in making my print.

    I am just explaining what I believe the economic drivers can be behind print prices.
    Like a lot of things, it may not be fair, or make sense, but it is what it is. It makes
    about the same amount of sense as the starting salary discrepancy between a
    mediocre Harvard graduate and a stellar state school graduate- non-sensical, but
    certainly a fact of life. Perception is everything.

    Clay
     
  53. O.K., I think I've got it. If I place a negative in the enlarger, a sheet of paper in the easel, turn on the enlarger light for a while, dodge, burn, unsharp mask, maybe flash a little, then run the paper through three trays of chemicals that's a hand made print. But if I place a negative in the scanner, a sheet of paper in the printer, turn on the computer, select, dodge, burn, adjust levels, curves, brightness, contrast, add layers, merge layers, make new adjustment layers, and unsharp mask, then run the paper through the printer, that's not a hand made print. Right.
     
  54. Turning up the cynicism dial:

    You could register the trademark "Hand-made". Then you can stamp all of your digital prints as: Hand-made(TM) photographic print.

    Perhaps you could write a "randomizer" Photoshop plugin that would automatically tweak a few adjustments on the image, before making a print, to guarantee "uniqueness". The plugin could also increase the contrast, based on the age of the file or number of previous prints. The plugin can be sold as "The Auto Ansel".
     
  55. Look, you guys are preaching to the choir here. I KNOW it takes talent and expertise
    to make fine digital prints. But my point is that this talent and expertise is not yet
    VALUED for the most part in the marketplace. There are exceptions, of course, but in
    general that is the case. Maybe that will change as buyers become more
    sophisticated. I don't know.

    One comment:
    " You make good points but the variance in prints you mention are as much the
    result of using different papers and chemicals (at a point in time) and old technology
    as it is the artist's vision. AA always complained about whites being chalky and not
    white and blacks not being black. With advances in chemistry in later years his prints
    (some) were more to his liking. "

    I must disagree. The materials available in the thirties were plenty good to make fine
    prints, as anyone who has seen a vintage Weston or Adams print can attest. The show
    I alluded to showcased what is most certainly an artist's evolving esthetic, not the
    change in materials.

    CH
     
  56. Brian,

    Nothing wrong with what you do...it's the proof that you're living in 21st century...

    one word of caution though... in the process of doing what you described and then start calling "snobism", to other darkroom printers or may be thinking that they are "inferior"... then it's wrong....

    tools are tools and they are right... labeling is wrong...
     
  57. This discussion is a most enjoyable hoot!

    “Frankly, the emotional prejudice against……in fact there is”- E.M.

    “O.K., I think I've got it. If I place…….that's not a hand made print. Right.” - Brian Ellis

    Well said, but I don’t think it is the public, it is us as we are just misleading them. All this animosity “traditional” vs. “digital” is tantamount to the old adage “Divide and Conquer”. Instead try to look at the Content not the Method. That would make every one feel better!
     
  58. I'm wrestling with the same questions now. Am in the process of building up several dozen unusually framed master prints for exhibition from which I will eventually make unframed copies available for sale. Mid 90's when Evercolor then Lightjet and Durst printers first appeared, a 16x24 was about $150 raw cost which included drum scanning. Today my printing service provider's Lightjet prices for a 24x30 is just $38 and less than half that for a 14x20. Drum scanning costs for 100meg is under $40 and under $50 for 200mb. The cost of archival under glass matted framing for 16x20 sized prints has always been around $80 minimum as the material cost and it is a tedious labor intensively activity. Of course framing cost can really climb with better quality.

    The cost of framing issues have long been an unwanted anchor for unknown photographers trying to get their work out to the public. So I say we are breaking into a new age of new opportunity. We don't need to print 100 or so images like before just to get a pile of consistent images because with digital the quality can be adequately consistent every time one inputs a CMS profiled file for reprints. Thus one orders prints for customers as needed without having to front costs for an expensive pile of to be sold material. (much of which might never sell) So if I want, I can probably sell unframed 24x30 or even 29x36 inch prints from my 6x7 and 4x5 work for under $100. And prints from old 35mm work at 16x24 for maybe $60 and still make (a little) profit. Not saying I will but I could. Are we fine art photographers forever handcuffed to only those few rich folk who visit galleries? Is there another way to market our material to a broader public between the cheaper material one sees at art and craft shows and traditional fine art photography at galleries? Yes is what I am thinking.
     
  59. Two quick comments: As Clay stated, the materials available to Adams
    in the 1930s and 1940s--when he made the soft print of Mt. McKinely,
    were as good as later materials. But he did not go far enough--they
    were not only as good, they were better than the newer materials. That
    fact has nothing to do with this discussion, but is added here to set
    the record straight.

    Mr. Swenson said (I'm paraphrasing here, but I think I have it right)
    that digital prints and and darkroom prints of the same image, made
    from the same negative have the same content and should be valued the
    same. I agree--if they have the same content. But what is content? Is
    it only the image of what was photographed? I don't believe it is. The
    content is the entire picture including exactly what it looks like.

    If Mr. Swenson, and others, when looking at a digital print made from
    a hi-res scan cannot distinguish its content from that of a darkroom
    print on silver paper, then this discussion is hopeless. I have looked
    closely and carefully at many prints from digital processes (by the
    way, I am talking about black and white here, not color work) and have
    yet to find a digital print that even vaguely resembled a silver print
    from the same original negative. And if the prints are not exactly
    like each other in every regard--tone, paper surface, etc., etc., then
    they exhibit different content. I see these differences because I make
    fine discriminations. Most people either cannot make that kind of fine
    discrimination when looking at prints, or do not take the time to do
    so. To say the content is the same in a photograph no matter how
    something is printed is the same as saying a piece of music played
    poorly has the same content as the same piece of music played well. No
    composer would agree with that one. Another example: If two chefs
    with identical ingredients, say a steak, cook it the same way, but one
    comes out tasting awful while the other tastes excellently, the two
    steaks could hardly be said to exhibit the same content. And it is the
    same with photographs. Only the most inexperienced and uneducated
    viewers confuse the subject matter with the picture, as Mr. Swenson
    appears to be doing.

    Someday, when and if digital prints are as well-made as fine
    gelatin-silver prints, they should command the same price, although
    they will not because of the many excellent comments already posted to
    this forum. My photographer friends who make digital prints tell me
    they believe their prints will never be as fine as silver prints. They
    will just be different. But with the rapid advances in technology they
    could be wrong.

    The digital folks here should not be so damned defensive. Digital
    prints have their place and they can be quite beautiful in their own
    right. But they can never be the same thing as silver prints.

    In everything, there are all degrees of quality. As I have written
    before, quality is not only a matter of technical excellence; though
    it includes that, it is also a matter of emotional depth and
    expression. I mention that here because in the past when I have
    mentioned "quality", people sem to think that I am stupid enough to
    think that a well-printed boring picture is better than an exciting
    picture poorly printed, and this discussion should not be sidetracked
    by that kind of misreading and misunderstanding of what "quality" is.

    Have at it.
     
  60. Geez, I don't know how I got sucked into this, but, here is another thought
    experiment that occurred to me after reading Michael's post.:

    If content is the ONLY thing that matters, then are you telling me you would be
    indifferent if I offered you a choice of the SAME fine image contact printed excellently
    in palladium or a 'carbon-sepia quadtone' print printed mechanically on the same fine
    art paper?


    I use palladium as an example, because most monochrome fine-art digital prints are
    made on fine watercolor papers, just as is palladium. And I have seen some carbon
    sepia digital prints that are indistinguishable from palladium from 5 feet away. At 3
    feet, most non-photographers couldn't tell. At one foot....., well, let's just say I am
    still printing big negatives in palladium.


    Clay
     
  61. I stopped reading the responses about half way down; I just couldn't take it anymore.

    Anyway, Jim, why not pick a price and just revel in the fact that somebody bought an
    image from you? Maybe they will get a great deal, maybe not. But it's a wonderful
    feeling just to make the first sale. If you keep doing it, you'll have plenty of time to
    lose sleep obsessing about pricing. Good luck!
     
  62. If content is the ONLY thing that matters, then are you telling me you would be indifferent if I offered you a choice of the SAME fine image contact printed excellently in palladium or a 'carbon-sepia quadtone' print printed mechanically on the same fine art paper?
    I use palladium as an example, because most monochrome fine-art digital prints are made on fine watercolor papers, just as is palladium. And I have seen some carbon sepia digital prints that are indistinguishable from palladium from 5 feet away. At 3 feet, most non-photographers couldn't tell. At one foot....., well, let's just say I am still printing big negatives in palladium.

    I think you are answering your question in your second paragraph. I also think as Michael Smith stated that there is nothing wrong with a digital print, but it is just a different method.
    All this ties in best with what Michael Chimlar has said, marketing and the mistaken marketing that has been done with digital output. Take for example the vaunted "digital platinum glicèe". I had the opportunity to read the "marketing" done by Cone, and in it he made some of the most stupid innacurate statements I have ever read in favor of this new method.
    It is not surprising that if someone reads what Cone said, gets all excited about this new technique and then compares a print with a true platinum print that there will be some dissapointment and the process thus judged inferior when it actually might not be. Here, I think, is where digital manufacturers have set themselves for a fall and actually done a disservice to those who are using their products to make fine art prints. How many times have we heard "this new printer/ink/camera will make classic photography obsolete" only to find out later that the rumors of the classic method's death were somewhat premature, namely because the results never equaled the claims.
    IMO a well crafted print either silver, azo, platinum or digital invites you to get close and examine not only the overall print from 5 ft, but also from a foot and enjoy the minute detail contained in the print. I know some people make fun of this close examination, but it is a fact that most people will actually do this if they are captivated by the print. So as long as the digital marketing is geared towards a head to head confrontation with classical methods then this debate will continue. The moment the marketing gets away from this and it becomes a tool for educating the consumer that digital is not better nor worse than classical methods, only different I think it will benefit those using these techniques and will remove the apparent stigma associated with "ink jet" prints, which by the way was caused by the silly claims that now everybody with their little printer at home could make master pieces, from what I understand a top of the line Epson printer necessary to make a fine quality print is several thousand dollars more expensive than my Zone VI enlarger.
     
  63. Digital printers have an agenda. And who can blame them? They're in the same position as Impressionist painters were more than a 100 years ago, fighting against centuries of tradition, deeply entrenched unimaginative critics and, well...talent.

    Okay, I kid...a little. But get used to it. You're facing at least another decade before you'll see widespread acceptance of any print with "digital" in the process as being on par with the traditional process.

    Even then you'll never be the cool guy at the parties. The folks doing it the old fashioned way on gelatin silver will always be cooler than you. Platinum/palladium printers will be cooler than gelatin silver printers. Carbon printers will be cooler still. Ctein will be cooler than any of us because, well...because he's Ctein. And hopefully the chicks will be leaving with me because even tho' I'm a mere gelatin silver printer I do look like Charles Manson only without the swastika and prison thing.
     
  64. Amazing how much discussion can be promoted from a single innocent question.

    I’ll put in my thoughts on the wet versus dry into the debate. I print all my own work, both in silver and platinum. This is an extremely satisfying process.

    I also produce digital prints, not for sale or show. The computer and printer are there for other things. Most of the time I download the contents of my wee digital camera or scan the negative or paper copy and without any manipulation print it off on my Epson 2100 (think it’s a 2200 in the US). The results are spectacular, I recently scanned in a platinum print and printed off a copy on watercolour paper – the end result was great. You can still tell the difference but the digital print is pretty good.

    I could argue about longevity, archival permanence, etc., lets just say inkjet printing has come a long way and is improving all the time. I don’t think it’s there yet, may never be – especially compared to platinum. That aside the process is not very satisfying; I’m relying on the talents of some software programmer and some wonderful technology. There is little or no mental input from me, I dare say I could play with a few of the settings but what is the point when the default settings are so good. I’m pressing a couple of buttons and, hey presto, an acceptable result. A few minutes and it’s there.

    For me the difference is mental, physical and aesthetic. OK, the negative is mass-produced; I rely on Ilford for that part. After that I’m mixing the raw chemicals, I’m coating the paper, I’m exposing and I’m processing, I’m the one having the fun! For me this long drawn out process is all.
     
  65. I enjoyed reading this and can't resist casting my two öre into the
    melting pot.

    First, there is a surprisingly large seperation between the world
    of Art Photography and the world of Fine Art Photography.
    Personally, I find the gulf between Fine Art Photography and the
    rest of the visual arts completely baffling - a self-imposed
    limitation that only acts to restrict imagination. However, there is
    no getting round the fact that the Fine Art Photography world
    cares - and pays - greatly for the exercise of craft and traditional
    choices of materials. If you want to sell to that market, you have
    to work within its conventions.

    Note that the conventions are themselves highly suspect. Many
    Fine Art Photographers have their photographs printed by a
    dedicated printer. In a fair world the printer would get a credit,
    but buyers prefer to indulge a cosy sentimentality about how the
    simple act of purchase gives them a real and personal link to the
    artist's mind. Again, so be it.

    In the Art World, ideas and concepts are more important than
    their expression. Admittedly this leaves lots of room for imperial
    tailors to rake in the dough through their ready-to-wear
    collections, but it also creates a refreshing willingness to accept
    new media. I have seen plenty of inkjet prints sold and
    displayed, of varying levels of technical and archival quality, but
    always in genres and venues where photography is just one of
    many forms of expression.

    Michael Smith brought up a musical analogy. For me, the
    distinction is not between good and bad playing, but between
    different styles. Do you prefer your Bach by Heifetz or Manze?
    "The House of the Rising Sun" by Dylan, Simone or The
    Animals? "Nellie the Elephant" in trad or punk style? There are
    markets for all of these, but they don't necessarily overlap.
     
  66. If Mr. Swenson, or anyone else, believes content--as they define
    it--is all that really counts, and if they are interested in my work,
    I will be happy to cut out reproductions from my books, mount them,
    overmat them, and even sign them (with distinguishing characteristics
    of course, though why a signature at all should be necessary since the
    "content" of these pictures would be the "same" is a mystery to me).
    And I'll price these reproduction prints from books at only 5% of the
    price of my original silver prints. A deal, yes or no? Personally, I
    think not. But hopefully, the Mr. Swenson's of the world will think
    otherwise.

    Actually, this has already been done--with Camera Work gravures. The
    prices of those, while sometimes high, are nothing when compared to
    the price of original prints of the same images. Seems there must be
    something about the way something is printed that is part of what
    determines value.

    Since Jim Chow is not part of that art world that gets high prices for
    original digital prints, I'll go back to my original statement and
    recommend one price for silver (or platinum) prints, another,
    significantly lower price for digital prints.
     
  67. Jim, if it's an ordinary, straight, "silver-gelatine" print, which can be reproduced easily if you want to print another one, charge somewhere between $100 and $400 (depending on your potential client's interest and his apparent financial status). If it's a bitch to print, you should double those figures, because it will increase the "rarity" factor. If that seems cheap, remember that if it was sold in a gallery, the price would be doubled but you'd still be only making the same amount. (I'm speaking here from the POV of someone who has in the past bought a lot of prints from both famous and unknown photographers.)
     
  68. Even well established fine art photographers produce silver prints for under $500 (I'm thinking John Sexton here (www.johnsexton.com)).... All else being equal, you can't expect that kind of money for an "unknown" - even if the print is "better" than the established guy's work.

    As always, the only answer is, how much are people willing to pay?

    Good luck, cheers,
     
  69. "I prowl the fine art shows in my area, listen to the viewers and talk with some vendors about their preferences and experiences. Generally speaking prospective customers expect to pay less for prints that are more "easily" reproduced, such as inkjet, Iris and giclee prints, or even the more traditional reproductions using lithography."

    Bear in mind that there is a bout the same relationship between "Fine Art Shows/Fin Art Photography" and Art as there is between McDonalds and real food.
     
  70. "What I'm saying is that people FEEL there is an intrisic value to a piece knowing that the artist did it themselves, using their hands. Sure, people will pay big bucks for a digital print, but the mastery of hand techniques (no that doesn't mean the index finger on the mouse, or CTRL+Z) still holds value with people. That includes me! Having something that someone made from the start vs. some sort of print that they only signed at the end still holds value these days."

    I don't think that's really the issue. If you're spending 5k,10k or 20k for a coffee table then you really don't want to see it in every house you walk into. You want it rare. If the woodworker hand makes each one you know the tables are limited. Also it's likely each one will evolve to a certain extent so they'll be different. If on the other hand it's a factory producing 100s of tables a day it's Ikea. Both will hold the same two magazines and a coffee cup but there is a difference in value. Now for most people Ikea is just fine but they aren't paying hefty amounts for a coffee table.

    If the digital person was to destroy everything after producing the first print. In the process making it impossible to produce more copies then it would have a higher collectable value. Rarity does matter. Well if the item is in demand. If on the other hand the person can produce new copies at will then the real value of the print is little more then the cost of the paper.

    There is nothing new here. Hasn't the same sort of pricing existed forever when it comes to editions? Small runs are worth more then big ones.
     
  71. BTW death is the ultimate in rarity. Adams is never going to take anymore pictures. He is never going to print anything. No worry for the collector that the market will be flooded.
     
  72. DKG, you couldn't be more wrong. I see better work from more "respectable" artists at, say, the Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival than I do at many galleries.

    The better arts shows, like the FWMSAF, have no particular agenda or axe to grind, other than to promote the city. Once selected by a jury the 200-250 artists, artisans and craftspersons pay for their display space. I've seen work ranging from the incredibly lush photography of Shelly Corbett (whose husband is a fine metal sculptor), to the delicious glasswork of Karen Naylor.

    Meanwhile, much of what I see in galleries are hardly a step above that passe genre of framed wallpaper known as Southwestern "art" and so-called paintings by that huckster-of-lite whose product is the Beanie Baby of the art world.

    If you don't get any decent outdoor shows in your area feel free to visit Fort Worth in April. We'll tip some coldbeers, eat some BBQ, burp real loud and go gawk at some dang fine art.

    BTW, there are a few decent galleries in Fort Worth, but few of 'em are downtown. Don't wanna lump 'em all into the schlock category.
     
  73. “To say the content is the same in a photograph no matter how something is printed is the same as saying a piece of music played poorly has the same content as the same piece of music played well. No composer would agree with that one.” - Michael A. Smith

    With all due respect, a flawlessly executed print should be a given. As for comparing prints, in your case B&W, one should use the tool more suited (at the present time) to the task at hand. I do agree that LightJet B&W does not look the same as the traditional one, however, wait just a short time and it will not be the case. I’m confident that there will be a digital process superior to Azo or other fiber based papers techniques in a very short time. To think otherwise is equivalent in believing that the Earth is flat. Digital processes have already proved to be superior to Ilfochrome in many ways.

    “The digital folks here should not be so damned defensive. Digital prints have their place and they can be quite beautiful in their own right. But they can never be the same thing as silver prints.” – Michael A. Smith

    Wouldn’t be wonderful if the above statement were found to be true? Don’t fret it won’t be!

    Aside from printing squabbles, what is in the photograph matters. “Boring, uninspiring images printed on “Gelatin Silver” paper are still boring and uninspiring.”

    Unfortunately, this discussion again degenerated into traditional vs. digital. Prints made by traditional processes are/were beautiful, but life goes on and the way of doing things will change for better or for worse, and it is debatable if that is good. I can feel the pain of those who had lost the use of their beloved glass plates.

    And I said I wasn’t talking about posters. I thought it included cut-out illustrations as well?
     
  74. To Quote Ansel Adams:

    “I am frustrated by both exposure-scale limitations and rigid film-color. As ‘reality’ is out of the question, I can indulge myself with explorations of the ‘unreal’ color which may or may not have intriguing aesthetic effects. I would not want ‘post-card’ realism, but I would enjoy ‘enhancements’ of the colors which I fear is not possible with conventional material today…The scope of control with the electronic image has not been explored, but I feel confident astonishing developments await us in this area.”
     
  75. I see a trend in this discussion.
    An appropriate price list for a 16x20 b&w silver print, based on the level of hand-made-ness:
    • Basic silver print: $200
    • + made paper: $300
    • + used metronome as timer: $350
    • + built camera: $450
    • + camera has exceptional woodworking: $500
    • + built enlarger: $600
    • + made film: $900
    • + ground lenses for camera and enlarger: $1200
    • How about if the digital people assembled their own computer and wrote their own software? That's the way to command the big bux!
     
  76. Like it or not, the big bucks will always go to buy images which are most likely to appreciate in value. Subject matter and print quality is (relatively) immaterial compared to the rareness factor. That's why Picaso lithographs and Rembrandt etchings produced in volume are so much less expensive than individually created works. The development of an initial digital print may take as much or even more work and time than the production of an original photographic print, and soon (if not now) may look just as good, or even better. However, after the initial production they can be produced in any required number just by pressing a button (so to speak), while each new photographic print must be produced individually and is virtually a unique object. With few exceptions, it would appear that a "limited edition" does little to actually increase the artist's income, but only to make his work less available. The concept of "Limited Editions" from a digital printer is so contrived and unrealistic as to be laughable. The real secret to high print prices: either die young or live forever!
     
  77. Jim, I'm assuming that your buyer is only interested for asthetic reasons, and the print will not be used for commercial purposes. If it is to be used for commercial purposes, other issues need to be considered.
    I live in Richmond, VA. I say that because I believe that location can be a factor with respect to market value. From what I've learned, ours is not a big market for fine art photography. Sally Mann, who lives in Lexington VA, has exhibited in Richmond, and I understand has sold, achieving $10,000 for one of her works. But other well known photographers have had difficulty at $1,000-$2,000 level.
    I'm not aware of any galleries in Richmond that specialize in fine art photgraphy. Most "fine art" photographers are local amatures who exhibit in coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. Prices tend to be in the $75 to $300 range for a matted and framed print, 8x10 to 16x20. I have sold unmatted/unframed B&W 11x14s for $65 to $150; matted and framed for $150. I tend to give away more prints than I sell. Exhibitors tell me that generally B&W is viewed more as "art", but that color also sells. The market tends to be image driven, with local interest and nature scenes favored.
    I might suggest that if this is a one time thing, you give the fellow a print as a reward for his good taste. If you are thinking of selling prints on a more regular basis, then I would suggest researching your local market. Talk to exhibitors, find out the pricing, what sells, and why.
    Good luck.
     
  78. But, Mr. Swenson, why exclude reproductions in books? We're now
    printing books in 600-line screen quadtone and if the reproductions
    are printed in the same size as the originals they are virtually
    indistinguishable from the originals, even if viewed with a loupe. The
    "content" in your terms is exactly the same. And the original prints
    were scanned and the separations were digitally rendered. By your
    logic these offset reproductions should be as valuable as the original
    silver prints. I surely wish they were--let's see--3,000 books of
    Edward Weston's photographs--110 reproductions per book--330,000
    reproductions at an average price of say, $10,000 to be
    conservative--I'd be a rich man indeed.
     
  79. Boring, uninspiring images printed on any paper are still boring and uninspiring images, even in a book form.
     
  80. Boring, uninspiring images printed on any paper are still boring and uninspiring images, even in a book form.
    Are you saying that Edward Weston's photographs are boring and uninspiring?
    If no, then why dont you answer Michael's question? If yes...well then we might as well stop right here.
     
  81. "Boring, uninspiring images..."

    Geoffrey seems to have developed this nervous tic of repeating a phrase as mantra in lieu of defending his position. Of course when an agenda is shaky sloganeering usually is substituted for logic.

    Anyway, yeh, we got it: Boring = Boring; Boring gelatin silver = Boring photo; Boring lithography still = boring photo; Boring digital photo = boring. We got it.

    However, tho' a buck is a buck, for the time being an inkjet print = a greenback and a gelatin silver print = a silver dollar. Big difference to collectors.
     
  82. >>By your logic these offset reproductions should be as valuable as the original
    silver prints.<<

    Michael,

    No one on the 'other' side is making the empirical claim that more money is *not*
    paid for traditional silver prints in the market. (I'll leave color out of this.) The
    argument, rather, is that there really is no rational reason why this should be so,
    provided there's an alternate method that yields the same result. (Let's stipulate this
    for right now.) Would you personally really claim that the 'first' print of a
    photographer is somehow more valuable than the 10th print? In literature the last
    revision is considered the final one. No one looks at an author's first draft and
    declares it more valuable than the finished work. That would be absurd. Yet in
    photography there is the cult of the 'first' print, which is more valuable than a lifetime
    print, which is then even more valuable than subsequent prints made from the
    original negative after the photographer's death, etc., etc. No of this makes sense
    upon rational inspection. It's an aritificial distinction designed to impute 'value' to
    something that's limited in quantity (by the distinction) for the sole purpose not of
    providing additional income to the photographer or his or her heirs but to provide (if
    you're lucky) appreciation rights for future sellers. It's little more than an economic
    scheme.

    If collectors would like unique objects, why not just buy a painting or purchase
    sculpture? Or better yet, why not purchase rare books? At least there the philistines
    are not burdened by the quality of a book's intellectual and artistic content and can
    instead focus on the really important issues such as who bound the book and what
    technique was used to soften the leather, which we all know are all the really, really,
    really important determinants of what makes good literature. :)
     
  83. I think the elevation of one's horse is more relative to the position of one's ass..... "digital is for those who have no skill in the darkroom". I think you should be able to judge your customer and come up with a price. Is it someone you know who admires your work? I would give them a lower price.
     
  84. From E. M. "The argument, rather, is that there really is no rational
    reason why this should be so, provided there's an alternate method
    that yields the same result."

    I agree with that. Completely. Only silver prints and digital prints
    do not yield the same results. Silver prints, digital prints, platinum
    prints, book reproductions do not yield the same results. I cannot
    understand why you introduce a statement like that into this
    discussion unless, honestly, you do not see the differences and really
    do think all these things are the same. In which case, it really is
    impossible to discuss anything with you.

    Same with first print (in theory). I happen to agree that a lot of
    that is just hype. Over the years a photographer may learn to print a
    given picture better--and the best print should be the most valued
    one. However, for photographers who have been at it for a number of
    years and who have their act together, the prints from a new negative
    from the first printing session are going to be as good as it gets.
    This is because there is more excitement on the part of the
    photographer when printing a new negative. For some photographers,
    later reprintings are just a job and less care may be taken. I have
    seen this often when comparing early and late prints by many
    photographers.
     
  85. True - Fine Art Photography is much more along the continuum of Pottery, Quilting, Hand-made woodworking and stained glass work etc.

    Actually pottery is a good example in some ways - there is a real difference between the worlds of pottery and "studio ceramics/pottery" - the latter, while still rooted in the same craft, has the works of artists like Takeshi Yasuda or Felicity Aylieff whose work is of a different sort altogether and demands accordingly much higher prices (and is shown in galleries and collected by Museums etc).

    "the better arts shows, like the FWMSAF, have no particular agenda or axe to
    grind, other than to promote the city. Once selected by a jury the 200-250
    artists, artisans and craftspersons pay for their display space. I've seen
    work ranging from the incredibly lush photography of Shelly Corbett (whose
    husband is a fine metal sculptor), to the delicious glasswork of Karen Naylor."

    I think that makes the point (and I'm not saying one is better or worse - just quite different). There is, I think, a difference between a sculptor and a "fine metal sculptor". Serra is a sculptor who works in metal, not a Fine Metal Sculptor. The sort of photography you are talking about (along with limited edition runs, strong values placed on craft and hand made work - platinum etc - fits well with this ethos. But it is a completely different world and environment from that of Gursky, Struth, Cohen, Richter, Yasuda, Serra, Hockney and so on. And, while I'm not saying either one is "better" (whatever that means) than the other, I would have to agree with the earlier comment - the world of Fine Art Photography is somewhat self limiting.
     
  86. Would you personally really claim that the 'first' print of a photographer is somehow more valuable than the 10th print?
    No, what we are saying is that the 10th print has the same value as the first since it is given the same personal attention. The perception that once you have done all the adjustements in photoshop and saved your file for which following prints become merely a mechanical exercise of putting paper in the printer and pressing the button is exactly why, to some people, the 10th digital print does not have the same value as the first print.
    Wether you like it or not, that is the way it is.....
     
  87. One thing that's clear in reading through all the posts in this thread is that "content" means different things to different people.

    Content has been equated to vision, it has been likened to subject matter, and it has been contrasted with method and print quality and technique, just to mention a few of the usages that have turned up here.

    A number of people affirm that content is what really counts, not the method or the media. So is content nothing more than a subject, or perhaps a subject expressed through the photographer's vision (whatever that may mean)? If that is true, then anyone who so affirms should be willing to pay the same amount for that content whether produced as a gelatin silver fibre print, a platinum print, an ink jet print, or a 600-line screen quadtone reproduction print on book stock paper, assuming they are all of similar technical quality. Or silkscreened and glazed onto a coffee cup, assuming comparable print quality could be obtained.


    Michael Smith has suggested that the physical print itself comprises a part of the content of the work. How can it not? A print is a tangible object, and its appearance affects its appeal and the appreciation it engenders in the viewer. When you consider the work as a whole, you really can't speak of its content as something entirely separate from its form. Not unless you simplistically equate content to subject matter or subject+vision. But I think that the same subject rendered as a gelatin silver print, a platinum print, an ink jet print, is an entirely different thing, and thus conveys different content, in each of those forms.

    If I were going to buy a handmade silver or platinum print from a photographer whose work I really liked, and he invited me to examine and pick my favorite one from among the 50 he had made, I'd be delighted to do so. I'd jump at the chance. Though the photographer would have tried his best to make all 50 prints identical, I'd know that they could not be, and I'd be thrilled to have the chance to pick the one that most appealed to me. But if it were a digital print, I'd know that they were all indistinguishably identical, and there'd be no reason for me to look at each of the 50, or 5000, identical examples.

    Content is what counts, alright, but it is not simply subject+vision. It's the whole ball of wax.
     
  88. Quoted from A World History of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum. In chapater 5 Titled Photography and Art: The First Phase 1839-1890

    "From the maze of conflicting statements and heated articles on the subject, three main positions about the potential of camera art emerged. The simplest, entertained by many painters and a section of the public, was that photographs should not be considered "art" because they were made with a mechanical device and by physical and chemical phenomena instead of by human hand and spirit; to some, camera images seemed to have more in common with fabric produced by machinery in a mill than with handmade creations fired by inspiration....photographs would be useful to art but should not be considered equal in creativeness to drawing and painting."

    Sounds a lot like the debate going on here. Of course photography now has a valid place in the art world and the fact that chemical and mechanical processes involved in the process does not necessarily make it non-art. So I believe one day digital photographs will find it's place and exceptance as an artform. History will some day give the final answer.
     
  89. >>Completely. Only silver prints and digital prints do not yield the same results. Silver prints, digital prints, platinum prints, book reproductions do not yield the same results. I cannot understand why you introduce a statement like that into this discussion unless, honestly, you do not see the differences and really do think all these things are the same. In which case, it really is impossible to discuss anything with you.<<<

    Michael,

    I agree with you. There is a difference between a real silver print and something digital. The problem is that Mr. Chow, in his original post, never said if he was making color or silver prints. When some mentions Ilfochrome and Light Jet, as he did, I assume they are working in color, and the world of color, in relation to digital, is a completely different game than B&W. There is a real color market in the US for those subjects that lend themselves well to color treatment. (Some things are much better in B&W.) To say, as one earlier posted said, that a Light Jet print is worth a bout 29 dollars is absurd. That's what really started this whole ball of wax. I would never want to impose the market rules for color on the B&W world. By the same token, B&W artists shouldn't assume that the standards of the collectors for their art are the same standards as collectors of other types of art.
     
  90. E M wrote: "Yet in photography there is the cult of the 'first' print, which is more valuable than a lifetime print..."

    I'll confess I'm not sure what this "lifetime" print is so I'll leave that one alone. But most photographers who make limited editions of their work charge *less* for the first printings. The prices go *up* as the edition sells out.

    Presumably the reason for this is that as an edition sells out a buyer can have some assurance of having purchased an item that will appreciate in value. They're speculating that an item is no longer just a work of art but an investment as well.

    Photographers who opt for this pricing strategy are taking a risk as well. On the one hand they're getting paid up front, and more as an edition sells out.

    On the other hand, if they stick to their ethics and forego ever reprinting (or recreating) an image, no matter how financially enticing, they may be passing up the opportunity to continue to profit from that one special image that has captured the imagination of collectors and viewers by licensing the photo to be reproduced on posters, tee-shirts and coffee mugs.

    BTW, anybody wanna see my limited edition tattoo of Lange's "Migrant Mother" on my left butt cheek? It's really boffo. Apparently the executor's of her estate were hard up for cash. If I ever need to recoup my investment I can just sell my ass on e*bay, right between the Iris and giclee reproductions.
     
  91. "I agree with that. Completely. Only silver prints and digital prints do not yield the same results. Silver prints, digital prints, platinum prints, book reproductions do not yield the same results. I cannot understand why you introduce a statement like that into this discussion unless, honestly, you do not see the differences and really do think all these things are the same. In which case, it really is impossible to discuss anything with you."

    So what about B&W digital lightjet/laser prints on silver gelatin paper (Baryt paper) ? I haven't seen one yet first hand yet, but I'm waiting to hear from a good photographer who is getting some test prints done. Hopefully this will be a very interesting new way to go.

    Personally I wouldn't even see the need to say it is a "digital" print - it's photographic print on gelatin silver paper
     
  92. I think the idea of Lightjet output to traditional B&W materials is interesting and could produce some great looking prints, but I suspect collectors will regard them as they do repros, and not as collectible fine prints. Ansel Adams used to offer high quality large format repros as a lower cost alternative to original fine prints. These were large format copies of original fine prints that could be easily reprinted by an assistant without any manipulation. Prints like _LensWork_ Special Editions are in this tradition--not really intended to be collectibles of high monetary value, but an accessible way of owning a very nice print.
     
  93. I very much think you are wrong David - in the colour wolrd this is already so. There is no real reason it shouldn't be so for B&W (and I'm not talkign the "Fine Art Photogrpahy" world here, with it's funny little sets of rules)

    tim
     
  94. Indeed it is so in the color world, but B&W is a different world with its funny sets of rules and fetishes that determine how much people will pay for a print. I never said it was rational.
     
  95. "Indeed it is so in the color world, but B&W is a different world with its funny sets of rules and fetishes that determine how much people will pay for a print. I never said it was rational."

    LOL - true :)

    But that is only a certain sector. I have a feeling it's going to change.

    BTW - just saw a Gursky went for $600,00.00 - who needs that funny old B&W anyway... ;-)
     
  96. Gursky's work is impressive in person, but that's yet another set of rules and fetishes driving the price. It will be interesting to see how much they are worth when the frenzy settles down, irrespective of materials or process.

    A little more seriously, I suspect that eventually there will be someone doing really interesting work with digital output to conventional B&W that couldn't be done in any other way, and there being no alternative form of the work, it will fetch a price that compares with traditional fine prints.

    But for now, I think the repro comparison is true. I started a thread about the _LensWork_ special editions (these are silver prints from digital copy negs) over in the _LensWork_ forum, and according to Brooks Jensen, one of the reasons that those prints are made from a digital negative is so that the archival prints on conventional B&W paper can be easily identified as repros, of lesser value than original prints. Ansel's repros were made with conventional film, of course, and one of the problems this created was that they have sometimes been passed off as originals, because it is much harder to tell a good conventional repro from the original than it is a digital repro, which can be easily identified with a loupe.
     
  97. Re: the above comments, David Fokos sells B&W Lightjet prints for a decent sum -- the last time I checked, his 16"x16" prints started around $600 and his 36"x36" prints were something like $3600 -- but he prints them using a color process instead of B&W.
     
  98. ... just do what i do, price thing out rediculsly(sp) high, people will assume you are more valuable than you are...

    I've sold plenty of pictures, you just need to b a good lyer!

    (did you beleive me? I havn't sold anything yet)
     
  99. Re: the above comments, David Fokos sells B&W Lightjet prints for a decent sum -- the last time I checked, his 16"x16" prints started around $600 and his 36"x36" prints were something like $3600 -- but he prints them using a color process instead of B&W.
    And they are beautiful, the one I saw was going for $1500 at the John Cleary Gallery. A beautiful work but then nobody would confuse it with a silver print. If you like this kind of work, you should also check David J Osborn, beautiful prints on Fuji crystal. I think the afterimage gallery still has some posted on their web site.
     
  100. Luckily, this last part of the discussion turned into a more benign and intelligent exchange. I’ve never agreed with the “Funny set of rules of B&W” mentality, but it will remain just that…a funny set of rules!

    The Image IS paramount even if some would like to turn “Content” into “Container” similarly to the reasoning behind “What the meaning of is…is”.

    Nothing wrong with B&W, by the way, the trouble is with the zealots only, however, nothing wrong with progress either.
     
  101. "Just get used to digital!"

    Why?

    It is the equivalent of the aluminum bat in baseball. The traditional prints,done one at a time by hand by the artist are like the wooden bat in major league baseball. Worth more as a general rule when the rest is basically equal.

    If you want to sell your prints for good prices, price them high. You can always come down for some reason if you want to. Price them low & you will find it hard to increase the price while at the same time creating the impression that your work isn't worth much.
     
  102. Here is an idea that is bound to provoke some controversy:
    When you produce each "handmade original unique work of art" do you:
    1. Start from scratch, and "reinterpret" the negative for each print.
    2. Work from a printing "recipe" that tells you where to crop, dodge/burn, what paper grade to use, etc.
    • If you do number 1, then you have created something original and unique, and you intended to do so.
      In the case of number 2, what you really have is a flawed mechanical reproduction process. It is flawed because:
      • It is very time consuming.
      • Quality control is poor. Random factors cause the prints to vary. The variations are unintended. You strive for consistency, but your method of reproduction is imprecise.
      • It is mechanical because you are acting as something of a robot. You are just following an algorithm that you have developed for making the print. You are no longer applying any creative process.
        Method 2 is really no different from printing on a broken inkjet printer, which produces random variations in output.
        An acceptable description for method 2 is "hand reproduction" or your original proof print. Calling it an original print is something of a fraud.
     
  103. In the case of number 2, what you really have is a flawed mechanical reproduction process.
    Even when you follow a map, there are significant variations from print to print to make them unique. So your argument is fallacious, it is because of this small differences that the prints are considered unique. Not so with an ink jet print, they are exactly the same, much like a poster.
    If you want to talk about fraud, how about those who label their ink jet prints as "carbon" prints, when the process is not even close to a carbon print process. Take for example the differences between the work by Nickolas Muray and Mark Dubovoy. You can see examples at:
    http://www.turquoize.com/
    This Dubovoy character has named his ink jet prints as "carbon prints" merely because his inks have some carbon pigments, now look at the process that Muray used, he printed each color layer from a contact negative. His process can take up to 3 days to finish one print! Not exactly the same is it? so please dont talk to me about naming frauds when digital practicioners are far more guilty of this practices. As long as there is "digital platinum glicèe" with no platinum in them, and "carbon prints" which do not use carbon tissue, you dont have a leg to stand on.
     
  104. It is because of this small differences that the prints are considered unique.
    Once again, are these differences intentional? Or are they just an accident of the process?
    It is a good example of "spin" to claim that accidental differences due to a flawed mechanical process make your product superior to processes with better quality control!
    It is a contradiction to attempt to make "consistent" prints, but then claim that the differences between prints is what makes them good.
    Why not induce large variations - doesn't that make the prints even better? They will be more obviously unique.
     
  105. "Once again, are these differences intentional? Or are they just an accident of the process?"

    Does it matter? This isn't 1303 with everybody looking for perfection. Factory perfect goods became boring long ago.
     
  106. Once again, are these differences intentional? Or are they just an accident of the process?
    No hand made object, even if attempted to be made exactly the same will ever be the same, this has to do with human intervention in the process, as opposed to mechanical reproduction like ink jet prints, this is the concept you seem to fail to grasp. You can have the exact same enlarger, paper, developer etc, but the persons active role in the process causes minute differences, this is not a "flawed" process, it is only the intrinsic nature of the process. Apparently you are having a problem defining mechanical reproduction and hand made reproduction. If we follow your logic then all hand made products are flawed, like Ferrari's, Rolls Royce's, Ebony cameras, etc, etc.
    Has it occurred to you that there is a reason why these hand made objects are more expensive? Your type of argument is similar to those questions like, if God is so powerful can he make a rock big enough that he cannot lift it? they sound reasonable on the surface, but lack basic ground rules.
    It is a good example of "spin" to claim that accidental differences due to a flawed mechanical process make your product superior to processes with better quality control!
    Quality control is not an issue here, again you are introducing misleading arguments. I am sure people using digital means use as much care as a person using the darkroom, but as stated many times before, it is not the same to sit and work with photoshop once than it is to do it every time, again you lack to grasp the concept of hand made as opposed to mechanical reproduction.
    It is a contradiction to attempt to make "consistent" prints, but then claim that the differences between prints is what makes them good.
    The individuality of every print is not what makes it "good" it is only what makes it more "special" for lack of a better word. I am sure that a 100th ink jet print will be as good as the first one. There is no contradiction in saying that the printers intervention in the process is what makes the difference. After all is not the same to just press a button than it is to work the print in the darkroom.
    Why not induce large variations - doesn't that make the prints even better? They will be more obviously unique.
    You don't make large variations because you have arrived at a print the way you like it at that point in time, perhaps at another time it will be different, but then that is an argument that applies to digital printing as well.
    Again, as Michael Smith said, if you think mechanical reproduction is just as good then the pics printed in a book have as much value as the originals. If you are unable to differentiate between hand made and mechanical processes then there is no sense in continuing to discuss this.
     
  107. We're hardly going over new ground here. This quote from Paul Valery appears at the beginning of Walter Benjamin's essay "The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction".:
    "Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art."​
    For me, art is hasn't been defined by objects for nearly a century. Instead, art is a behaviour. It's not the material object itself that is art, but the circumstances of its making, display and purchase. Provenance is all.
    For once, market economics and art are as one: photographs are worth what you can get for them.
     
  108. Michael Chmilar is a man after my heart. He just nailed it right on the head!! He, he he he!
    I want to reiterate two points though;

    1. Contrary to the wishes of most, prints are NOT handmade, they are merely mechanical reproductions from mechanically produced negatives/transparencies, B&W and all! Digital and even Azo prints are included!

    2. Photography is NOT ART it is a time honored CRAFT only.

    Even the “funny set of rules” won’t alter these two unpleasant realities.
    Long live the thread that never dies!
     
  109. "Photography is NOT ART"

    Why is that, in your mind?

    Do you consider music to be art?
     
  110. 1. Contrary to the wishes of most, prints are NOT handmade, they are merely mechanical reproductions from mechanically produced negatives/transparencies, B&W and all! Digital and even Azo prints are included! 2. Photography is NOT ART it is a time honored CRAFT only.
    LOL....ah seems you only like to listen to those arguments that agree with you and those that dont you just ignore....sort of like an ostrich...
    1-..no seems you need to learn the difference between mechanical and hand made...
    2.-..lol...
     
  111. We are talking photography here, therefore I try not to branch out to discuss all artistic endeavors, as this thread is ballooning into a book soon :))

    Photography is a craft, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I realize that it makes one feel warm and fuzzy to call himself an artist. I agree it sounds sophisticated. Artist is an extremely overused term, just look at the myriad of “artists” on the “Wine and Cheese” festivals. Nowadays, if someone dabs something on a canvas, or assembles some sticks into a “composition” then presto there is an instant artist producing Art. To be a good craftsman is a noble occupation, and I wish good craftsmanship were more prevalent these days. Every craft needs certain measure of artistic talent and spirit, but it does not make it Art.
    In photography, the photographer finds the image and the sets up the composition, and copies it via mechanical means = the camera, develops the film, than projects the image onto the paper, again by mechanical means, etc., etc. The whole process is mainly mechanical virtuosity. Naturally, it takes an artistic bend to pull everything through, but a fine furniture maker needs that also. We don’t call them artists do we?

    All right, I bend a little! How about calling photographers “Industrial Artists” or “Artisans”! Would that make everybody happier?
     
  112. "...and copies it..."

    That's pretty much what I thought you were saying.

    If that's your view of photography, I can see how you feel as you do.

    Nice deflect on the music thing, BTW - guess you saw where I was going with that, huh?
     
  113. Nice deflect on the music thing, BTW - guess you saw where I was going with that, huh?
    You are wasting your time Max, not the first time that he chooses to ignore an argument he cannot respond. I think it is time this thread ends, arguing with someone who thinks photography is only a matter of placing your camera, pressing the shutter and "copying" what is there is really an exercise in futility. Given the responses I seriously doubt he even knows how to use a LF camera....
     
  114. Interestingly I have just been reading David Hockney on photography (which is very interesting btw and well worth reading - his opinions on the enslavement of photography to Renaissance theories of perspective are fascinating for one thing) and he says much the same thing in the end, but with some qualifications.

    That whether "hand made" or machine made, photographs are mechanical reproductions - in the end there is no substantial difference between a "vintage" Walker Evans or Bill Brandt photograph bought for $20,000 at auction and one bought for $20.00 from the Library of Congress or Hulton Getty Picture library. That all art includes an element of time and hand which isn't there in photography (in this instance the print is secondary - we are talking about the making of the original image/negative).

    He also points out that photography is also really too young to have any definitive answers on this - 150 years compared to the history of the image isn't very long to see where photogprahy can actually go.

    However, Hockney also goes on to talk about mechanical reproduction saying that in fact he disagrees with Walter Benjamin's writings on art and mechanical reproduction, and that mechanical reproduction isn't actually as mechanical as we would like to think. That "the printer (whether book or photograph) who puts more love into it will do a better job". In this, I think there is an echo of Michael Smith's search for the "best" printer of his photogrpahic books. If it was "just" mechanical reproduction, then it wouldn't matter would it?

    In the end, Hockney believes there are times when photography can be art and transcend its mechanical/technical existence - but it is despite this things, not because of them. But also photography is still severely limiting itself and needs to break out from these constraints (this was written before the explosion of digital technology, which I think in fact allows for some of these possibilities)

    So in many senses, I have to think Geoffrey correct - on the whole photography is a craft and only rarely does it transcend that and become art. The traditional/wet vs. digital; numbered or vintage prints etc is more of a red herring than anything else - the negative, the wet print, digital are all stops along the same continuum not opposite poles. All are mechanical reproductions, all are capable of a more or less loving, creative hand at work in their production, obviously, in the former case, producing the best work possible.

    Which leads to the point - can we say that photographs are really worth more than the time and materials put into them? The $20.00 Walker Evans print? Anything else is marketing. But it isn't art...
     
  115. That whether "hand made" or machine made, photographs are mechanical reproductions - in the end there is no substantial difference between a "vintage" Walker Evans or Bill Brandt photograph bought for $20,000 at auction and one bought for $20.00 from the Library of Congress or Hulton Getty Picture library.
    I could not disagree more with this statement. The content will not be different, but there is a difference between printing from a "master" negative made from a photograph which has been done as the author envisions it and one made every single time by the author. Obviously the price denotes this difference.
    That all art includes an element of time and hand which isn't there in photography (in this instance the print is secondary - we are talking about the making of the original image/negative)
    This is nonsense, this is like saying we are going to separate the score from playing the music. One follows the other and neither is complete by itself. I most strongly disagree with the statement that art can be defined or contains an "element of time and hand not present in photography", what the heck is this?? Art that takes more time to make is "more" or "better" art than that which takes less time? If standing in a darkroom or sitting in front of a monitor for hours or days until you arrive to a print with which you are satisfied is not an "element of time and hand" I dont know what is!..
    In the end he beguins the discussion with " all photography is mechanical repoduction", this is an unqualified statement, he does not give reasons or explanations for beleiving this way. If we follow this false premise then all art is nothing more than a mechanical reproduction. Music is nothing more than making noise through mechanical means, sculpting is nothing more than hitting/pounding/burning material through mechanical means, painting is nothing more than using surface tension to splatter colors...etc. Which must mean is all craft not art
    As far as I am concerned the entire argument departs from an unqualified false statement that I suppose we should all take as self evident truth. He might think all photography is mechanical reproduction, but that does not make it so....and I dont buy it, unless he can give some good reasons to make this statement.
     
  116. “on the whole photography is a craft and only rarely does it transcend that and become art.”- from Tim Atherton’s addition.

    I agree wholeheartedly that photography occasionally can become Art, but very rarely. So rarely in fact that I don’t even want to refer to specific examples as it would start endless bickering. Stone me if you will, but even the venerable Ansel Adams is not in the Pure Artist category either. He had made, as I hear about 50,000 images and out of those only 10-12 are worthy of the fame he has!

    I know that all of you are very passionate about photography, and so am I. I still wouldn’t call myself an artist, and not because I stink either.

    I am passionate about music too, but even though it has correlation to the Arts and Crafts it is not the subject if this discussion. The whole things started on a pricing of prints and not on the Meaning of Life or similar lofty issues.
     
  117. "That whether "hand made" or machine made, photographs are mechanical reproductions - in the end there is no substantial difference between a "vintage" Walker Evans or Bill Brandt photograph bought for $20,000 at auction and one bought for $20.00 from the Library of Congress or Hulton Getty Picture library."
    "I could not disagree more with this statement. The content will not be different, but there is a difference between printing from a "master" negative made from a photograph which has been done as the author envisions it and one made every single time by the author. Obviously the price denotes this difference."

    This is precisely the point - there is no substantial difference between the two - they are both mechanical reproductions, produced by (hopefully in both cases) a master craftsman. The photogprah is always a mechanical reproduction - you can't avoid that fact - how ever hand or digitally crafted it may be.

    "This is nonsense, this is like saying we are going to separate the score from playing the music. One follows the other and neither is complete by itself. I most strongly disagree with the statement that art can be defined or contains an "element of time and hand not present in photography", what the heck is this?? Art that takes more time to make is "more" or "better" art than that which takes less time? If standing in a darkroom or sitting in front of a monitor for hours or days until you arrive to a print with which you are satisfied is not an "element of time and hand" I dont know what is!.."

    The music analogy is both helpful and unhelpful - but certainly, the score is the original creation - the performance like the photograph is just an interpretation. (How many truly artistic performers do we know of compared to the creators of the music? - they are all secondary - how many performers from the time of Beethoven or Mozart live on in peoples memory?). The same goes for the print - it doesn't matter how long you take over crafting a print - it is the negative (or positive) that is the original. That is where you are attempting to say what it is you want to say - and as I understand it, that's where the issue of eye and hand come in. Hockney believes (among other things) true art has to allow for both the movement/ivolvement of the hand and for the varying passage of time - that is the artist can chose how much time is spent on different parts of the work - art requires an element of time in it's creation (time under control of the artists hand). Photography doesn't allow this - it's done in a fraction of a second and we can do little to control this (it's also mechanically determined - an added factor)

    (and we are talking about the creation of the image here - not the making of the print - many well know photographers - cartier-bresson, salgado, meyerowitz etc etc employ master printers to make their prints. If the "art" is to be found not in the making of the image, but rather in the making of the print, then surely it should be the name of the printer, as an artists, which should be attached to those photographs, not the person who merely clicked the shutter. No - we value photographic printers as master craftsmen (or women))
     
  118. My 2 cents: Don't sell. Since its not your business, why bother? If they really love one of your prints, give it to them. If you're in a bind, tell them what a box of film, a box of paper, and a supply of chemicals will cost you and see if they'll buy you a supply of materials. If they really want to encourage you and what you do, asking them to supply you with the things you need to keep at it isn't out of line. OTOH, if the picture is being used for illustrations or advertising, or some other commercial purpose where someone else is profiting from your labor, charge away!
     
  119. This is precisely the point - there is no substantial difference between the two - they are both mechanical reproductions, produced by (hopefully in both cases) a master craftsman. The photogprah is always a mechanical reproduction - you can't avoid that fact - how ever hand or digitally crafted it may be.
    That is NOT precisely the point..they are not both mechanical reproductions, one requires the active involvement of a person throught the process, the other does not. The entire task is is preformed by machines and the only involvement of the operator is manteinance and operation settings.
    I notice you choose not to respond to the argument that according to your point of view all art is "just" mechanical reproduction. It is not a fact no matter how much you would like it to be, nor have you or Hockney given definitions as to what is the difference between hand made and mechanical reproductions. Apparently you seem to think that because mechanical objects are used in both they must be the same. How and when they are used is what sets them appart.
    As I said before and you very conveniently choose to ignore, according to your argument music is nothing but the mechanical reproduction of noise, sculpting is nothing more than the mechanical reproduction of striking material etc. And therefore these must be all crafts. According to you the MOna Lisa is nothing more than a mechanical reproduction, since posters of the Mona Lisa are exactly the same in content. I suppose a life size plastic reproduction of the Pieta makes it nothing more than a "mechanical" repoduction since both are the same and have the same content. I'll do you one even better, lets have an engineer take laser micron measurements of the Pieta and input them into a laser drill with a cad program and lets crank out thousands of them. Since both will have the same information and content I suppose this will make Michelangelo "only" a craftman.
    Just because you read it on a book does not make it true or a "fact".
     
  120. Jorge - aren't you missing the point completely (and I also think you are perhaps not understanding the terminology of "mechanical reproduction" - I come from a background that includes stonecuts and hand printing - but it's still a "mechanical reproduction process" even if everything is old wooden presses and done by hand)?

    Most art forms I can think of require the hand of the artist to be at work on the piece of art created, over time - a photograph does not in the same way.

    Moreover - the end product of the photographic process - usually the photographic print - is a copy - a "mechanical reproduction" (whether you print it on an enlarger "by-hand" or on an inkjet printer). Any competent darkroom printer can make 100 copies from the same negative and they will all be close enough to the same to make little real difference in meaning.

    To use your own example - there is only one Mona Lisa, one David, one "Sunflowers" etc. I doubt Michelangelo or Van Gogh or whoever could have produced an identical copy of them (or would have and considered them "art" and not just a copy). Van Gogh may have painted several versions of his sunflowers, but each one is different and unique and created as such (and even when they seem very similar - we come to the time and hand idea as I have always understood it - Van Gogh obviously chose to give different parts of similar paintings more time in one than in the other - my teacher always told me that "art always requires the thumb and forefinger in it's production" - whether you are holding a brush, a pen or a hammer and chisel).

    In contrast each of the many prints of Moonrise over Hernandez is just a copy - perhaps with slight variations, and beautifully made - but they are just mechanical reproductions (no matter how much care and craft was put into each print) of the same image. No other creative art does that, that I can think of?

    A good rule of thumb - any work which has to edition itself isn't really art. Do you see the Mona Lisa 6/15? or Poppies, Near Argenteuil 3/45? or even Beethoven-Symphony number 9 (12/26)?

    Inkjet print? Ultrachrome? Silver-Gelatin? Platinum? Carbon print? It doesn't matter - they are all copies, mechanical reproductions, not originals. Which isn't to say we shouldn't take pride in our work, but perhaps more as craftsmen/women, artisans - like a potter or a weaver or a printer. We use our creative vision, but it is ultimately limited by the medium we chose to work in. It remains a craft, until we find a way to break out of those limitations in our medium - as has happened vary rarely and occasionally.
     
  121. it is the negative (or positive) that is the original. That is where you are attempting to say what it is you want to say - and as I understand it, that's where the issue of eye and hand come in. Hockney believes (among other things) true art has to allow for both the movement/ivolvement of the hand and for the varying passage of time - that is the artist can chose how much time is spent on different parts of the work - art requires an element of time in it's creation (time under control of the artists hand). Photography doesn't allow this - it's done in a fraction of a second and we can do little to control this (it's also mechanically determined - an added factor)
    Ahh, I see....so then art takes longer, craft is only a matter of seconds. Then lets make a division, daylight photography is craft, night photography is art, since when you take a pic at night you can choose to mask, move, and make "decisions" under time to affect the outcome.
    Well folks lets pack everything we are all done here, the only photographic artist in the world is Jerry Uelsmann, since he is the only one using the "element of time and hand" and making decisions under time on how his work is going to come out, the rest of us are craftman. Apparently the conscious decisions of using filters, depth of field as an isolating element, development manipulations to change the way things are into the way we envision them are merely the actions of a machine operator and should be disregarded. Since photography is only a mechanical reproduction of what is there and all that it involves is plunking your camera any which way and pressing the shutter, silly me....I have been doing it wrong all this time.
    But wait! could it be that while artist on other mediums make their decisions as they go along we make them before we complete the piece, and photographers are after all artist?....nahh...those actions are no different than those from the guy at Kinkos who slides the contrast lever up or down to make better copies.
    Funny tho, when it suits photography is nothing more than a craft mechanically reproduced, but if I am selling ink jet prints photography is an art and it should not matter how it is "reproduced," "content is all that matters"....I am outta here folks, on my way to comp USA to get a coolpix and the other stuff, I always wanted to be an artist.
     
  122. Moreover - the end product of the photographic process - usually the photographic print - is a copy - a "mechanical reproduction" (whether you print it on an enlarger "by-hand" or on an inkjet printer). Any competent darkroom printer can make 100 copies from the same negative and they will all be close enough to the same to make little real difference in meaning.
    To use your own example - there is only one Mona Lisa, one David, one "Sunflowers" etc. I doubt Michelangelo or Van Gogh or whoever could have produced an identical copy of them (or would have and considered them "art" and not just a copy). Van Gogh may have painted several versions of his sunflowers, but each one is different and unique and created as such (and even when they seem very similar - we come to the time and hand idea as I have always understood it - Van Gogh obviously chose to give different parts of similar paintings more time in one than in the other - my teacher always told me that "art always requires the thumb and forefinger in it's production" - whether you are holding a brush, a pen or a hammer and chisel

    Ok David lets take your argument, my response to you would be that feasibility of reproduction does not make it a "mechanical reproduction."
    IOW you are using qualifiers such as "close enough" and talk about how you doubt DaVinci or Van Gogh could not have "reproduced" an "identical" piece. Perhaps you are missing the point, since that is exactly my argument, no matter how hard you try a hand made object is impossible to replicate identically, much like a print made in the darkroom. Mechanical reproductions are exactly the same from one to the next, much like an ink jet print (if no variations are consciously introduced).
    Of course it is much easier to make a second or third print than it is to paint or sculpt a second or third piece of the same subject, but just because it is easier it does not make it a "mechanical reproduction" per se. Evidence of this greater "ease" is present in the art world, paintings have always commanded and IMO will always command greater prices than photographs, because as you point out is it easier to make 100 photographs that are similar than it is to make 100 paintings that are similar.
    Your argument is based on the "ease" to reproduce a second or third piece, not the actual results. Conceivably Van Gogh could have made 100 paintings of "Sunflowers" the same or "close enough" to use your term if people had requested them and label them 1/10 etc....I am sure he would have though it a PITA, but not impossible or improbable and to quote you "close enough to the same to make little real difference in meaning."
    SO I don't get your point, on the one hand you tell me a good printer can make 100 prints that are not the same, but "close enough" (which BTW is a peculiarity of hand made objects) and on the other hand you are telling me that the minute variations introduced on each printing should be disregarded in the case of photography but not in the case of other mediums.....No David, I think you are missing the point.
     
  123. "Well folks lets pack everything we are all done here, the only photographic artist in the world is Jerry Uelsmann, since he is the only one using the "element of time and hand" and making decisions under time on how his work is going to come out, the rest of us are craftman. "

    Of course not - you forgot David Hockney - his "joiners" do just that :)

    "But wait! could it be that while artist on other mediums make their decisions as they go along we make them before we complete the piece, and photographers are after all artist?....nahh...those actions are no different than those from the guy at Kinkos who slides the contrast lever up or down to make better copies."

    That's like Monet saying that what was most important was how long he took arranging the apples in the bowl and setting up his easel - not how he actually painted the apples - which, of course, is as absurd as it sounds.

    "Funny tho, when it suits photography is nothing more than a craft mechanically reproduced, but if I am selling ink jet prints photography is an art and it should not matter how it is "reproduced," "content is all that matters"....I am outta here folks, on my way to comp USA to get a coolpix and the other stuff, I always wanted to be an artist."

    which of course, we are free to do. It's what we do when we make "limited print editions" or when we say it's a hand-made platinum print, with cutesy brush marks to prove how hand made; or we make 5 foot wide prints, because if it's big it MUST be art etc - but it's marketing. By all means do that - Richard Bateman has made a fortune selling (massive) "limited edition prints" of his "wildlife art" even though it's really nothing more than wonderful formulaic illustration. Photographers have spent a long time trying to convince the art buying world, the museums and the general public that photography is art, so please pay top dollar for it (and all power to them/us for it) - but of course we become all insecure and fight tooth and nail when someone says otherwise. But perhaps true artists aren't always so easy to convince?

    Maybe we should just be happy being "photographers" and pursue our work and explore ways to break out of the bounds our medium presents, rather than just doing the same old thing that's been done a thousand times before?
     
  124. "IOW you are using qualifiers such as "close enough" and talk about how you
    doubt DaVinci or Van Gogh could not have "reproduced" an "identical" piece.
    Perhaps you are missing the point, since that is exactly my argument, no matter
    how hard you try a hand made object is impossible to replicate identically,
    much like a print made in the darkroom. Mechanical reproductions are exactly
    the same from one to the next, much like an ink jet print (if no variations are
    consciously introduced)."

    No - you are completely wrong - mechnical reproduction is nowhere near as mechanical as we would like to think - it depends hugely on the operator/craftsman. A printer who does his job - as was said in another post - with more love for the work, will produced a better inmage - even if he is running off a hundred. As was said early, if it is "simply" mechanical - why does Michael Smith spend so much time money and effort to find the BEST printer for his books? - because it is not "just" mechanical - even when it's someone making 2000 copies of a book for you.

    "Your argument is based on the "ease" to reproduce a second or third piece, not
    the actual results. Conceivably Van Gogh could have made 100 paintings of
    "Sunflowers" the same or "close enough" to use your term if people had
    requested them and label them 1/10 etc....I am sure he would have though it a
    PITA, but not impossible or improbable and to quote you "close enough to the
    same to make little real difference in meaning."

    BUT - and this is the important point - they didn't. Now, did Ansel?

    "SO I don't get your point, on the one hand you tell me a good printer can make
    100 prints that are not the same, but "close enough" (which BTW is a
    peculiarity of hand made objects) and on the other hand you are telling me that
    the minute variations introduced on each printing should be disregarded in the
    case of photography but not in the case of other mediums.....No David, I think
    you are missing the point."

    Because those 100 prints of Ansel's Moonrise ARE essentially (that is in their essence) identical. They are all copies from the one orignal negative - none of the slight (or even less than slight) variations in the printing make any serious change in the meaning of the image.
     
  125. No - you are completely wrong - mechanical reproduction is nowhere near as mechanical as we would like to think - it depends hugely on the operator/craftsman. A printer who does his job - as was said in another post - with more love for the work, will produced a better image - even if he is running off a hundred. As was said early, if it is "simply" mechanical - why does Michael Smith spend so much time money and effort to find the BEST printer for his books? - because it is not "just" mechanical - even when it's someone making 2000 copies of a book for you.
    Ahh I see, I am wrong because you say so. Of course there are more or less skilled operators, and those could be thought of as craftman, but it does not negate the fact than when all the buttons are pressed and all the adjustments made you can run 1000 copies exactly the same, if you say this is not true then you don't know anything about printing. And in fact the operator does not make the final decisions as to how the end product looks, this is as the word defines it an operator.
    BUT - and this is the important point - they didn't. Now, did Ansel?
    This in fact is the least important point, whatever reasons they chose not to do it does not negate the fact that it is possible, if it did it there would not be any forgeries, would there?
    Because those 100 prints of Ansel's Moonrise ARE essentially (that is in their essence) identical. They are all copies from the one orignal negative - none of the slight (or even less than slight) variations in the printing make any serious change in the meaning of the image.
    Ahh, you've seen all of them. So we are back to that, you say so, so it must be. The difference is that I see the print as the final product, of which the negative is an integral part of the process, you OTOH seem to think we are making copies all the time. Again lets go back to music, you can play the same song a 1000 times, but there is still one original score, so I guess all those musicians and singers who rework a song or piece are merely craftman.
    Look is obvious you are arguing for the sake of argument, you have yet to introduce an argument which cannot be easily opposed. So I am done here, yes I get your points:
    A negative is the original and we are making copies, even if they are done one by one.And since when you press the shutter you "make" the "original" then the prints are just copies
    . Since at the time we press the shutter we have no control over the subject matter we are merely craftman and not artists.
    These are nothing more than arguments to "lower" the value of traditional photography in order to make digital equal to or as valuable. I find them ridiculous and I do not plan to keep boring people on this forum rehashing these points. I suppose if you tell a lie often enough you hope it will become true.And yes Tim, I know about your $600,000 Gursky print, which just proves that he is really good at using those "funny rules" you so much despise and seem unable to understand.
    ttthhhat's all folks....
     
  126. “These are nothing more than arguments to "lower" the value of traditional photography in order to make digital equal to or as valuable.”

    No, No and No!

    The Image is Paramount, and not the Substrate it is on. The fundamental value of both Traditional and Digital prints are the same provided they are having Equally Exceptional Content (however you define it) and the realization (exceptional printing) of that Image.

    Jorge, when the time comes and you will produce your work digitally, you’ll make the same wonderful images you do now regardless of the process. Please, don’t say “I rather be dead” because to world wouldn’t be the same without you.
     
  127. Jorge, when the time comes and you will produce your work digitally, you’ll make the same wonderful images you do now regardless of the process. Please, don’t say “I rather be dead” because to world wouldn’t be the same without you.
    Cute Geoffrey, Thankfully I am sure film will always be available within my life time....
     
  128. You have to believe me on this one! I love to take pictures on film with my 45 and not with digital cameras. I also don’t want film to disappear, but it will disappear, as I’ve just heard some ominous news of a major manufacturer abandoning film production in the near future. If it is not true now it will be true soon enough. It is a shame, but blame it on the cruel rules of commerce and so called “progress”.

    Unfortunately, way of doing things often evolves into other avenues that we don’t necessarily like or find out later that they are not that bad…just different!

    “Thankfully I am sure film will always be available within my life time....” That is what I hoped for myself, but I’m afraid that won’t be the case.

    We just have to wait and see. Regards G.S.
     
  129. Geoffrey, apparently you are not aware of bergger, efke, forte and a few other who have precisely geared up production to fill those gaps.

    Even if they disappeared, I have already made a couple of films myself using the old dry plate technology and the backing from messed up negatives. They are slow as hell, but the results are very good.

    So nope, dont think I will, and besides the "rumors" you have heard are just that wishful thinking from digital practitioners, let me put it this way, as long as Kodak has not recover their investment in the new plant, THEY will keep on making film....
     
  130. Mark My Word! You will be working in Digital one day. Not because it is an absolutely better path, but that is how the cookie crumbles.

    Let me be the first one to say: Welcome to fold! (This statement to be used later :)), …..much, much later). When you’ll be spotting in Photoshop, or equivalent and say; Ahhh this is sooo easy, why didn’t I listen to good ol’ Geoffrey many, many years ago!

    Why would you enslave yourself by making film, when photography is to be enjoyed and not to keep it doing the hard way, just because it is harder? Just listen what the Dye Transfer guys are saying. B&W is not that far removed from color. You still don’t have to make the jump now, but keep an open mind! Will You?

    Cheers, G.S.
     
  131. Let me be the first one to say: Welcome to fold!
    LOL..this sounds more like..."you have been assimilated"...sorry bubba, dont think so. Yet you seem to have the same persistance as the borg....so tell you what, for the sake of closing this thread lets agree to disagree. I am glad you are happy with your process, allow me the same courtesy..ok?
     
  132. Now I realize that the main reason of this exercise that you want to be the last word in this thread. So be it! I really liked this comment in your other thread and it applies here.

    “Is anyone else struck by the apparent irony that those who seem to argue most forcefully for photography being art also seem to be those who appear most caught up in the minutiae of the craft? As well as appearing to be most unaware of art history, art theory, critical art discourse and so on?”

    Go ahead and make your last remark if that makes you happy. Oh Boy!
     
  133. Now I realize that the main reason of this exercise that you want to be the last word in this thread
    Oh brother!!..whatever bubba...
     
  134. Has anyone here ever sold prints to the MoMA permanent collection? Any ideas on where to start with pricing? I'm looking at archival lightjet dye coupler prints - size will be 24"x30"

    thank youyou
     
  135. Jeez, Marianne, and Jeeeehosaphet, people squabble a lot (and have what seem to be mutually exclusinve ideas that are actually all correct).

    Well, I haven't really worried about how to price prints until recently, and I'm still exploring. I'm not based in the U.S., and don't *have* things like platinum/palladium available. In fact, for color output, I have a choice between Fuji Frontier on glossy paper (ewwwww, IMHO) and an HP 6 color print on cold pressed watercolor paper. The thing is, THE DAMNED THINGS REQUIRE SPOTTING! And, often the ink lies so poorly on the paper that it takes 2-3 prints to get a good one (and that still has some inconsistencies that need to be smoothed out...errr...Windsor and Newton watercolors, by the way....and a single hair brush).

    TELL me that isn't hand made (go ahead, try....takes me longer to print the way I do than most o'ya spend on a print in the darkroom).

    BUT, that isn't the real purpose to this post, the real purpose is to ask clarification on a couple of points (opinions, informed or not, are most welcome). I have problems printing to the watercolor paper sometimes, in fact...I have 6 prints that I can NOT get the skin tones right on. I'm planning an exhibition, and am thinking about having those six prints done on Frontier/Glossy (see above "ewwwwww," I hate glossy prints for my own stuff).

    I don't know why I've always viewed glossy prints as vulgar tabloid photography, and I have *never* heard anyone refer to it like this. Is this just one of my quirks, or is this the way prints are viewed from a buyers perspective? (there, I finaly got to the question).

    Oh, and having them printed in the U.S. and shipped here is not an option, things disapear from customs and often come through damaged, so my only real options are 6-color HP on watercolor paper or Frontier on Crystal Archive glossy.

    I'm insanely jealous of all of you who have OPTIONS to defend, if I had my choice, digital enlarger to platinum print for black and white and....errr....I dunno for color, I'm still rather new to the concept of color, lol.
     
  136. Oh, here's an afterthought to my question, which is this: Why don't watercolor painter, oil painters, and sculptors come to blows about which medium is better?

    Better yet, why don't we argue that tri-x is better than Provia, that would be interesting.

    Fer kerist sakes, people...we might as well argue that 35mm is better or wirse than 8" x 10" view cameras (go ahead, TRY doing street photography with an 8x10...I'll bring popcorn, a lounge chair, and a video camera...).

    Digital is digital, film is film. I shoot both, and (*horrors*) often shoot black and white AND color in BOTH media (idealogues worldwide are turning over in their graves).

    Truth be told, I'm lusting after a D2X *and* a 4" x 5" view camera...and truth be told, I'd scan the 4" x 5" for ease of recreating what *I* see, instead of what a )@#@#@$ machine sees (face it, a camera alters reality in the taking of a picture, we don't have time to notice certain "flaws" when observing someone in the dynamic reality of life, and our eyes are drawn to things which simply fade into a picture).

    To me, the beauty of photography is photographing people as *I* see them, and that's why two people with identical cameras, identical lighting, identical models, identical poses, and identical angles will end up with two VERY different prints (and yes, my final output IS a print, and I keep threatening to quit posting my work to the web where everyone's monitor is different, and you can clearly see the tweaks I have done on some shots to more accurately reflect *my* reality, and how I see the person...which is different than you would have in the same situation). Errr, there's a great example in my portfolio where a leg extension is painfully obvious on some monitors, and not on others...but the fact is that I had not even NOTICED the length of the legs on the model until I got the shot into the darkroom (in this case digital). I simply adjusted the proportions to what I see when I look at her (and I happen to work with her, and have found that I still see her in the way I modified the photograph)...

    ...its all about different media, the aspects of media in photography do not make one superior or inferior, just like the fact that Mr X. chooses to do his watercolors on Windsor & Newton bright white paper doesn't make it better or worse than Ms. Y who uses Arches cold press...

    Oh...and I realize that I often do things that are rather out of vogue with the current trendy ways of looking at photography, but...I am NOT a journalist, I simply try and create the world as seen by one (most likely psychotic) soul. Simple as that.

    Take it or leave it, buy it or don't buy it--depends on whether what I do speaks to you :).
     
  137. Both sides make great points. Both sides (for the most part) fail to answer the question. Why don't you darkroom addicts just tell us how much you charge for your prints? And how many do you sell at that price? Same for the guys running digital prints? THEN we have something real to compare. Alot of you have commented, but few of you have given us your own pricing strategy other than to say mine is worth more than yours. To expostulate (is that a word? :) ) upon all the benefits of both worlds with no pricing and sales data is meaningless (to me anyway). How much do you all get for your prints? I am betting that all of you have sold the same print for various figures depending on who is buying and for what use! To take my own medicine, here is what I do as a semi-pro (horrors - I had to start somewhere). I now shoot with a Nikon D200 - used to shoot a Nikon F5. It does not matter to me which camera produced the print someone wants to buy. I take stock at what the person wants to do with the print. Size does not matter unless they want something I cannot print myself (which means 8x10 is my largest capability right now). I use standard Epson Archival Enhanced Matte or Heavyweight Matte paper - I just don't have the feel for glossys that others do. If the buyer is a friend, I charge anywhere from $20 to $50 (depending on if they are rich or poor) so that at least the user "sees" that there is value in the print they want. Anything given away free is just junk - so get something for your visionary effort. This gets my photos out into the public when the friend shows off his photo. I tell them this is a special rate for them so that a friend of a friend (not my friend or better known as John Q Public) does not think they will get that pricing. If a stranger wants a print, then I charge around $125 for the print. Don't get all bent out of shape - I don't sell enough to be hoarding business and upsetting the apple cart. I am getting name recognition and will be able to begin charging more. Isn't that what some of you have said about building your name recognition? As someone said, if I cannot get that for my work, then too bad. If it is not worth it to them, then they can go find the same vision I had from someone else - grin. Of course, this is will be stated in a nice way if it ever comes up. I have a portfolio on the web and have pricing set up way too low. It doesn't matter...have not sold any prints from them directly anyway and I ask people to contact me first for higher resolution possibilities. I have sold sets of digitals that were first seen on the website. As an example, I negotiated with one buyer for his use. He is putting together a family history book and will use a few of 38 images in the book. He will lose money on his book as there is no market for it. He buys whatever he can find related to his family name. It is a work of love for him and I happened to shoot a cemetery plot that interested him and me ( a long ago ancester was there). He probably would have paid what the website stated of about $700 if he bought each print through the site. I offered a break for $400 for the entire set digitally in both resolutions I already had. He bought them. No one else will probably ever want to buy them again; not that they are bad shots - just limited appeal. So, shoot me. I made $400 on a series of shots I wanted anyway and had already shot. I scan my F5 slides into the computer and Photoshop them a little to get the vision I saw when I decided to take the shot rather than what the camera was able to produce - hmmm, seems alot like why people spend time in darkrooms and same for people who spend time in Photoshop as stated by so many. If the shot was digital to start, then I Photoshop that until it pleases me - after all, isn't that the result we all want - to please ourselves with our work? Then if someone appreciates my end result, all the better. I tell my customer what the labs say about the paper and the ink as far as how long they may last depending on where they display them. I also tell them that if it fades, let me know - I will craft them another print free of charge as long as it is obvious the photo has not been left in direct sunlight or damaged in a human way. How many of you do that with either format? I have to say I do not have 100 or 200 years to wait and find out how long my prints will last. I kinda doubt any of my customers will either. When I'm dead, someone will just have to get the last file I used and hope that the printer they use gives what I gave. The customer is happy that I acknowledge that and they feel comfortable that I will provide outstanding customer service to them after the sale. On my limited sales, low hundreds, no one has come back complaining although they do come back and others have been referred to me. I hope this helps the user who only wanted to know how much to charge for his shots. Anyway, this is all I have time to write on the subject. Please tell us what you are actually getting for your prints. I am now going out and photograph something - anything. Troup Nightingale
    00Mo1M-38908884.jpg
     
  138. how about digital one of a kind 8x10 print? I printed mine and im afraid the shop i printed it on already erased the original file. I printed it right after shooting and didnt have a back up. I couldnt even recover it using softwares i have tried. sad, its actually a photo im proud about... thats why i printed it immediately.
     

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