Ah, this must be the misunderstanding here. Most of the photographers who advertise in Focus don't sell their work for under $1000. Most of them start at around $1500 and go into 5 digits. I'd say between $2500 and $5500 is the average price the photographers sell their work for. We wouldn't accept anything else unless the work was very strong and we felt the photographer could sell very well.
So you say your publication is a way station on the path to the stratosphere of the Philip-Lorca diCorcia's, Gursky's, Wall's etc. The reps for those top feeders do have an impressive mechanism for manipulating price and demand, don't they? An envious business model, wouldn't you say? One that, if the art world were regulated like the SEC (and had enforcement and disclosure - like the SEC needs), then those practices would land a few dealers and auctioneers in the slammer. At any rate, surely we can all agree that the input side doesn't matter. To do otherwise, after all, would be to discount the ability of a good salesperson or art writer* to spin anything on which they set their sights. There is no objective criteria by which we can say given work is "strong" (unlike cheese or manure, which we can say "smells strong") and this is certainly borne out by looking into any gallery today. Back to the top business model, which creates a potential problem for the mid-tier collector business. Without a sustaining mechanism of publicity and price support (such as the manipulated auction, or the complicit museum placement), mid-tier products will likely suffer declining rather than appreciating value. So the investment argument for a photograph priced in four or five figures (as opposed to six and seven at the top) is very weak. So what is there to justify those prices? From the mid level up, what is being sold, after all, is the equivalent of tulip bulbs.
Now, if we had transparency and disclosure what would be the effect? What if auction houses had to publish true prices and the actual names of buyers? What if dealers had to reveal that they paid a premium at an auction for a work from their own inventory that they use as justification for raising the price of their other works by the same artist? My God, chaos!
Now, to the Focus
business model. What would be the effect of your publishing actual detailed statistics on the results of photographers investing in adverts and books, etc? Actually, I think, very little. If on the chance that your business model for participating photographers is not as compelling as you claim, a few of those able to assess an objective investment decision might demur, but hope springs eternal in the heart of the artist aspirant. Each of their cases is "unique". The business model of casinos is fairly transparent, not a lot of effort needs to go into research, lotteries publish their odds and players are not discouraged. (Except, of course, in our present economy, everyone is discouraged.)
Which brings me to ask, why are you, David, here wasting your time sparring with me? LL would seem an unlikely place to troll for photographer clients and no collectors are here. I make my posts to entertain myself. You should be off doing something useful, like checking a list of potential collectors who weren't totally invested with Madoff.
But, all in all, good luck with Focus
. You have your business, and I certainly don't expect you not to try to make money. You are not in Public Service or philanthropy. Per my discussion above, all Focus
needs is to lay out a couple of compelling success stories and the aspirants with investment cash will project themselves right into it. Tulips Rock!
* I use this term rather than critic. There are no critics anymore. Those that once might have been called such are careful not to be negative about anything so as not to cut off potential scraps of work writing gallery blurbs and book introductions.