Selling prints on e-bay and elsewhere

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bill schwab

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Nope this was Cole in the Mid 80's at the Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver.
Interesting as he was furiously anti-edition when speaking about it to me, told me of Kim doing this with his negative on the back of the mount and how he had pleaded with him not to do so. This was end of the 90's... shows how people change I guess.

Bill
 

MurrayMinchin

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While your points about galleries are well reasoned, do you think there is something to be said for galleries helping create markets, to stimulate interest and inspiration?

You bet there are Doug. I just didn't want to make their argument for them! There's been a long history in the fine arts of gallery owners, or patrons, who supported an artist financially so he or she could concentrate on creating more art. Sadly, this is far from the norm.

My impression (from waaaaay out here at roads end on the northwestern edge of the continent...and remember, that letter was written 5 years ago) is that there are some gallery owners who bellied up to the trough to get rich, and some collectors who only buy photographs to add to their investment portfolio. Neither has the long term welfare of the photographer in mind, except in somehow increasing the purchase price of the photographs. My point was that the Internet allows photographers another way to sell their work without having to play the game by their rules.

The trick is, a) how to get people to discover your photography, b) how to get people to realize the worth of your photographs without a gallery holding peoples hands, or without giving your work a 'stamp of approval', and c) what kind of pricing structure will work for you and your images.

Murray
 
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Doug Hook

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You bet there are Doug. I just didn't want to make their argument for them! There's been a long history in the fine arts of gallery owners, or patrons, who supported an artist financially so he or she could concentrate on creating more art. Sadly, this is far from the norm.

My impression (from waaaaay out here at roads end on the northwestern edge of the continent...and remember, that letter was written 5 years ago) is that there are some gallery owners who bellied up to the trough to get rich, and some collectors who only buy photographs to add to their investment portfolio. Neither has the long term welfare of the photographer in mind, except in somehow increasing the purchase price of the photographs. My point was that the Internet allows photographers another way to sell their work without having to play the game by their rules.

The trick is, a) how to get people to discover your photography, b) how to get people to realize the worth of your photographs without a gallery holding peoples hands, or without giving your work a 'stamp of approval', and c) what kind of pricing structure will work for you and your images.

Murray

Fair enough!
 

naturephoto1

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I've just taken a quick look (art - photographs - contemporary) on what I think is UK e-bay. It must be very discouraging for photographers who are serious about their work to see the going price for other prints up for grabs - hardly covering the cost of a machine print.

Safe to say, e-bay does not generally appear to "represent" the kind of work referred to through this thread.... that often seems to rest with galleries and photographer's own websites. There are exceptions as some people have said through this thread; obviously many advantages and disadvantages to the various outlets to weigh up.

Hi Doug,

Part of the problem of people purchasing from a photographers website (particularly for large images) which is also true of eBay is that the viewer can not truly see the quality, the tones, color, exposure, etc of the final photo. These can only be seen in person. That is why I have observed over the years that purchasers of my work usually have seen the work in person (as in from Art Shows), but they may purchase the size based upon their available space which they can later confirm on the website.

Rich
 

Allen Friday

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I don't know if Cole did this or not. But Kim did a number of photographs where he made one print from the negative and then he taped it to the back of the print for sale. In an interview he did within the last two years, he stated that he did this as a way to "let go" of the negatives, a stage he had to go through. Certainly each print was unique. He no longer does this.
 

Bill Dobbs

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Selling Prints

Just out of curiosity, we put a print up for sale on e-bay a couple of years ago. It was an 8x10" black and white print I'd shot and printed. There was just a little interest and it did sell for a few £'s.

While my ego would love it if I sold some prints and even more if I made some real money out of it, it doesn't quite feel the right thing to do. In trying to work out my unease, it does seem to cheapen the image, or is it a case of vanity? I can't quite put my finger on it.

Is it the right thing to do?

right or wrong is up to you and your circumstance. For me, if someone is willing to pay for a print they are expressing true interest in the print, otherwise they wouldn't be purchasing.
 

manalishi

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This is one of those things that amuses me in landscape photographers. The fact they feel they need to travel the globe in search of landscapes that have not been made. While I love to travel and shoot, my best images are made in my own backyard and it is these that sell the most. I mean no disrespect to the Michael Kennas, Rolfe Horns or Josef Hoflehners out there as their work is quite beautiful, but I think photographers like this have also become a dime a dozen group and I have a hard time getting excited about any of it anymore. So do collectors if sales are any indication. It has become painfully obvious. There are too many shooters looking at the Michael Kenna business model and thinking they too can do it. They aren't looking to make great work, they're looking to make a living... to be famous. To me that is all bull&%$#. I think people need to look inward rather than outward to make their images great.

has anyone seen Josef's recent work from China? It's very good..... IMO......

http://www.josefhoflehner.com/china2007/01.html

M
 

jovo

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As to 'following', the march around the globe to so many of the same sites by so many photographers makes the appearance of emulation more likely even if it isn't actually the case. Having pretty much chewed the Yosemite, Death Valley, Utah and Pacific coast sites to soft, easy to swallow pap, the hadj seems to continue to Japan, mainland Asia, Iceland, Tuscany etc.

One aspect of Bill's work I truly appreciate is that in spite of making some of the obligatory pilgrimages, he also pulls wonderful imagery from what's close at hand where he lives. Maybe other photogs will follow him home! :D
 

Early Riser

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In regards to travel it's easy to say that you don't need to travel far when you live in an area that has the kind of subject matter you like and has plenty of opportunities to shoot them. I live in largely populated suburb of NYC yet love snow capped mountains, deserts and minimal, open plains. There just isn't much of that around here. So do I choose to shoot subject matter that doesn't interest me or do I go to the places that do interest me?
To say that photographers who travel are "a dime a dozen" is just being judgemental and denigrating about the choice of subject that someone else chooses.

Also the whole who is copying Kenna thing is a can of worms. Kenna didn't create minimal landscape, he's not the first to shoot trees in snow or poles in water. What he did do was bring it to a very refined level and make it very visible. While I'm sure that there are people who Kenna has influenced to a large degree, but the longer you do photography, and the more your personal commtiment is to it, the more your work will begin to become unique to you.
 

Harrigan

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One aspect of Bill's work I truly appreciate is that in spite of making some of the obligatory pilgrimages, he also pulls wonderful imagery from what's close at hand where he lives. Maybe other photogs will follow him home! :D[/QUOTE]

I think this is the essence of Bills' work and shows his true mastery. I mean if you can make what he makes with what he's looking at you are truly talented.

My personal work isn't even close to his quality level and it is interesting to note that my best most personal vision type work doesn't sell nearly as well as the cheesy waterfall type images. I shoot them and consider them to be commercial type images that otherwise I wouldn't really be making. The point being if you aren't in the highest quality creative level of the masters you have to shoot in a way that sells if you are to eat.
 

MurrayMinchin

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The point being if you aren't in the highest quality creative level of the masters you have to shoot in a way that sells if you are to eat.

I don't know about that...

About 15 years ago when I was in my 'early retirement phase' (didn't get a steady full-time job until I was 32), my wife and I were nearly broke and Christmas was looming.

We used what little money we had for printing and framing supplies and I went out and took the cheesiest, most saccarine sweet, easy-on-the-eyes nature images I could muster. When they were printed up and displayed not one of the cheesy prints sold, just the images I was impelled to make by whatever force it is that tells me to stop and set up the camera were purchased.

Recently though, as in after my daughters birth, I've started a collection of local interest scenes. This came to mind as I was taking an image of snow covered rocks in a creek and I was also pondering how, with my salary, we would be able to afford things like fancy jeans for our daughter when she became a teenager.

As these things were rolling around in my head, I looked behind me and the snow covered bridge over the creek was bathed in sunset light, and a full moon was just above it. After taking my photograph I spun the camera around and took a triptych of the bridge scene, thinking to myself, "Didn't Edward Weston call stuff like this his pot boilers?"

I've been taking such images for a while now, but only when they fall in my lap, and always on my terms. Nobodies seen them yet...I'll trot them out when my daughter gets a little older. I never go looking for them.

Murray
 

Harrigan

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I guess certain interpretations of what cheesy are depend on the individual. Maybe what I mean are certain type of images sell and at times I have made these type of images with the intent of selling them and they have sold. I can't deny the facts in that the type of images I like to do don't sell as good as the ones that I shoot hoping to make some sales. Beleive me I wish it were the other way around. I can post an example if you want.
 

Sparky

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Having spent the morning looking at Michael Kenna's work I must agree with you Bill. Nobody gets ahead by following someone else!


I don't know about that - it worked a treat for Bill Gates...!

Okay - replying REALLY late to this thread -but I just HAD to...
 

Dave Ludwig

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Artists have a difficult struggle to be noticed by their respective communities. Some have unique visions and styles, others go through a process of learning others techniques and styles on the road to their own, like myself. It is also a survival instinct that you come to realize that along the road you travel you must prostitute yourself in order to continue. To do that you must provide quality work that will appeal to buyers and if it resembles recognized artists then so be it. The buyer knows it is not a Frank or a Lange, but then they can't afford the original. I have seen a thousand time exposures of oceans and rivers, IR forests, portraits of weather old men and women and they are all interesting to look at and I would buy them. The question is, when you arrive at the end of your journey does your work show your deepest emotions for others to ponder.
 
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I love Etsy. Never made a sale, but I buy gifts for friends there. Check it out at.
http://www.etsy.com/
 

wclark5179

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"The question is, when you arrive at the end of your journey does your work show your deepest emotions for others to ponder."

Hi Dave!

Haven't arrived at the end of my journey! I hope my photography shows the deepest emotions of my clients! I work to make pics of the world better than it sometimes really is. I find a lot of the other is already presented! Smiles!
 

FRANOL

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The question is, when you arrive at the end of your journey does your work show your deepest emotions for others to ponder.
No,and you know that.
 

FRANOL

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Interesting discussion about editions. I always thought that to sell limited editions, you had to have established some reputation. At least some of the value of a limited edition print is that after you have sold the last number of the edition - there will be no more made, and the buyer needs to have some confidence in that fact.

Bob
Cut negative on 10 or 12 pieces,put it on small plastic bag and glued on the back side on every photo from limited edition.
Now we have limited edition from this negative.
 
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removed account4

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Just out of curiosity, we put a print up for sale on e-bay a couple of years ago. It was an 8x10" black and white print I'd shot and printed. There was just a little interest and it did sell for a few £'s.

While my ego would love it if I sold some prints and even more if I made some real money out of it, it doesn't quite feel the right thing to do. In trying to work out my unease, it does seem to cheapen the image, or is it a case of vanity? I can't quite put my finger on it.

Is it the right thing to do?

===
BUMP
++++
i've been selling prints through imagekind for a bunchof years now. they aren't unique hand printed by me,
( the originals are but the images imagekind makes are not ). i don't mark up by 6 or 10% which is what some people do
but instead i price the images taking into consideration the effort and time it took ot make them. i have done OK
and sold images to people throughout north america and have found it easier to do it through imagekind than
setting up a for sale page on eBay. ive sold things through ebay before .. pre made prints that i boxed and shipped
but found it to be more of a hassle to do that, than just pay imagekind's base price and have them print and ship
copies of my work. yes, i know they aren't original artworks, and its not the same as a hand made
silver print or cyanotype or whatever, but they use archival pigment inks, quality papers, and some folks
want something extremely large, something i couldn't print myself ... they have a return policy as well
so if it is terribly printed the images are just returned ...
i've been told animal pictures, like of horses and dogs and cats sell well ..
 
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jim10219

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I would rather sell 1 of my works for $1,000 in profit than 1,000 of my works for $1 in profit. The money is the same, but the former adds more value to your work.
 

removed account4

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hi jim
i couldn't agree more ... i was told by someone the folks who get a dollar profit
sell one thousand of them so ... it all equalizes .. or so i was told by someone ...
the trick is, to find the person or people who will spend the $$ to buy any of it .. cheap or expensive.
 
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