Friday Inspiration: Christian Fletcher

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A section in a book that I’m reading at the moment provided a twist to the ‘you’re the average of the 5 people you spend most time with‘ idea that has been circling the internet for several years now. Specifically it said that if you’re the smartest person you know then you need to get to know some more people, if you’re the most creative person you know then you need to get to know some more people and went on like that for quite a bit. It’s funny that the Ninety Degrees Five group is five people – all are very talented and successful, if the alphabet soup of letters that they are able to append to their names is anything to go by – I wouldn’t mind being the average of this group by any means!

Of this group Christian Fletcher recently won Western Australian Landscape photographer of the year and International Landscape photographer of the year. He’s based in Dunsborough in South Western Australia, which looks like a fantastic part of the world if his photographs are anything to go by and is now on my list of places to visit. Christian seems to work predominantly with digital medium format cameras, which allows him to create large prints of his work, working with photoshop to fully extract the potential in each of his images. Check out the videos below to hear more from Christian himself.

Phase One – Christian Fletcher from Michael Fletcher on Vimeo.

Friday Inspiration: Lisa M. Robinson

KCGlmrsurgeI’m at the beach this week, one of my favorite places to spend time, taking the opportunity to revisit the work of photographers, painters and printers that I particularly like.

Lisa M Robinson is one photographer whose work that I come back to from time to time. The project that I came to know her by was ‘Snowbound’. This was a five year project that had her photographing snowy landscapes from New York to Colorado, but not just snowy landscapes, landscapes that hint at a human presence. Almost a post-apocalyptic world. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to work out how to embed the videos that showcase Lisa’s work but click here to see them. Snowbound Epilogue gives you a behind the scenes look at the approach taken for the snowbound project. A book is of the work is also available on amazon.com.

Oceana, from which the image at the top of the page is taken, was the project that followed Snowbound. In this series the photographer is the human element, playing with how light and time can be incorporated into the image to give a sense of the unpredictable nature of water. Check out more of this work at Lisa’s website here.

Friday Inspiration: Edward Burtynsky – Water

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I find that I frequently return the work of photographers that have previously caught my attention. Edward Burtynsky is one such photographer. I had previously highlighted the retrospective of his work called Manufactured Landscapes and was pleased to see that he has recently completed a new project called Water.

One of the things that I am curious to see when I’m looking at new projects from familiar photographers is to see how their process has evolved, if at all. With Water, Burtynsky is no longer considering gravity as a constraint and uses a variety of tools that allow him to get the shot that he’s imagined, regardless of the vantage point. I’m not sure that I would be up for putting a Hasselblad on a model helicopter, especially after seeing Chase Jarvis’s experience, but sometimes you’ve got to do whatever it takes. Click on the link below to see a behind the scenes video of the making of Water.

Where I Stand – Edward Burtynsky from Flowers Gallery on Vimeo.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

OB Rocks Final-1I was thrilled to be accepted into the exhibition ‘What I did on my summer vacation‘ curated by Jim Fitts, Founder of PhotoWeenie.com and Anne DeVito, Co-Owner of Panopticon Gallery. The exhibition opened in the private room at the Panopticon Gallery September 12 and runs until Jan 14. So there’s still time left to look at the selected images.

I really liked where the photo was placed in the room, in a little alcove as shown below.

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The opening was quite a scene. A couple of artist talks and tons of people. Really overwhelming.

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Gone in 90 Seconds

With thanks to the guys at RMSP for pulling it all together, one of the things we did during the opening of ‘Going Coastal‘ was to prepare a timelapse video of the first hour or so of the opening at the RMSP Gallery. I had a fun evening buzzing around talking to people about the photographs as you can see in the video below.

Editions and Pricing

As I gear up for the exhibition at the RMSP gallery, whether to limit the edition size of the prints displayed and how to appropriately price them has been something I’ve been giving some thought to.

Let’s start with limited editions. I struggle to understand the physical reason to limit editions of photographs. When prints were made from an object, such as a metal plate or a wood block or a potato then that object would wear and as such the quality of the print would degrade. In that case limiting the number of prints to the number of good prints that could be made makes sense. For a photograph and particularly a digital photograph this argument doesn’t hold water and so the reason to limit an edition is to help control the price. Buy now before they’re gone for ever! Buy one of the first 10 before the price steps up. That kind of thing. I have little experience with this kind of motivation to buy from a sellers perspective, as a buyer it doesn’t interest me. If what I’m buying is reasonably priced then I’ll buy it, otherwise I won’t. Limiting the edition doesn’t impact that choice for me. Brooks Jensen has an excellent piece on what size an edition should be. You can find the pdf of that here.

It seems common practice even amongst early career fine art photographers to both edition work and also to charge what one could argue are significant prices for their work. I’m not against making a living from photography, far from it but I do wonder whether the price prohibits any work getting sold at all. For instance are you more likely to sell 10 prints priced at $25 or one at $250? Perhaps when you have an established customer base that you know will support your pricing it makes sense but until then what to do? I’m not much of a salesman and as such what is important to me is not wringing every last dollar out of the transaction but making people feel like they got something that was worth at least the dollar amount that the paid.

The actual price should be dictated in part by your fixed costs – this will be different for everyone, but if you’re having someone do the printing for you then you ought to at least cover that cost, if you’re printing yourself then the base price will be fixed by the materials, paper, ink etc., your time and any other overhead – the cost of keeping the lights on and the printer running. How much beyond these costs you want to go is largely dictated by how much do you want to make and how much do you think the market will pay. I think that the answer is that there’s not one answer but to have something that will work for people with a variety of budgets from $20 to $1000 and more.

The scheme that I’m circling around has, I hope, something for everything. Paper sizes from 8×10 to 24×36 with options for print only, ready to frame and framed. The pricing scheme that I have in mind at the moment would give me a range of ~$20 to ~$1500. As I said above I don’t see a reason to limit editions and so for now I don’t plan to limit my prints.

So what do you think – reasonable or crazy? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.