Monday, June 8, 2009

Reader Comments

A post to acknowledge and answer some of your comments.

First, a thank you to Christopher Paquette for sending this Lego version of the Van Ess Saigon evacuation picture (above).

The Church at Rancho de Taos post received a strong reader response. Adams was the clear winner, followed by Strand. I think this was a smart consensus. I also received the picture below from Christopher Marquez at the Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe. Can you guess who it’s by? Answer at the bottom.

A reader named James asked if I had any opinion on tilt shift photography. I like it a lot when done skillfully. Miklos Gaal, Vincent Laforet, and Olivo Barbieri (see below) seem to be among the best practitioners largely because it seems integral to their vision. But when it’s just a gimmick to try and improve an otherwise dull picture it seems gratuitous.

Miklos Gaal

Vincent Laforet

Olivo Barberi


There was also a request for some helpful advice on how to price photographs. Here’s how I do it. Gather all relevant information. Is there any past pricing to go by? Does it seem right, high, or low? If there’s no direct relevant information look for something similar or equivalent. Is the picture a large scale small edition print or a small scale open edition print? What is the cost of production?

Are you selling directly or through or a dealer. I would say that a reasonably made print of a good image by a serious photographer shouldn’t go for less than $500. The current record for a contemporary piece is in the seven figures but that’s a limited edition print, a signature piece, by a renowned artist. (We’re talking the Prince, Struth, Gursky class here.) So there’s a big range. Depending on your personal philosophy (and financial situation), you can decide whether to err on the side of underpricing or overpricing – but if you trust your gut you’ll probably come up with the right price. The one piece of pricing advice I always give to photographers is: don’t be afraid to sell out an edition. First, it rarely happens. Secondly, if it does you’re a success! Thirdly, you should always have your artist’s proof. And lastly, if you’re any good, there should always be more sale-worthy images in the pipeline.


A good response from readers sending in their own Taos photographs:

Here and below - two ironic views taken by Robert Wright showing how it is today.

This from "The Cool Sisters".

David Gardner focused on a side door.

Mark Harmel found a nice play of shadow and form.

And lastly, the Church at Taos surprise answer:


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your advice on pricing photographs - it was really helpful. I've been thinking about it alot since I left that comment - I've decided to go with open edition prints this time as its my first show but I really like your advice on not being afraid to sell out an edition - I'll keep it in mind for the future. I also think I'll err on the side of underpricing this time because I just want to sell pieces and get my work out there. Thanks again!

Dr. Nick said...

To me the tilt shift stuff has really been overdone. It's become a schtick, like Lensbabies or Holga.

Marc said...

I recently wrote a post on tilt-shift photography over at eyecurious.

Mark Harmel said...

The Bresson is great. The church is such an amazing mix of modern and ancient.

Igor said...

Re: tilt shift, I wasn't aware of it. I just took a little photoshop tutorial on the web on how to do it, and I got the results! Kind of amusing. I love the stuff I learn on this site, I just love it. Keep it up, Mr. Danziger. You're always first on my list to open.

Jason Campbell said...

As for the T/S explosion, I think it has been a little overdone. But, David Burnett has some really great photojournalism work using the T/S with the 4x5.

lookinaroundbob said...

Weird composition from HBC Rancho de Taos. Breakin all the rules - and not quite getting away with it.

james said...

Thanks for the observation on tilt-shift and I was not familiar with Gaal or LaForet, I will look them up. Also the comment on eyecurious - that looks like a great site - I have added it to my list of blogs to keep an eye on. Like TYIP. Thanks!

Michelle said...

Proving to myself that I watched far too many episodes of the Simpsons in my youth...when I saw the photo by Van Es I immediately remembered the scene when the Simpson family escapes the Australian embassy on a helicopter. Picture here:

While searching the internet for a screen capture of this, I found a page devoted to Simpson versions of famous photographs. You might enjoy them, link here: