Re: Editioning .... worthless...

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/04/04-08:01:54 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Sun, 4 Jul 2004, steves wrote:

> I like that bit of history; and to bring it up to date with the example of
> Michael Kenna:
> He numbers his prints and ACTUALLY MAKES forty-five prints, puts them in a
> box and sells in a 'step value.' As the numbers sell, the remaining become
> more expensive. So the original buyers have a $200 print and by the time
> the popularity has increased to number forty, his charge has raised the
> value of those with lower numbers; because his number forty to forty-five is
> several thousand dollars.

David Kenna is one of the most famous photographers in his field. Not
many can sell out an edition of 45...

I would also assume that Kenna has a printer doing those 45 prints for
him, or 44 of them, which again not many "art" photographers have. In
alternative photography the print is usually even more arduous to make, so
a large edition is even less likely. I don't remember who -- possibly
David Vestal -- did a survey of edition sizes by photographers and came up
with an average edition of one or possibly two.

A couple of other points: "Artist's proof" has not been mentioned here,
but there are almost always several of them as well, which are given to
friends, family, self, whatever and are hors de numbering.

Again, a very popular print that has sold widely gains fame and probably
greater value thereby. Moon over whatsis exists in a gazillion prints &
varieties, also, according to David Vestal, various qualities (some prints
being blah, some luminous) -- but its plethora almost certainly adds to
its value. The idea of a collector feeling cheated by a larger edition is
probably more theoretical than real... S/he might more likely be gratified
to own such a desirable print.

Finally, the style of 1/45, 2/45, 3/45 etc. for numbering, as most folks
know, originated with etching or engraving as successive prints continued
to wear down the plate, making the later numbers presumably less desirable
-- and a low number supposedly more valuable.

In photography, that particular format is at best an anachronism -- like
the buggy whip.

Received on Sun Jul 4 20:02:18 2004

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