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Old 10-13-2007, 08:50 AM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,214
Default Re: What distinguishes a fine art photo?

actually charles,
fine art gallery prints have nothing to do with borders and all that.
a print is considered an original if it belongs to a limited edition.
there is a difference in the european and american art market.

the european art scene looks at prints of all sizes belonging to the same edition.

for example if you take out an edition of 15 prints then it has to be a total of 15 prints irrespective of all prints.

on the other hand many american photographers (and ofcourse some in europe and others elsewhere too) have for the same photograph, edition of 15 for the size 20" x 24", edition of 20 for the size 16" x 20" and so on. in the states they're considered to be separate editions while in many galleries of europe they are one edition of 35 (15+20) and so on...

irving penn had upto 71 prints in an edition , even henri cartier bresson had upto 70s in an edition.
on the other hand other magnum photographers like trent parke ( and critina garcia rodero have editions of 5.
raghu rai keeps editions of 10.
apparently sebastiao salgado's exhibition is coming to india next year. i dont' know what editions he will be keeping.
you have artist's proof prints (p.a.) to keep with you.

oh most importantly, these prints have to be archival in nature.
that means as far as film is concerned you print on fibre paper
in case you're a digital photographer you print on something like hahnemule fine art paper or the epson ultra smooth fine art paper.

unfortunately the prices are goverened by market forces.
and this "market value" is dependant on many many factors...

the photographer himself (though not entirely), vintage prints (vintage prints in a strict sense are prints made within the first eyar in which the negative was exposed. at this very moment, digital doesn't fall within this concept), the process used to print... carbon,tin type, lith, platinum/palledium, silver or digital.
it also matters if the photograph belonged to any photographic movement or if belongs to a significant body of work in photographic history or anything like that.

then ofcourse how rare the print is.

unfortunately no matter how much all of us hate it, the "market value" of a print is not dependant on how "good" a photographer is.

here is a list of the 10 most expensive photographs. if you have the time do a search for the photographs individually. i doubt many of you will be satisfied with what you see except a few.

an example of the rarity factor..

only 3 prints exist of richar prince's cowboy photograph which was a part of the malboro man ad series. 1 is an artist proof, another with a museum and the third was auctioned off.

also you should know that just because you have a limited edition doesn't mean that the prints can't be used for publication etc. there is no limit on educational and communication usage. you can even have non archival prints used for exhibitions or show your artist's proof incase your edition is all sold out.

there are some photographers who come out with second and third editions but this practise is not encouraged by most galleries.

good luck with your FINE ART exhibition :)
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