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Author Topic: Photography in the Art World  (Read 8604 times)
PhillyPhotographer
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« on: August 22, 2008, 10:01:48 PM »
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Do I consider photography art ? Without a doubt.

The bickering between digital and film is almost a thing of the past..... I hope

My main complaint is about galleries and print sizes. There are too many galleries that only want to show large to very large prints. Most of my portfolio is 10" x 10" matted to 16" x 20". I have a intimate view when it comes to my photography, a one on one experience with the viewer and the print. I really think it's up to the photographer to say what size he wants his photography shown, after all it's his vision.
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jecxz
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2008, 11:37:05 PM »
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Do I consider photography art ? Without a doubt.

The bickering between digital and film is almost a thing of the past..... I hope

My main complaint is about galleries and print sizes. There are too many galleries that only want to show large to very large prints. Most of my portfolio is 10" x 10" matted to 16" x 20". I have a intimate view when it comes to my photography, a one on one experience with the viewer and the print. I really think it's up to the photographer to say what size he wants his photography shown, after all it's his vision.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=216778\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
If you are making photographs to sell, you need to consider what size art buyers are interested in or what size galleries will want to market. If you are making photographs for the sake of art, then you are right, it's up to the artist's vision.

Photography, marketing and business decisions are all separate areas. Alain Briot's book has some great advice on selling prints, if you have not already read it.

Keep looking for the gallery that meets your mindset, they are out there. I have looked at some of your shots in recent posts - nice work. Don't worry about print size. Be well.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 11:39:02 PM by jecxz » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2008, 06:07:28 AM »
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Do I consider photography art ? Without a doubt.

The bickering between digital and film is almost a thing of the past..... I hope

My main complaint is about galleries and print sizes. There are too many galleries that only want to show large to very large prints. Most of my portfolio is 10" x 10" matted to 16" x 20". I have a intimate view when it comes to my photography, a one on one experience with the viewer and the print. I really think it's up to the photographer to say what size he wants his photography shown, after all it's his vision.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=216778\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I understand your predicament.

Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is the size of your wallet. I would suggest that the best way to go is to do the best work that you can on the equipment that you have, much the advice I would offer for the purchase of photographic equipment too. There is little point in breaking the bank to meet perceived gallery needs unless you are already in a gallery. At that stage, I would imagine that the promoters would tell you what to do next: they are the marketing department, just as much as if they were Ford, GM or Toyota.

This, of course, depends on whether you want to join in with print sales yourself or not.

It is all about money, except, perhaps, in the mind of the occassional photographer. Never forget that it is business and that there are some pretty large amounts of dough changing hands. Altruism may have a place somewhere - if you find it, let me know.

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 23, 2008, 06:13:07 AM by Rob C » Logged

Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2008, 11:39:38 AM »
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Do I consider photography art ? Without a doubt.

The bickering between digital and film is almost a thing of the past..... I hope

My main complaint is about galleries and print sizes. There are too many galleries that only want to show large to very large prints. Most of my portfolio is 10" x 10" matted to 16" x 20". I have a intimate view when it comes to my photography, a one on one experience with the viewer and the print. I really think it's up to the photographer to say what size he wants his photography shown, after all it's his vision.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=216778\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Roger Hicks had an excellent take on this issue; I can't recall now whether it was in one of his Shutterbug articles or in one of his books. I suspect it was in Quality in Photography, probably his most thought-provoking book. Anyway, the gist of his essay was that each photograph has a particular size it "needs to be". For example, a black & white image that depends for its æsthetic effect on delicate, creamy tonal transitions might demand minimal enlargement, like an 8x10 contact print. Blowing it up to 16x20 would kill the effect. Some images work best as a gem-like small print held in the hand. Others simply need to be big; I saw Jim Brandenburg's shot of an oryx on a Namibian dune from the air at last light, printed to about 3x5 feet. It looked incredible; the sheer impact overwhelmed the film grain.

So if your gorgeous bridge photographs work best at 10x10", then that's what they need to be. It's entirely up to you whether you want to compromise your æsthetic sense to get your foot in a gallery door.
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2008, 02:37:06 PM »
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There is a lot of truth to the scale argument. I remember seeing some prints of work by Imogene Cunningham (I hope that´s how it´s spelled) and they were from a Rollei neg, printed small within 10x8 paper, if memory serves - this was in  a Glasgow gallery about three decades ago - and the abiding sense from then is indeed of a small picture looking just right.

Equipment to hand plays a rôle in this too: I have an A3+ printer and now anything I do goes on that; earlier, I used an A4 printer and things looked okay there too. That means, to me at least, that conditioning plays a hell of a big part in all of this. Conditioning and also money. What did the previous generation use before their work took off later on and they had printers do their work for them, at gallery requested sizes, I imagine? I am fairly sure that galleries are really and seriously cynical enough to look at photographic art as art by the square foot, priced accordingly. There are obviously exceptions where work exists in no alternative size than a smaller print, but I get the feeling that the motto is the bigger the better.

That might be a good idea in some cases, but have you seen over-enlarged pictures of women? From the humble fashion shop point-of-sales display to the huge nudes that appear in some shows, too big is overpowering and that is counter-productive; frightening, even.

Rob C
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russell a
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2008, 08:15:25 AM »
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Large scale for "art" photographs came about as a way to 1) give photography the same visual impact as large paintings, 2) to help justify large prices.  The question for most photographers is "how much money is it worth to me to be able to 'play artist'?"
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tho_mas
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 07:00:52 PM »
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My main complaint is about galleries and print sizes. There are too many galleries that only want to show large to very large prints. Most of my portfolio is 10" x 10" matted to 16" x 20". I have a intimate view when it comes to my photography, a one on one experience with the viewer and the print. I really think it's up to the photographer to say what size he wants his photography shown, after all it's his vision.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=216778\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
First I think "art" is a market as any other market. With marketing, selling and so on. And galery owners do their job because they want to sell art - not because they want to explain or redefine "art". And today size matters... to a certain extend.
On the other hand: size has a strong connection to the content of the images. A. Gursky's images for example are not just big. They have a strong approach to painting (in the context of museums). And the size here is essential to the impression or better expression of "reality". You really can't get an idea of his work when you look at the images in a book. But... there is a reason for the size of these images and I think one should have a good reason for the size (he certainly has a very good reason). If you want to preserve what you call intimate view... you should do it! If you blow them up and than feel disconnected... they are too big. I think it has nothing to do with technique, Black&White or Color or whether you do portraits or landscape or whatever. Is has to do with what you want to express and initiate to the viewer...
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markhout
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 05:38:50 PM »
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I submit that the size question also has a very practical answer. If the buyer wants to hang it in a small space or corridor, where the viewing distance is short, the prints must be small. If there is plenty of space, the print can't be small. If one produces art to be sold, then the choice for a large print limits the audience, and vice versa.

I passed through U.S. Immigration recently in Calgary, Canada, and was so impressed with the (at least) 50 feet wide panoramas in the immigration hall that I didn't mind the line!
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 06:03:37 PM »
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In part it's driven by the need for differentiation.  If everyone else is doing 8x10 then you stand out if you're doing 11x14 then 13x 19 then 17x25 and so on and so on.  I was in the offices of the biggest law firm in Toronto a while ago and they had images printed probably 10x16 (feet).

Elements of the film/digital "thing" are still around.  I was in a gallery in Coburg Ontario last weekend.  The owner was in conversation with a potential buyer regarding a photograph by a local artist and said, sotto voce, "...and there's no photoshop here..."
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Chris_T
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2008, 09:56:45 AM »
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There are many good responses already. Here are my take on why galleries want bigger prints:

- Bigger prints sell at higher prices and the galleries get bigger commissions. (This is NOT a troll for the "by the pound" discussion, again :-)

- There are more large prints available. With the large digital printers and the ability to upsample digital files, it is much easier and cost effective to produce large digital prints. And many do just for these reasons. In the good old days of traditional prints, 8"x10" prints were considered to be good size.

- Buyers demand bigger prints to decorate their huge mansions. I personally have been asked on occassion if my Super B size prints can be larger.
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luong
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2008, 06:01:30 PM »
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It is a trend in the photography art world to exhibit large scale color photographs. I think this started one or two decades ago with Gursky, Struth, and the like. That's why you don't see much fine art work done on 35mm these days. This was made possible by the developments in digital printing.

However, one doesn't need to be trendy to be successful. For instance Michael Kenna's work is very popular and very widely published and exhibited, yet his prints are B&W and printed 7 inch square.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 06:02:56 PM by luong » Logged

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