Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints

From: Tom Ferguson ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/05/04-11:11:22 AM Z
Message-id: <>

For a few decades I've been an active collector of photography. I've
been a good customer to a number of galleries. So, let me speak from
the collector's viewpoint (as opposed to the photographer's viewpoint).

The whole concept of editions in photography is a mess. Partly due to
the fact that it isn't a natural part of photography (negatives don't
wear out like printing plates) and partly because the galleries and
photographers have been plainly dishonest. There are few laws (or few
laws enforced) in this area. I have a wonderful Brett Weston print of
leaves in Hawaii. It is market 5/45 (I think). It is a total lie (and I
knew that when I bought it). He had printed it as an unlimited edition
for many years. A particular gallery then wanted a limited edition to
raise pre publication funds for one of his books. My print is only an
"edition" because it is 10x13 inches rather than 11x14 inches!! Yes,
thats right, an edition of 45 10x13 inch prints in an unlimited image

I love the image and the price was right, so I bought it. Probably a
good thing, now that he is dead I can't afford his work. I gave the
gallery a good lecture, but assume it went in one ear and right out the

This sort of dishonesty hurts all of us. My suggestion: most of us have
some sort of stamp we use on the back of our mats. Put any "funny
business" about your editioning there for all to see. If 1/45 means "of
this size" or "of this edition" or "negative may be used in other
collages", then SAY SO TO THE BUYER and all is well. If you don't want
to commit to an honest and stated edition, run it as an unlimited image
(that didn't hurt Ansel Adams or Edward Weston).

On Sunday, July 4, 2004, at 08:50 PM, wrote:

> When you put up for sale an edition of 5 the representation to the
> buyer is there will be only 5 printed. The buyer gets the print and
> the assurance he/she will be only 1 of 5 in the entire world to ever
> own that image. Subsequent sales of additional prints lower the value
> of the original 5 because now there may be no end of the number of
> prints. No only that, your word is no longer to be trusted and your
> value to collectors is nil.
> George
>> From: steves <>
>> Date: 2004/07/04 Sun PM 05:15:25 GMT
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints
>> So then, how does this apply to a second edition numbered to show
>> this is a
>> second edition? As with the example of 1/5.2 to indicate this
>> edition of
>> five is the second edition?
>> It is my case that the edition, 1/5 is an honest representation of
>> that
>> first run by the artist, and when other prints are made they are
>> either not
>> numbered or numbered as a run of many, and after the first edition.
>> This
>> would be similar to a book, printed later with the phrase 'second
>> printing'
>> inside the book cover.
>> How could any part of my examples given below be considered Grand
>> Theft?
>> I don't know any photographer who made editions, then destroyed the
>> negative. Brett Weston destroyed some negatives at that point in his
>> life
>> when he determined he would never have the time to make any more
>> prints from
>> those negatives, and wanted to make the point that reprints of his
>> pictures
>> using his negatives was not the same. His argument was over the
>> craft of
>> his photography as little difference from that of a painter. That his
>> photographs could not be replicated by anybody but him, himself; and
>> he
>> didn't want to leave to posterity that dilemma over the craft or art
>> in
>> photography.
>> If I own the negative and make an eiditon of five, decide to make
>> more and
>> don't attempt to hide or even MARK the subsequent prints as following
>> the
>> first edition, I simply cannot see how that applies to PC 487
>> Steve Shapiro
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: <>
>> To: <>
>> Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 9:46 AM
>> Subject: Re: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints
>>> PC 487 (Grand Theft). If you make a representation that you know to
>>> be
>> false (Only edition of 5 when knowing you will make more when the
>> first
>> edition sells out), the buyer relies on this representation (Only
>> edition of
>> 5), parts with his/her money and then finds edition is actually
>> 10-15, etc.
>> you have grand theft (assuming the cost is over $400.00.
>>>> From: steves <>
>>>> Date: 2004/07/03 Sat PM 11:00:17 GMT
>>>> To:
>>>> Subject: Re: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints
>>>> Please! Do us all a favor and quote the penal code, if you would
>>>> be so
>>>> kind.
>>>> S. Shapiro
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: <>
>>>> To: <>
>>>> Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 4:01 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints
>>>>> That numbering system is really a misrepresentation to the
>>>>> original 5
>>>> buyers. You are representing to them there will only be 5 prints
>>>> made
>> then
>>>> you turn around and print and offer 5 more for sale. In California
>> thats a
>>>> violation of the penal code. You should reconsider that practice.
>>>>> George
>>>>>> From: steves <>
>>>>>> Date: 2004/07/02 Fri PM 09:06:21 GMT
>>>>>> To:
>>>>>> Subject: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints
>>>>>> Less than trying to make prints identical, I'm so damn happy that
>>>>>> I
>> got
>>>> one
>>>>>> the way I wanted, I simply make more.
>>>>>> With a successful mother as an artist, printmaker, I learned to
>> number
>>>> my
>>>>>> prints. If I go back and make more once the first edition sells
>> out, I
>>>> put
>>>>>> a decimal after the lower number to mark the edition, i.e. 1/5 and
>> 1/5.2
>>>>>> etc.
>>>>>> Ansel editioned his prints according to the lower numbers being
>>>>>> his
>>>> choice
>>>>>> as the 'best' quality; and larger numbers that followed.
>>>>>> I number my prints, mostly based on the chronological order they
>> were
>>>> made.
>>>>>> Just for sentiment. If I loose track over the order they were
>>>>>> made,
>> I
>>>>>> choose the best and number them first. Sometimes, I group them in
>>>>>> portfolios in an order of consistency. I found my number four of
>> five
>>>> to be
>>>>>> the best, and put a higher price, graduting according to editions.
>> In
>>>> that
>>>>>> way, the less amount of portfolios available, the more valuable
>>>>>> the
>> once
>>>>>> sold would become. That was merely an incentive to the collector
>>>>>> to
>>>> make
>>>>>> their decision if they were hesitant. One more bauble to
>>>>>> influence
>> a
>>>> buyers
>>>>>> choice.
>>>>>> S. Shapiro
>>>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>>>> From: "Bill William" <>
>>>>>> To: <>
>>>>>> Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 11:56 PM
>>>>>> Subject: RE: Editioning
>>>>>>> --- Judy Seigel <> ?
>>>>>>>> (As far as I know, painters do not find it necessary
>>>>>>>> to make their
>>>>>>>> paintings identical -- or not on purpose anyway.)
>>>>>>>> Judy
>>>>>>> True.
>>>>>>> Still, I have know painters who paint the same subject in
>>>>>>> the same way (not identical but close) when they find an
>>>>>>> image that sells.
>>>>>>> That doesn't seem much dif. from what photographers do,
>>>>>>> except Photographers too often TRY HARD to MAKE them
>>>>>>> exactly identical... perhaphs due to the very nature of
>>>>>>> the medium.
>>>>>>> Ray
>>>>>>> __________________________________________________
>>>>>>> Do You Yahoo!?
Tom Ferguson
Received on Mon Jul 5 11:49:04 2004

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