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  #1  
Old 3rd March 2009, 10:48 PM
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Default Do digital, colour or black and white, prints sell better than darkroom prints.

Good luck with the new venture Steven, I am finding to my misery that my digital crap walks through the door in Galleries and my wet prints gather dust...

I can't see why Joe public prefers dodgital compared to a trad wet print. The subject matter is roughly the same.

I am totally confused as the comparison is ridiculous. All of my wet prints have such a huge tonal range compared to the contrasty dodgitals it does not make sense for me.

I am about to launch another set of prints in a local gallery that specialises in photography, but even they insist that I provide some 'colour images' to back up the traditional Silver prints!

My other half firmly believes that my digital stuff does not have the same feel as my traditional neg based images. She also suggests that I get bogged down when producing technically 'perfect' prints in the darkroom. Whereas my dodgital crap is somehow more creative!

After all that - just go for it Steven. I am a firm believer that one must follow ones heart and at least try to do what one prefers. That way the passion should show in your images.

Next time I post though - I must not drink so much wine first...
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Old 4th March 2009, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Burley View Post
Good luck with the new venture Steven, I am finding to my misery that my digital crap walks through the door in Galleries and my wet prints gather dust...

I can't see why Joe public prefers dodgital compared to a trad wet print. The subject matter is roughly the same.

I am totally confused as the comparison is ridiculous. All of my wet prints have such a huge tonal range compared to the contrasty dodgitals it does not make sense for me.

I am about to launch another set of prints in a local gallery that specialises in photography, but even they insist that I provide some 'colour images' to back up the traditional Silver prints!

My other half firmly believes that my digital stuff does not have the same feel as my traditional neg based images. She also suggests that I get bogged down when producing technically 'perfect' prints in the darkroom. Whereas my dodgital crap is somehow more creative!

After all that - just go for it Steven. I am a firm believer that one must follow ones heart and at least try to do what one prefers. That way the passion should show in your images.

Next time I post though - I must not drink so much wine first...
That is very interesting. Are all your digital prints colour and your film prints B&W? Maybe your partner has a point, as printmakers, we do tend to put a lot into obtaining a beautiful print and may sacrifice the content. One of my images I am very fond of is in an album here and on my site captioned, Snow, Rusland Heights. I like it very much but when I asked my wife what she thought she was not impressed. She asked me why I liked it and I said, look at the detail. I love the tones, the contrast between the white snow and the blacks in the shadows. Yes, she said but I wouldn't want to hang it on the wall. I think the public likes instantly satisfying images, drama, subjects that are surprising or unusually beautiful, like a sunset (colour). Lewis Baltz called these sort of images "lollypops". Thanks to our photographic education, formal or learned through books, we have different taste to the public. I do think, though, that is changing. I meet people now who seem to get more photography than they used to.
Steven
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Old 4th March 2009, 09:30 AM
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I'm afraid I have to report a similar experience to Mark - although I don't try very hard to sell prints, my digital colour ones sell quite well but it's very hard to sell monochrome wet prints in an ordinary gallery in a tourist town (which this is).

I think it simply reflects the fact that just as only a small proportion of people care enough to make fine artworks, only a small proportion understand them and appreciate them. It's just the same with painting - pretty figurative watercolours sell quite easily, more abstract conceptual oils don't sell so well.

It is quite easy to fall into the trap of putting technique above content I think, I've started to recognise that in some of my own work and I'm stepping back for a rethink. I've seen it in the work of one or two renowned printmakers as well - fabulous technique but minimal content, ultimately a boring picture I personally wouldn't want on the wall.

Perhaps we should move this interesting discussion to a new thread as it's gone a bit beyond just a website update!
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Old 4th March 2009, 11:05 AM
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Default Do digital, colour or black and white, prints sell better than darkroom prints.

do digital, colour or black and white, prints sell better than darkroom prints and if so why?
Steven
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Old 4th March 2009, 11:37 AM
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I can't really answer that fully Steven because I've never tried selling a digital mono print or a darkroom colour print; all I can say is that my colour prints which are really glorified picture postcards sell more easily than my black and white "art" darkroom prints. That may of course be simply because they're cheaper.

I really don't know whether it has anything to do with the process, although I have come across people who say they won't buy a digital (inkjet) print.

I think the problem that "fine art" photography is up against in the UK at least is that the majority of the public don't understand the process. To them, photographs are something you get from Tesco, and they don't know about the hand processes involved. Perhaps that's a matter for education by the artists. I'm sure that calling an inkjet a "giclée print" can add value to it, but when I've called a darkroom print "gelatine silver" I've been accused of being pretentious. You can't win!
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Old 4th March 2009, 11:46 AM
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Ok Richard, that is as I suspected. It is the fact that the digital print is colour and that it is cheaper. Also, you say your colour prints are glorified postcards, the subject is more accessible. I think the answer is education as you suggest.

I wouldn't worry about being called pretentious...You're an artist after all.
Steven
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Old 4th March 2009, 12:10 PM
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IMO there is a price point at which people will happily buy something from the web which they haven't seen in the flesh. They know about electrical goods etc but art pictures to hang on their wall is another story. Would you pay £250 for a large B+W image seen only on the web from a photographer you never heard of? If the answer is no, then why would anyone else. So how much would you risk spending on something you like the look of from the web. I rekon about £70 tops otherwise sales will be very slow. And for that amount it simply isn't economic to produce B+W silver gelatin prints which have to be matted and possibly framed as well. Inkjets can be churned out and rolled into a tube for shipping which is simple and cheap. Silver gelatin prints can't. So you have to aim at niche markets and they will want see your images hanging in a gallery until your name is known. Only then will you have a chance of selling for good prices on the web but you will need to back that up with frequent exhibitions, shows and art fairs etc.

I know a local photographer who does digital. He stitches several images together to make big panoramas printed on canvas. He sells quite a few but for low prices. Smaller prints for £20 or less. Big canvases for around £120 and that involves a lot of hanging around in weekly craft markets and the like.
That's not for me.
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Old 4th March 2009, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Steven Taylor View Post
Ok Richard, that is as I suspected. It is the fact that the digital print is colour and that it is cheaper. Also, you say your colour prints are glorified postcards, the subject is more accessible. I think the answer is education as you suggest.

I wouldn't worry about being called pretentious...You're an artist after all.
Steven
Ha! I recall a professional photographer friend who once used to say he was the man that put the "f" in "art", and I think he had a point .

Last year I exhibited a series of mono prints made at a local restored sawmill; they were very well received, but not a single one sold. A sample is attached. Too arty maybe!
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  #9  
Old 4th March 2009, 01:02 PM
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I think non-collectors, in other words the casual buyers that we are aiming at, buy the subject not the object. Maybe somebody who used to work in the old saw mill would have bought your images. That's why I think site-specific landscapes might sell. There was some Feminist/Marxist stuff being spouted in the eighties that said something like men took pictures of sweeping landscapes because they wanted to own the land (can't credit that because I can't remember who wrote it and I probably miss-quoted anyway). If you accept that, then maybe that goes someway to explaining why people buy postcards and, by extension colour landscapes of places they know. I did sell more esoteric work when I had a gallery in Kendal but not enough to make a living. I had a studio upstairs where I photographed kids, families and dogs, all on black and white btw. I had one customer who was decorating a new house who bought 10 20x16 landscapes at £395 each but that was unusual. I reckon I sold about 1 a month.

4 years ago I was in an exhibition of landscape photography with Graham Whitwam, Joe Cornish and David Herrod. We each had the same space, mine and David's were B&W, Joe did what Joe does and Graham, who does some really good B&W work opted to show big, colour, panoramic canvases of coastal scenes in Western Scotland. David sold a couple at £145, I sold one @£395, Joe sold 3or 4 @ £600 and Graham's images flew out at £120 each; about 50% mark up on his cost. So Graham's were colour, on canvas, cheap, unusual shape and of recognisable locations. Joe's were big, colour, of recognisable places and by a famous name but expensive. David's were small, black and white but of recognisable places and by an established name, they were also cheap. Mine were expensive, esoteric and nobody had heard of me.

So, what I aim to produce is images of recognisable places at a reasonable price, I intend to market the work as hand made, Silver Gelatin prints and I will make some literature that explains the process and archival qualities. I will not compromise the process or vision or I may as well go back to shooting for insurance claims. I am using art fairs and submitting to galleries, I don't expect to get a lot from the web site. I'll keep you informed.

It is very useful to sound out my ideas and get this sort of feedback at what I feel, is quite a transitional point in my career. Thanks guys.
Steven
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Old 4th March 2009, 01:19 PM
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I fear that educating the masses is wishful thinking. If you you want to sell in volume to the wider public you will have to produce what the wider public want. I think the first law of any business is "the customer is King."

Tony
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