It is most highly unlikely that "exposure" in a venue such as the publication in question would benefit anyone but the publication itself. Imagine yourself a gallery owner. As such, you are constantly the target of the hundreds to thousands of wannabes walking the streets who "know" they are the next flavor of the month. Do you think that you would have to or want to consult a vanity publication? Do yourself a favor and read The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson to get a sense of how the art world really works. There are an ever-growing number of schemes designed to separate artists from their money and take advantage of their irrepressible egos.
Russell, let me ask you a serious question:
Why do photographers showcase their work in art galleries?
No, this isn't the beginning to a cheesy joke - it's a serious question.
Maybe it would have something to do with wanting to reach art collectors. The gallery owner spends thousands of dollars every year to attract people to their gallery by showcasing the work that's being exhibited. They take out ads in local and national papers and magazines that they know art collectors read.
But what if the photographer doesn't have any gallery representation or wants to gain the attention of collectors in New York, San Francisco, LA, Houston, Santa Fe, etc. -- any city that the photographer isn't exhibited in? How does the photographer get the attention of collectors by being in one local gallery?
Focus Magazine launched in April 2005 centered around solving this problem for photographers: We offer multi-page spreads that can exhibit the work of photographers such as Mr. Penn and then offer full page ads in additional issues that create a marketing campaign of repitition that allow collectors that read mutliple issues to remember the name, the brand of Michael Penn through his photography.
Sure, we've gotten questions as to why we charge a photographer to be exhibited in Focus. The main reason is: Because if Michael's gallery has to pay to advertise his work in Focus Magazine and his book publisher has to pay to advertise their first book with Michael that exhibits his photography, why shouldn't Michael have to pay? The entire purpose of exhibiting Michael is for him to sell his work through the pages of Focus Magazine. If Michael has the potential make money off of his exhibition in the pages of Focus, why should we give that service, that opportunity away for free? It costs us tens of thousands of dollars to print tens of thousands of copies Focus Magazine. Our printer doesn't allow us to print the magazine for free because we're exhibiting art. All of the equipment used to produce the magazine, the software, the computer, etc. cost money. Michael had to pay for the supplies to create his photography, his website, etc. Why should he all of a sudden be granted the opportunity to exhibit and sell his work in Focus Magazine for free?
Yes, there are other magazines that will do that such as LensWork - a highly respected magazine that is one of my favorites to read. LensWork is not a magazine that markets itself to collectors of art photography. They're distributed in no galleries, no art fairs, no place that would attract a large number of collectors to a copy of LW with Michael's work in it. In fact, the only publication that is distributed at photo auctions, photo art fairs and photo galleries is Focus Magazine. I have personally gone through great legnths to ensure our distribution to events that we know a high number of collectors will attend.
So going back to my original question, why do photographers showcase their work in art galleries? Because the people who attend art exhibitions are also the same people who buy art to add to their existing collection. Now what if your photography was exhibited in a publication that was distributed at over 100 exhibitions, 4 art fairs, 3 auctions plus over 5,000 subscribers and over 10,000 newsstand readers? The opportunity for exposure through the pages of Focus is incredible.