From: Clay (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 09/13/03-02:27:03 PM Z
One of the great satisfactions for me in doing gumovers is that I
always replace a print with a different looking, and usually, even
better, print. I wouldn't think that calling each print a unique ' 1/1
edition' would be quite kosher, though. I just number the prints in the
order they are made.
I've always thought it would be cool if somebody who wanted a
particular print for display in their house would give me paint chips
from the room they intend to hang it in, and I could try for a
complementary tonality. Hey, you want me to match your sofa? Whaddya
mean it's plaid?
On Saturday, September 13, 2003, at 08:14 AM, Katharine Thayer wrote:
> Funny, I've been thinking of David Vestal as I've watched the replies
> the question. I've always been rather in agreement with his premise in
> that column, that photographers would do well not to fall into the
> edition trap, and all this stuff about "states' and whatnot has
> reinforced that belief. I'll continue as I have, not specifying
> anything with regard to edition but continuing to almost always make
> just one print of an image, leaving open the option that if I want to
> later, I can make another one. I would never destroy a negative.
> not on purpose. They do seem to self-destruct of their own accord, like
> the paper negatives that I oiled with vegetable oil, that turned rancid
> and stank for a few years, and recently when I went to look at one of
> them for some reason, found they had turned brown and crumbled to
> I agree with everything you say about "monoprint", although my first
> thought when I saw the word in this context, that it was a gallery word
> intended to connote uniqueness, seems to have been correct.
> As to Liam's question about what the buyers thought they were buying
> when they bought one of my prints that was marked 1/1; I really doubt
> those buyers cared or even noticed the 1/1; they just liked the print
> and the process. This was when I first started showing my work; sales
> serious collectors were later, when there was nothing about uniqueness
> on the labels. I don't know whether or not it has been brought up with
> the gallery as a concern when those purchases have been made. As to
> the gallery owner thought the 1/1 meant, I'm pretty sure what she meant
> was that even if I made another print from the same image, it would be
> different, so each print is unique. I'm still not quite buying that as
> the right way to use 1/1, which I think of as a label for a real
> monoprint (which I would actually call a monotype, but let's not
> confuse the issue).
> Thanks for a considered and cogent answer.
> Judy Seigel wrote:
>> On Sat, 13 Sep 2003, Liam wrote:
>>> What does the buyer believe s/he's getting with a 1/1 print? What
>>> does the
>>> gallery say it means if they should ask?
>> With all due respect to John Stevenson, whom I overheard giving one
>> of the
>> most succinct and accurate explanations of the gum process I've heard
>> a visitor, I think the use of the term "monoprint" here is a
>> and if memory serves not what was written on the wall, which I didn't
>> special attention to (there was so much else to see), but my
>> is that it toggled between "edition of 5" and "unique print," or
>> *like* unique print (and if this sentence isn't long enough for you,
>> your own!).
>> If someone has a more recent general photography book than I seem to
>> perhaps they'll look it up -- but in the way I've seen "monoprint"
>> used --
>> and the meaning in my Webster's 3rd international, as well as the
>> title of
>> a book I have on the subject -- a Monoprint is ink or paint put on a
>> or other plate then transferred ("printed") to paper by either
>> rubbing (eg
>> with a spoon) or a printing press.
>> True, meanings do shift (I now seem to live in the West Village, a
>> formation from the realtor's term East Village, although originally
>> West Village was the area west of Hudson Street which I am east of),
>> in this case I think "monoprint" causes more confusion than help, in
>> way that David Stewart calling his prints in the show "Fogeys" carbro
>> prints, tho they had so far as I've been able to discover nothing to
>> with carbro, may have simply corrupted or compromised all terms
>> The custom of numbering prints has two sources:
>> (1.) In printmaking from etched plates, the plate can wear out and
>> thus a
>> later print is less sharp than an early one, although in some cases
>> prints were seen to have a kind of shimmer that was considered the
>> (2.) To assure the purchaser that his/her print has value because the
>> edition is LIMITED. I think BTW, that as with many such "strategies"
>> is backwards.. After all, when a print has sold MANY it's more famous
>> its value increased (the archtypical example being whatshisname's
>> Some years ago, seized by the urge to put paid to a myth (as he so
>> is) David Vestal did a survey of the actual size of edition of most
>> photographers. I thought Cusie Pfeiffer (my dealer at the time) gave
>> best answer and probably truest in those days of our innocence: Most
>> photographers, she said, only do one or two, unless they sell those &
>> there's a demand for more: Making a good print even in silver
>> gelatin is
>> very demanding and "photographers are usually more interested in the
>> print, not the last." And that was what David's survey showed...
>> "edition" was two or three.
>> However Mark Green, then Commissioner of Consumer Affairs in NYC, was
>> grandstanding, and issued summonses to several NYC dealers because
>> hadn't POSTED the size of the edition... Ronald Feldman was one such,
>> recall. (And that was but one reason I voted against Green for
>> mayor...plus I LIKE BLOOMBERG, though you may consider this info off
>> Which brings me to possibly the main reason editions are numbered
>> it has became popular if not customary to charge more for the higher
>> numbers.... If the first 3 prints of an edition of 8 sell for $1000
>> the next two may sell for $2500 and the last 3 for $3500.... In other
>> words, numbering photographic prints (after all, the negative isn't
>> wearing out) is a marketing device.
>> However, in the case of gum prints it should be added that exact
>> replication isn't likely -- nor necessary or desirable. I myself if
>> pressed would probably label it "edition variee" (accent over the
>> first e
>> I believe), a time-honored term which is self-defining.
>> I mention also that a photographer who does incredible 7 foot-long
>> among other things (and --plug-- being interviewed for PF #9), says
>> been assured by his dealer that he doesn't have to make the entire
>> in advance, but just as called for, and nobody is going to put two of
>> together and then pounce -- ahhh... the tones are a bit warmer in this
>> corner ! It's also, IMO, stultifying to make all prints just the same
>> what a bore, get my stupd assistant (if I had one) to do that !
>> Which is to say, I reprint a negative as many times and as many ways
>> the spirit moves me.... including especially years later when I've
>> learned something new, and AT LAST have the perfect vision, or *a*
>> vision for the scene. There are even new ways to print some of the
>> more prescribed emulsions. But IMO destroying a negative after
>> it smacks of hype... of trying to give value to something purely by
>> scarcity.... It makes me think they don't especially value the art and
>> magic of photographing, but do stuff by rote so who cares...
>> Anyway, Liam asks a good question -- what does the BUYER expect to
>> get ?
>> A fantasy... a guarantee of VALUE. But the figures show that 85% of
>> art sold brings less at 2nd sale.... That is, the original purchase
>> is the highest.... tho any dealer will admit in confidence that buyers
>> expect the "investment" will appreciate, and most ask for reassurance
>> that point.
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