Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints

From: Joe Smigiel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/05/04-04:23:35 PM Z
Message-id: <>

I am of the opinion as a photographer that one should create an image
with a specific medium in mind. In my work, I can't envision having an
image created and printed in silver gelatin that would work as a
platinum print.

I might use an intermediate step to arrive at an image (e.g., shoot a
35mm film negative or digital image file which *could* be printed as a
silver or inkjet print, and I might proof it in that medium) but I try
to have the final print image/medium in mind when I make the exposure.
Otherwise, I'd manipulate the image to such a degree, for example in
gum, so that it bears only a minimum resemblance to a previous print in
a different medium.

To me, there are reasons to make a platinum vs. silverprint vs.
gumprint, and value to a collector ain't one of them.

But then, I don't sell much either. :)


>>> 07/05/04 5:25 PM >>>
As a collector if I buy a photograph that says 5/45, I expect 45
photographs to be sold of that IMAGE. Period! Now, if the photographer
marks the back of the mat "5/45 of silver gelatin prints, other
editions may be released in different media", then I'm a happy
collector and know what I've bought. If the photographer has an edition
of 45 without disclaimers, has sold 25 silver gelatin prints, and then
discovers platinum: I would have no problem with him/her making some or
all of the remaining 20 prints in platinum. But, to start another
edition of 45 in another media (platinum) is, to me, lying to the

I will admit that both as a collector and as an artist I'm well on the
conservative side of this discussion.

Another very valid option is to not limit your work. I own two (of the
list's own) Dan Burkholder platinum prints. I have more prints than
wall space, so right now they are in storage. The "Ferguson Gallery" is
currently showing Bresson and Bravo :-)

But, if I remember correctly, Dan marks his with a number only (I own
print #12 for example). In other words, I bought the 12th print Dan
made of that image, but he didn't promise to limit the edition in
number or media (the print is marked 12, not 12/45). There may someday
be a print #33,333,333 of my platinum image made in Dan's new favorite
(ink over platinum). I knew that buying the print, so all is fair and
upfront. Actually I "think" Dan's price raises every so many prints, so
the 33 millionth print sold might be *^&%^$ pricey!

I'll point out that neither Bresson or Bravo had limited editions (or
at least my prints aren't).

On Monday, July 5, 2004, at 12:30 PM, John Cremati wrote:

> This is a question for Tom Ferguson...
> Tom, I think your thread is very interesting.... .. The
> question I have for you is : As a collector how do you feel of
> various editions using the same negative but printing separate
> editions using other printing processes..Say one in Carbon, another
> in silver, gum, and yet another in Platinum...? As a example do you
> think the previous buyers of silver prints should be made aware of a
> edition of Platinum? Many photographers evolve as time goes on...
> They had no idea that they would be making platinum prints 5 years
> ago..
> Regards,
> John Cremati
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Tom Ferguson
> To:
> Sent: Monday, July 05, 2004 1:11 PM
> Subject: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints
> 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 >
> 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 other.
> 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
Tom Ferguson
Received on Mon Jul 5 16:23:35 2004

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