May 26, 2009

photography as art...

Dylan's new Album. edition #4/12 ($18,000)

riddle me this?

A painter
creates one painting.
A sculptor
creates one sculpture.
An architect
creates one design for one final structure.
A photographer
creates one negative or digital file
and then makes an edition size.

Imagine, for a second, if other artists followed that standard.
Hunter S. Thompson only sold his books in edition of 10 at $6,000

or Dylan only produced 12 CD's for his latest album at $18,000.

how much that would suck? I know I'd definitely be attending more of
Dylan's live shows for $40.

Just a thought.

note: I know I'd splurge for a Pieter Hugo print at $80! and if only 5,000 others did as well.... you do the math.


Jack Nelson said...


You've got gallery reps on both coasts; isn't a limited edition pricing structure to your advantage?

Aaron said...

true true... and it does work nicely...I'm just wondering why photography price structure went by way of painting and sculpture and not music and other easily massed produced arts? I'd be doing just fine, if not better, with 500 editions at $100.

Aaron said...

note: I say edition of 500 at $100 because obviously the final print of a photograph IS the photograph. I would want to approve and see each piece that is sold. So I would never want a big offset printer running off 5,000 copies with no proofing process on stock finch paper.

Perhaps it all began for that reason? Hand made prints take time and precision and of course archival inkjet printing and ilford or hammemuhle paper were not as available to produce 500 prints in a timely, yet artful manner.

fuck if I know... I didn't go to photography school. I thought some grad might know.

Jack Nelson said...


I didn't go to photography school either. But I think the edition pricing structure comes from printmaking; so it was not invented by photographers.

It's an artificial pricing structure meant to inflate the prices. Photographs are easily reproducible (more so now with digital printing than in the old days of wet darkrooms where even with notes each print was slightly different)

And hell man, I'd like to get even close to selling 500 prints!

Aaron said...

I do believe that printmaking was responsible for that pricing structure. I also understand low numbers is to inflate pricing, but it's just as profitable to sell 10 editions at $5,000 as it is to sell 500 prints at $100.

Problem with that is hoity toity collectors won't feel like they have a truly unique item. But perhaps things like the 20x200 project are the way to appeal to serious collectors and normal budgeted fans of photography. Perhaps that is the future. I wouldn't mind that at all. Seems only right with modern printmaking technology.