My gallery, Fabrik Projects, has started making available loose, unmated prints available for sale. When I was asked to submit a few photographs my initial response was if I were to participate, which ones?
First; participation. At one time I had thought of a bin of loose prints, even adequately protected for handling, as something that can become a bit worn on the edges and perhaps not the best presentation of one’s work. Perhaps stemming from my past experience attending some sidewalk art fairs, which is probably also not a good example of best artistic practices.
Since then, especially attending fine art photographic shows such as Classic Photographs or photo l.a., I have come to understand that exhibiting loose, unframed prints is a very accepted means of selling photographic prints. At both of these photographic venues, many art dealers had bins and bins of loose prints and when one went through these bins, the quality of the art work that was available was astounding. So maybe I got this wrong. Selling loose prints might be a very acceptable option, if done correctly.
Second, so also being a scientific guy, this meant doing some research on the best way to prepare loose prints for sale. Which turned out to be not that complex;
- Quality outer packaging (Crystal Clear Bags with Safety Seal from Archival Methods) sized slightly larger than the my outer print size (17″ x 22″ sheet),
- High quality backing board (archival backing board) that is slightly larger than the print, but still fits in the clear bags,
- Clear, acid free, photo mounting corners (mine are 3″ from Light Impressions a few years ago) adhered to the front of the archival backing board to essentially float the photographic print away from the board edges to preserve and protect the print.
One question quickly arises: do you include a matte around the print? Seems that the jury is at out on this at the moment. At least that was the trend many years ago but then the whole question of which matte board and what size matte? I lean into really big mattes around my prints. So including a large matte would substantially increase the size all of the three elements above (and the cost). And today, also common, is not to have any matte at all and frame the print flush to photograph. So my immediate solution is to just sell the loose print without a matte to test this potential sales market.
Third, now which photographs to make available? So as I stated just a moment ago, to test this potential market I have selected five images from five projects, a rather broad selection.
The image above is from my earlier Foundation project, which is how I have grouped all of my natural landscape singular images. I created this photograph with my Hasselblad and a 80mm lens using black & white film processed by a commercial lab, then scanned and prepared for archival pigment printing. I think that this photograph would be an ideal representation of my earlier work to offer. The first edition print of Cascade, Placerita Canyon was exhibited in the corporate offices of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach and resulting in being acquired for a private collection.
When I printed a confirmation print of Cascade I also printed this image on the Hahnemuhle Metallic paper, which creates some interesting visual effects, similar to what I discussed earlier. I am not sure just yet if this is what I want to use, but it sure does change the appearance of the image in how some of the high values of the print shimmer in the light. By slightly reducing the surrounding values adjacent to the highlights, this effect is slightly amplified. Even when I place the Metallic print in one of the crystal clear bags the shimmering visual effects are still evident. I also note that for this black and white print on Metallic paper that like the other prints, there is a slightly reduced contrast and silver color is slightly warm, resulting in an almost palladium print appearance, perhaps updating this image with a contemporary appearance, which is hard to show in this post.
So if you have an interest in Cascade, Placerita Canyon, it will be soon available as a loose, unmated print from Fabrik Projects at the beginning of September. More details to follow.
Featured photograph, above: Cascade, Placerita Canyon (Foundations project) copyright Douglas Stockdale