Re: Actual photograph

From: Bill William ^lt;>
Date: 03/19/05-02:18:32 PM Z
Message-id: <>

--- Katharine Thayer

I agree with a lot of what you say here.

Part of it is craftsmanship vs. artistry I think. You
know, the degree of each that is put into a work.

(sorry Judy... I don't like the look of "crafts-person" I
think a craftsman can be a woman and vice versa!)

I have often felt like some unknowing souls were being
"taken" by the smooth talking sellers of poster prints...
names escape me but you know the ones... colorful Hawaii
underwater sea-ns with flipper.. C. R. Lasren? and
"Yamagata" posters, here... they don't stop to tell you
that these are massed produced high quality copies... yet
some poor souls seem to believe they are the "original"!
Why? I think that price tag tells them "this must be good"

Anyway, it is interesting to reflect on Chinese and
Japanese traditions... when it comes to Artistic
craftmanship, I was really in awe at some of their skill
in crafting what ever it was they did... but in the end
they were just craftsmen, well, most of them.

The design was just being really well done again and
again... AND AGAIN... sort of like Randy Hansen doing Jimi
Hendrix... (sorry- for those of you who don't know, he is
REALLY good!The only tribute artist to have earned the
endorsement of Hendrix's family!)

Anyway, also
 consider the maker of Ukiyoe or Japanese Wood Block
They were turned out factory style... Printer, Carver,
Designer what have you they all worked as a team to
produce CHEAP and unfortunately NOT very well respected...

But to my eyes they beat the average snapshot/photograph
up and down the wall!

What is my point?
While I want MY original unique work to be prayed over
(and even to!)... There ARE some art forms /artists that
accept that some things are to be produced in large
quantity at low price and prints such as typical silver
halide-gelatin prints... are a perfect medium for this...
it is their nature to be produced in quantity and sold
cheaply and this goes double double extra for "squirts"
like digital prints! (Take that you big bully!)

Really, perhaps we need to have some kind of law to
protect the integrity of the name "Photography" from those
deceptive sales animals... (Do you think patti smith would
write a song about it for us? Ralph Nader, we need you!)

OK, Ok I'll be quiet. Sorry. I must have inhaled or
something. Absorbing way too much gelatin in my
new(alternative) process.

Ray 48 hours w/o sleep....
Happiness is the best Music.

> You know much more about art markets in general than
> I do, so I'm not
> meaning to contradict but only to add to your
> remarks when I say that in
> the market I sell my work in, where photographic
> work of all kinds
> generally sells for less than $1500, I don't see
> digital photographic
> prints selling very much at all.
> In the galleries I frequent, the word "giclee" is
> most often used to
> describe the inkjet reproductions that some painters
> make of their
> paintings to sell to people who like the painting
> but can't afford the
> real thing. But these reproductions sell for less
> than $50, as befits
> machine-printed reproductions. As for digital
> photographic prints
> selling as well, for the same prices, as "actual
> photographs," it ain't
> happenin. Even when galleries elide the true nature
> of the digital
> prints by simply calling them "photographs" they
> don't seem to sell as
> well. As Kate says, there's often, if not always, a
> sort of inert
> quality to the inkjet prints that gives them away,
> even if they don't
> give themselves away with the use of filters or
> unnatural colors or
> contrast.
> One of the many factors that made me decide I needed
> to take a break
> from exhibiting my work, three years ago, was that
> after I worked myself
> into serious exhaustion to get a show on the walls,
> the next show that
> went up at that gallery was a show of digital
> photographs, labeled
> simply "photograph" and priced about the same as my
> handmade, completely
> unique prints. I was very tired at the time so no
> doubt hypersensitive
> to the comparison, but it really fried my gizzard. I
> felt, and still
> feel, that the labeling was misleading, and that
> it's ridiculous to
> price handmade prints and machine made prints in the
> same range.
> But from a distance of three years, it's easier to
> have some perspective
> about it. The fact is that most of my show sold, and
> as I recall only
> one of the digital prints sold; what's more I don't
> think his work has
> sold well at all over the intervening years. At the
> same time, I have
> been pursued by that gallery ever since I stopped
> showing, and have four
> prints in a juried invitational show that's opening
> there tonight.
> What's more the photographers who were invited to
> submit work for this
> show, to the best of my knowledge, all print their
> work photographically
> rather than digitally. I don't think that was a
> conscious litmus test
> for an invitation; in fact I'm sure it wasn't, but
> that's just how it
> turned out. So the idea that digital is taking over
> the photographic
> art market simply isn't true out here in my little
> neck of the woods.
> The idea that people buy the image not the the
> object is a nice idea for
> academic discussion but has little to do with how
> actual art buyers
> think. I'm a buyer of photographs myself and I would
> never buy a
> machine-printed photograph for the price I might pay
> for, (yes, I will
> use the phrase) "an actual photograph." I'll buy a
> poster or a postcard,
> but I'll pay $2 for the postcard or $20 for the
> poster. I'll know I'm
> getting a machine print, and I'll be happy. But when
> I spend $200 or
> $300 for a photograph, I expect the print to be made
> by photographic
> method of one kind or another (I've bought platinum
> prints, Polaroid
> emulsion transfer; silver gelatin prints) and not by
> a digital printer.
> And I'd say that it's fairly evident that that I'm
> not alone in that
> attitude as a buyer. I know that the people who buy
> my prints value them
> for their handmade quality, and for the mystique of
> the process, perhaps
> as much as for the image itself. My 2cents,
> Katharine Thayer

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Received on Sat Mar 19 14:18:43 2005

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