…..Since I write about photography (mostly), I will add one of my earlier posted images to help with the site feel. and yes I am still in Napa, CA for another couple of more days, driving down to my Studio in Southern CA on Friday. Hope to make LA early enough to pick up a print from my framer, but that will mean driving through LA in bad traffic on a Summer Friday. That could be a three hour experience just to get from the San Franando Valley to South Orange Co. I pefer not to think about it any more right now.
Now back to the subject at hand: Editioning. I find myself mulling this over and I think that I understand the pros and cons well enough at this time of Limited Editions. Since I do not have a gallery owner breathing down my neck requesting (demanding) Limited Editions, this is a self induced issue. I’d rather deceide on my own what works for me and then that will be how it is, until I change my mind again.
Unless I am making a Polaroid or hand painting the images, what I can print is relatively limitless. My own stamina and interest may be the deceiding issue. So a Limited Edition is mostly a marketing decision. The question is will this hurt or help? I do know that the for-profit galleries like it to help raise prices. Sometimes the Museums seem to like it. Collectors I think like it as they hope that the image really goes up in value, to their benefit. But what does that do for me?
In talking with other photographers, Limited Editions (LE) are the maximum potential prints that they will make. Meaning they are printing images on demand, and usually not printing the entire edition at one time. To print the full LE would consume a lot of time and printing expense and take up a lot of storage space. Especially if these prints don’t sell very fast (if at all). And if you decided to LE different size prints of the same image, even more time, expense and space.
In the 70’s & 80’s, LE photographic prints were usually printed as Portfolios, with 10 to 12 images in an edition of 25 to 100, with 100 probably closer to the norm. I do not see LE Portfolios being offered very much these days, perhaps the LE book has taken its place. An intreging alternative that I recently came across was written by Brooks Jensen and he wrote it best, so here is the full article. He is against LE, but has two alternatives; Editioning and Numbering, with his own preference as Editioning.
This is Editioning as you would find for books, e.g. First Edition, Second Edition, Third Edition. And then there would be the printings of those Editions, e.g. First Printing, Second Printing, etc. If you printed an Edition and then changed the content of the image, such as a tonal shift to a more contrasty image, then you have a new Edition. But if you did not change anything to the image (file) but printed five today (e.g. Second Edition, Second Printing) and then printed another five next month, you have a new printing (now Second Edition, Third Printing). No Limits to ME. If I find that a new technology comes along (CS3 and a new fine art printer), I may be able to create a much finer print that I would find very satisfying. And I would not be struggling with the issue of having a completed LE and not able to work on that image. Yes, I know that there are other games you can play to give yourself options, but then you are really doing Editioning, not LE of the image. I would still keep my records and provide the Edition print status to those who purchase. And I would have the option to make very few prints to have on hand from each printing.
I just know that I had better make up my mind by the time I fill in the documentation for the delivery of my image Tired Bones to the Orange County Museum of Art by the end of this month. I can say that Editioning as defined by Brooks is looking very interesting and seems to be where I am headed…..
Best regards, Doug
Added Note: Using Editioning, then I would docuement the print for OCMA was a First Edition, Third Printing (1/1). The slight purplish hue print that I did not like, Jeannie likes a lot, so that would be a keeper and be the First Edition, Second Printing (1/1) and the framed print that just came back from the Irvine Fine Arts Center would then be First Edition, First Printing (1/1). hmmm, this may work! So let me know if you are interested in the framed First Edition, First Printing (1/1) of Tired Bones that hung at the Irvine Fine Arts Center.