Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints

From: steves ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/05/04-07:45:31 PM Z
Message-id: <003701c462fa$ecc695c0$>

As I recally, Tom, we used to make pictures as requested for sale or
exhibition. Then, somebody would want an edition so we'd number them and
print a bunch in one darkroom session (maybe more than one day, but one
dedicated edition-session) that were expressly 'an edition' of some popular
pictures, or other. Do you feel 'gyped' over this? If it was printed by
Brett it's still a valuable print.

S. Shapiro
----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Ferguson
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2004 10:11 AM
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 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 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.


From: steves <>
Date: 2004/07/04 Sun PM 05:15:25 GMT
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

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
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

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


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.


From: steves <>
Date: 2004/07/02 Fri PM 09:06:21 GMT
Subject: Re: Editioning and trying to make identical prints

Less than trying to make prints identical, I'm so damn happy that I



the way I wanted, I simply make more.

With a successful mother as an artist, printmaker, I learned to



prints. If I go back and make more once the first edition sells

out, I


a decimal after the lower number to mark the edition, i.e. 1/5 and



Ansel editioned his prints according to the lower numbers being his


as the 'best' quality; and larger numbers that followed.

I number my prints, mostly based on the chronological order they



Just for sentiment. If I loose track over the order they were made,


choose the best and number them first. Sometimes, I group them in
portfolios in an order of consistency. I found my number four of


to be

the best, and put a higher price, graduting according to editions.



way, the less amount of portfolios available, the more valuable the


sold would become. That was merely an incentive to the collector to


their decision if they were hesitant. One more bauble to influence




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.)



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.


Do You Yahoo!?

Tom Ferguson
Received on Mon Jul 5 20:03:39 2004

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