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.

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Going Coastal – Blurb Book

When it comes to looking at other photographers work, books are a major resource for me. I find it easier to get catalogs of photographers shows than I do to actually get to the show. I know that I’m missing out here because scale dramatically impacts the viewers experience of the photograph. I’m trying harder to get to more exhibitions but that does little for my weakness for books.

The tools that are available to us now make book production very simple and the on demand book printing services such as Blurb, put book production within reach of ordinary mortals. With that as a back drop, I decided to put together a book/catalog to support my current exhibition at the RMSP gallery. It includes all of the photographs that are in the show and some that didn’t make the cut because of space constraints. The book is now finally available on the Blurb website. Check out the preview below.

Pictures From An Exhibition

I’m back home after a cool and crazy time in Missoula last week. Hanging my show ‘Going Coastal’ went relatively smoothly, Alyssa and Melanie from RMSP were a huge help in getting the prints up on the wall and in dealing with the problems that cropped up along the way. I even got my name on the window out front. The RMSP staff are terrific and I’m looking forward to having a chance to go back later in the summer.

Getting Ready

It’s been crunch time here over the last week as we get into the last two weeks before the opening of the exhibition at the RMSP gallery. While a more sensible person would have outsourced the printing and framing of their work for an exhibition I wanted to do all of it myself so that I would have at least had the experience of doing it at least once. As it turned out I quite enjoyed the process, although it was indeed work.

Frames and mats came from American Frame. The UPS driver that comes to our house is now used to the weird and wonderful things that he has to deliver to us and so the 6 boxes of frames were no big deal.

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I went with glass rather than plexi and sourced that from a local glazier. I also ended up having to get a full ink set for the 7900. Fortunately EP Levine is not too far away and all too easy to visit.

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I had done a reasonable amount of printing on the 7900 with cut sheets but this was the first time that I had used roll paper in a serious way. For this exhibition I used Breathing Color’s Optica One that I stock piled when it was on sale earlier in the year. It’s a heavier paper and has a more neutral color than Epson Ultrasmooth that I had favored up to this point.

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I don’t have a big layout table where I do the printing and so ended up co-opting the dining table for the framing work.

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I was quite pleased with how the framed prints came out. I’m looking forward to having a couple of these on the walls here.

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I used the same packaging that the frames came in to ship the framed images off to RMSP, although I did use blue painters tape to help reinforce the glass and hopefully hold the pieces together if it breaks. I don’t even want to think about that!

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I’ll be posting more about the exhibition in the coming weeks. If you’re going to be in Missoula over the summer please do stop by and check out the exhibit. I’d be interested in your feedback.

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.

My 2012 To Do List

Happy New Year!

I’ve had an extended break from blogging in a vain attempt to catch-up with all of my other responsibilities and draws on my time. I’m not fully caught up but I’m back.

I know a lot of people look forward to the new year with a list of resolutions. I do something similar to that too, although my list is usually a combination of the pragmatic and the impossible. Things that I absolutely need to get done and things that only in my wildest dreams would come true. Usually there’s not a lot of stuff in the middle. In no particular order here are a few of the things from my list:

1. Publish a book of my photographs

It is becoming easier and easier to self-publish. The recent announcement of the Beta version of Lightroom 4 includes integration for Blurb. One can only imagine that a raft of self-published photobooks will ensue. Makes me think that if everyone’s going to be doing it then I’ve missed the boat but then I could say the same thing about photography too!

2. Complete the planning for a trip to Shikoku in early 2012

Shikoku sounds like an interesting place to visit. A little off the tourist path but there is a well known pilgrimage around the 88 temples here. There was an interesting article in the National Geographic Traveller about the island. Check it out here: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/shikoku-japan-traveler/

3. Learn Japanese in anticipation of my Japan trip

While languages are certainly not my forte Shikoku appears to be far enough off the regular visitor trail that some Japanese could come in handy. The Rosetta Stone language immersion program looks like it would be a good way for me to get started.

4. Complete preparation for the show at RMSP gallery

An exhibition of my photographs will be up at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography gallery for 3 months starting the first week in May. Very excited about that. Please stop by and say hello if you’re in Missoula the first Friday in May.

5. Live more sustainably

I’m not much of a tree hugger but when I see things such as the albatrosses that Chris Jordan shows with his work it makes me want to be more conscious of the things I buy and how I get rid of it. Quality over quantity has to be a good thing.

Still on the sustainable living theme – the image below is taken from Azby Brown’s book ‘Just Enough Japan’ which is a look at how the Japanese in the 1600’s facing a lot of the same problems that we face to day dealt with them. Very interesting reading.