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Author Topic: Do photographers buy photography?  (Read 6877 times)

tom b

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Do photographers buy photography?
« on: June 16, 2016, 07:03:08 AM »

I'm just in the process of selling my house and downsizing to a new two bedroom apartment. I've been painting and drawing from my photographs for around twenty years. I've got enough paintings to fill my apartment several times over.

I've also realised that I want to have photography on my walls. I've just got a few of my prints framed to hang. I also thought that I would like to have some pro photography on my walls as I've also collected works on fabrics that I've had on my walls.

I've just ordered two Trent Parke prints from his Seventh Wave series, my favourite Australian photography exhibition over forty years.

The Seventh Wave

Have you bought photographs from a favoured photographer, just wondering?

Cheers,

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 10:27:15 AM »

Back in the 1960s I bought a few photographs from photographers whose work I admired, including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston (printed by Cole), Minor White, and Paul Caponigro. I also acquired many more by trading prints with other photographers.

My first AA prints were from his "Special Edition of Yosemite" for $6 each (8x10" contact print, printed and mounted and signed by Ansel himself; later he had assistants do them and he only initialed the approved prints.) I stopped buying them when the price was $15 each, as I couldn't afford more than that. These were appraised about ten years ago for $5000 each. Not a bad investment.

I have sold some of my own prints over the past fifty years, and I'd guess that about a tenth of the ones I've sold have been to photographers.
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RSL

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 11:12:52 AM »

Back around 2002 I was in a photo gallery in Santa Fe, NM where they had a signed copy of HCB's picture of the kid with the wine bottles on sale for $5,000. In those days I was doing software engineering and I could afford that print, but I put off buying it -- mainly because my walls were full of my own prints. I was in Santa Fe again in the fall of 2004. HCB had just died. I went back to the gallery. The print was still there (or another copy) and the price had jumped to $15,000. I decided to stick with my own stuff. Wonder what that print sells for nowadays.

Now my wife and I are in Florida permanently. When we left Colorado last fall I gave away more than 200 framed prints to my kids and grandkids. As soon as I got to Florida I started making 17 x 22" prints and putting them in 22 x 27" frames for the bare walls in our new home. But I wish I could hang that HCB print.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 12:55:04 PM »

Russ,

I'm sorry you didn't get the HCB print.
Of course, if you had tried to buy one in the '60s I'm sure you could have bought one of his for a lot less than $5000.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 01:57:02 PM »

... photographers buy photography.

If someone wants to test this hypothesis, my photographs are available for buying ;)

TomFrerichs

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 02:44:45 PM »

If someone wants to test this hypothesis, my photographs are available for buying ;)

Want to trade?  :D

Tom
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 03:55:04 PM »

Never bought a photograph. Never sold one of my own. Don't plan on doing either in the near future.

I'm too enthralled with my own photos that I'm just too lazy to go through the trouble of selling them. And it is a lot of trouble.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2016, 09:19:27 AM »

Do photography books count? If so, I have plenty:)

RSL

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2016, 09:36:55 AM »

Never bought a photograph. Never sold one of my own. Don't plan on doing either in the near future.

I'm too enthralled with my own photos that I'm just too lazy to go through the trouble of selling them. And it is a lot of trouble.

From what you say, Tim, I gather you've never even tried to sell prints. Smart guy. I have, and I can tell you it's a stupid hassle. I sold a number of prints out of galleries in the Colorado Springs area, but the revenue was a long way from being worth the hassle. Selling prints mainly is an ego trip, and after a while you get tired bending over the handle to pump up your ego. In order to get a decent price for your prints you have to die. If you're really good it could be a goldmine for your descendants.

Rob C

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2016, 11:17:24 AM »

From what you say, Tim, I gather you've never even tried to sell prints. Smart guy. I have, and I can tell you it's a stupid hassle. I sold a number of prints out of galleries in the Colorado Springs area, but the revenue was a long way from being worth the hassle. Selling prints mainly is an ego trip, and after a while you get tired bending over the handle to pump up your ego. In order to get a decent price for your prints you have to die. If you're really good it could be a goldmine for your descendants.


Which is the main reason for becoming a professional in the genre that you love.

I've practically no experience of the 'art print' market but a lifetime of the commissioned stuff, and that, too, is a helluva lot of work and effort, the rewards for which are a constant fight not only to establish, but to collect before the expenses you incur drag you down for that third and final time. Running Bear and Little White Cloud had it easy!

Doing any other commercial photography than the sort that your truly love is madness. It may make you money, but the stress and frustration would have killed me had I not made a decision early on either to go bust chasing my fashion dream or to find a life in it. Fortunately, it worked out - more or less. Photography, like much of working in the arts, is unlike any other job. Unless it's about you, there's no point; push a pen; fondle and flirt with a keyboard; hold a hod.

Rob

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2016, 04:19:07 PM »

In order to get a decent price for your prints you have to die. If you're really good it could be a goldmine for your descendants.

Nah, just get an agent with a good eye and like mindedness to your style of work with contacts to folks with deep pockets. But you may die trying to find one though.

Gallery curators might suffice but I'ld stay away from local 501c non-profit art galleries. There's no incentive for them to pick winners. After several returns checking for improvements over the years visiting my local 501c non-profit art gallery run by senior citizen volunteers, they want me to pay to play and then my work will have to be approved by an invisible committee.

Looking at the pieces haphazardly crammed together on the walls of paintings of blue bonnets, over sharpened and dull inkjet canvas prints depicting southwest wilderness and cattle ranches, I just didn't think it would be worth the trouble.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 04:23:40 PM by Tim Lookingbill »
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RSL

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2016, 04:41:26 PM »

Yes, if you're going to bend over that ego pump handle you need to do it with galleries in business for a profit. Unless you're in San Francisco, Santa Fe, or New York you're probably out of luck with photographs. Oh, you probably can sell a few, but it'll never be anything like a business.

Rob's right. If you want to make a buck on photography you need to turn pro. But it's a wild, wild world out there for pros. I've had more than one long-time pro friend throw up his hands and give it up. They were good, but they ended up against a horde of people with digital cameras who thought they were pros because they'd learned where the shutter button is, and they could work cheaply. The results usually are cheap too.

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2016, 04:48:32 PM »

Are we talking about selling prints or commissioned assignments like sporting event photography or photojournalism?

I'm just talking about being able to show in prestigious galleries like that Peter Lik dude.
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RSL

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2016, 05:09:21 PM »

I'm talking about selling prints out of somewhat less prestigious galleries, which are the galleries you'll find in cities other than the ones I listed. No, I've done commissioned assignments and I've done photojournalism, though I did that for free. The stuff I did for free was fun. The experiences I had with commissioned assignments were what made me give that up. I love doing my own stuff. I hate doing other people's stuff.

graeme

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2016, 06:40:40 PM »

I'm just in the process of selling my house and downsizing to a new two bedroom apartment. I've been painting and drawing from my photographs for around twenty years. I've got enough paintings to fill my apartment several times over.

I've also realised that I want to have photography on my walls. I've just got a few of my prints framed to hang. I also thought that I would like to have some pro photography on my walls as I've also collected works on fabrics that I've had on my walls.

I've just ordered two Trent Parke prints from his Seventh Wave series, my favourite Australian photography exhibition over forty years.

The Seventh Wave

Have you bought photographs from a favoured photographer, just wondering?

Cheers,

Thanks for the link to Trent Parke, I wasn't familiar with his work. Great stuff.
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Mousecop

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2016, 08:16:48 PM »

Yes, if you're going to bend over that ego pump handle you need to do it with galleries in business for a profit.

I believe that's the case for any art form these days, including in major art markets (NYC, LA, SF etc).

E.g. a painter showing at a Chelsea gallery is going to be out thousands, not just to produce the paintings, but for promo materials and PR. The gallery usually takes half the sale price in commissions, too. You need to show frequently and sell fairly well to keep up a career. Only a handful of artists can support themselves, and sometimes a studio with staff, by selling work.

Thus, the majority of artists have other jobs, usually something in the field. They're studio assistants, retouchers, gallery staff, art teachers, and so on.

Photography is a little different in that there's an overtly commercial element, but apparently crossing over from commercial to fine art is pretty tough as well. The commercial biz in major markets is also really tough in its own right, so doing commercial photography in order to do fine art may not be an ideal choice....
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MattBurt

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2016, 12:38:03 AM »

I don't sell a lot of prints but have little bursts of sales now and then. Commissioned and editorial work generates a lot more income in comparison and I don't mind not having a physical thing at the end.
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vartkes

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2016, 09:16:19 PM »

Lots of valid and varied perspectives already written in reply to the question.
I will buy a print of a photograph that I feel has something to say and is crafted competently. Of course it is to be of a subject & style I like. I am finding that there are few photographs I come across that make it through the filter.

MattBurt

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2016, 11:59:59 PM »

I bought a Jimmy Chin print last year and I enjoy it. I don't buy much but do occasionally trade.
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Osprey

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Re: Do photographers buy photography?
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2016, 01:20:06 AM »

Probably not as much as you think. I've been to several pre-auction showings in New York with sub $20k valuations on HCB prints.

Back around 2002 I was in a photo gallery in Santa Fe, NM where they had a signed copy of HCB's picture of the kid with the wine bottles on sale for $5,000. In those days I was doing software engineering and I could afford that print, but I put off buying it -- mainly because my walls were full of my own prints. I was in Santa Fe again in the fall of 2004. HCB had just died. I went back to the gallery. The print was still there (or another copy) and the price had jumped to $15,000. I decided to stick with my own stuff. Wonder what that print sells for nowadays.

Now my wife and I are in Florida permanently. When we left Colorado last fall I gave away more than 200 framed prints to my kids and grandkids. As soon as I got to Florida I started making 17 x 22" prints and putting them in 22 x 27" frames for the bare walls in our new home. But I wish I could hang that HCB print.
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