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Author Topic: Edition, schmedition.  (Read 3619 times)
bill t.
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« on: April 03, 2013, 03:39:29 PM »
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"Judge Rules William Eggleston Can Clone His Own Work, Rebuffing Angry Collector."

http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/885054/judge-rules-william-eggleston-can-clone-his-own-work-rebuffing

« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 03:42:26 PM by bill t. » Logged
Landscapes
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2013, 02:50:16 AM »
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Terrible decision on the part of the judge!  I'm not exactly sure why anyone pays $250,000 for a photographic print anyway, but allow more copies to be made, regardless of the technique is just morally wrong.  In the past, weren't negatives destroyed after the edition number was reached?

At any rate, for my own work, I don't bother getting involved with limited editions.  Its all a big scam in my opinion.  It might work for very well known artists, but even those guys are sneaky by having different sizes and all sorts of jazz to cash in on a popular picture.

Its a shame most people aren't educated enough to really dig deep into the photographer's definition of limited edition, and its a shame there isn't some legal rules surrounding it. 
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 03:47:03 AM »
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I am personally willing to commit that only one copy of some of my images will ever be printed.

That one copy will be priced accordingly North of 10 US$.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Justan
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 10:36:15 AM »
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The article presents a mess of conflicting issues.

Jonathan Sobel who brings suit, alleging reduced value:  “the complaint alleged that Eggleston diluted the value of Sobel’s collection by printing larger, digital versions of some of his best-known works”

But clearly there is no diminished value: “and then selling them for record prices at Christie’s.”

How can the value of an existing collection be perceived as being diluted when the sales demonstrate the value of the product increased? That itself should dismiss the case.

Sobel’s logic: “For Sobel, who owns 190 Eggleston works, the success of the sale was part of the problem. “The commercial value of art is scarcity, and if you make more of something, it becomes less valuable,” he told ARTINFO last April.”

Clearly the buyers disagreed, as did the judge. Does Sobel have a valid point? The emotion says yes, but the facts and the judge do not agree and accordingly the value is not at issue, I guess, because it did not diminish...

Here is the meat of the issue: “Egggleston may have profited from the Christie’s sale, she concluded, but not at Sobel’s expense. Eggleston could be held liable only if he created new editions of the limited-edition works in Sobel’s collection using the same dye-transfer process he used for the originals — a move that would directly deflate their value. In this case, however, Eggleston was using a new digital process to produce what she deemed a new body of work.

The walk away is that it’s okay to knock off limited edition photographic work, if you do not use the same production method, even if you get essentially the same results. This shows no intent to defraud or deceive anyone but rather only to profit from your work by repackaging it.

The world has changed ever so slightly and the concept of a limited edition has a back door. The 3rd limited edition will be B&W or colorized, depending, of course, on how the 2nd edition was printed.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 10:40:45 AM »
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I had this kind of thing in mind when I wrote this on my website selling fine art:

Limited Edition Prints. Certain collections and prints are offered in a Limited Edition. This means that the print size and type offered will be limited to the specified amount stated, with the exception of 5 artist copies.

This will allow me to do another edition in another size or medium.

Limited editions are a double edged sword. With photography other than extremes such as cutting up the negative, etc, the concept doesn't really exist. On the other hand this ruling will serve to lessen even more any idea that there is any value in exclusivity in the Fine Art photographic world, I'm sure collectors will be taking notice of this. Although I didn't like it at the time, I do see sense in Brooks Jensens concept of editions that he has been expounding for a long time. An edition is just that, a number within an edition. Like a print run of a book, when it's finished it may and will be re released with or without changes.

Most of all I think it has to be spelled out up front.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 10:42:20 AM by Ben Rubinstein » Logged

k bennett
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 11:31:25 AM »
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I thought Mike Johnston's essay on this was interesting:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2013/04/limited-edition-photographs.html

His take is that photographers should never limit their editions. The primary beneficiaries of limited editions are the sellers and galleries in the secondary market -- the photographer only makes money from the initial sale, and so for the photographer to prosper, there needs to be a lot of initial sales, which limited editions preclude.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 11:54:11 AM »
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... But clearly there is no diminished value: “and then selling them for record prices at Christie’s.”...

That's a valid point.

However...

Unless Sobel tries to sell his copies at an auction, we do not know if his copies have diminished or increased in value. All the Christie's auction proves is that the new edition is selling at record prices.

Given the existence of the new edition, in larger sizes, with presumably better quality (with all the advances in digital printing), we do not know if there is, or will ever again be, sufficient demand for the old edition. Maybe yes, maybe no.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 04:35:50 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

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Justan
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 02:30:52 PM »
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> we do not know if there is or will ever again be sufficient demand for the old edition.

I agree that it calls for speculation. The test would be to re-sell one or more prints, or find a recent history of that kind of transaction.

I dunno anything about the guy’s sales but if the buying market is limited, the new prints would not have sold for more than the old ones. Savvy buyers would identify a risk of a re-edition. Sobel’s argument was that a re-edition would devaluate previously sold works, after all. That others spent a good chunk of money shows that there are evidently several buyers that are not concerned with a risk.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 04:29:23 PM »
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That was the right outcome. Sobel has no valid point. In fact, he still has a limited-edition print. That edition is exactly what was promised--it has not been expanded over what was done. Sobel is buying a print, not the copyright to the work.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 05:22:05 PM »
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Sobel is a former Goldman Sachs executive. I think that is rather revealing.
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DennisWilliams
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2013, 01:17:06 AM »
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The prints Sobel bought/ collected were dye transfer prints. There are very few master printers left. There is no comparison between them and  prints from a pigment ink jet.

A copy of the  11 x 17 tricycle sold in 2008 for a quarter million. The five foot poster sold for over double. There are Eggleston dye transfer prints available as low as 10,000. Certainly that supports continuing value for earlier prints-  the starting price for one of the posters was 100,000. As for diluting the market. Each of the images in the poster series is in an edition of two.  One sold now, one to be sold no sooner than three years from now. Not exactly the floodgates opening.

I do not understand the animosity and outright hostility from photographers concerning the production  and sale of high end posters, of both unprinted and reworked originals (some thirty years after the 11 x 17  sized editions).  They are not equal or comparable in any way.  They represent  a great fund raiser and a great job of promoting and serving the brand  attuned to today's art market. If the sale had been for 100 dollar signed posters by the thousands I would have seen the conflict but that is not the case. If anything by releasing the posters to records prices,  WE has strengthened the market for the smaller,  more affordable and available prints.

Big walls need big pictures. 

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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2013, 08:55:56 AM »
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That was the right outcome. Sobel has no valid point. In fact, he still has a limited-edition print. That edition is exactly what was promised--it has not been expanded over what was done. Sobel is buying a print, not the copyright to the work.
Absolutely. Well put.
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
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