Unfortunately economics and the profit motive are responsible for some
of the big is better mindset. As is perspective - weak work printed
large looks more interesting to some people even though it's still crap
- just more of it.. Historically when printing something big meant
overcoming significant technical challenges and required greater skill,
larger sizes commanded higher prices. Today the technology has changed
so that larger sizes only cost marginally more to make than smaller
sizes. More ink, more sensitizer, more platinum, more silver, etc - all
combined so that it costs less than $100 extra more to make a 22x30
versus a 5x7 (Time is another factor), yet the 22x30 can be sold for
significantly more - $3,000 versus $1,000 for the 5x7. |
So if I was the gallery owner why wouldn't I refuse to carry and stock
small sizes? I'll leave the answer to that question for another thread
but I am reading a fantastic book on the subject of pricing and
decision making. Really it is amazing and useful for everyone in their
"Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions"
by Dan Ariely.
A phenomenal, engaging read. It really makes you think about economics
in your daily life and why/how you spend money the way you do. Everyone
should read it. (I have no ties to the writer or publisher). -t
Diana Bloomfield wrote:
type="cite">Yes-- I agree, Judy, about "plenty of junk art" at smaller
sizes. Actually, I don't see so much of the huge digital work that I
used to see ALL the time in galleries or anywhere else, so maybe the
tide is turning. That's all I would ever see for a while there. Of
course, this is only my perspective-- from where I'm sitting (not
located in the art capital of the world here). I do remember a time,
though, when galleries would absolutely refuse to show work that was
small. In fact, I have a good friend whose work was represented by the
John Stevenson gallery-- probably more than 10 years ago. He is
probably one of the best platinum printers I know, but he was dropped
there because his work wasn't "big enough," and that he just couldn't
sell small work-- or at least that's what he was told. He never
printed bigger than 5x7. Now when I go to galleries, or anywhere work
is exhibited, I see much more of a range-- which is refreshing.
Oh, and that phrase-- "If you can't make it good . . . " I was taught
that! I still remember it and think about it all the time. ;)
On Apr 3, 2008, at 7:36 PM, Judy Seigel wrote:
On Thu, 3 Apr 2008, Diana Bloomfield wrote:
I agree completely about these huge color
prints I often see that are really no more than rather uninteresting
snapshots (badly composed to boot); their size is what gives them
notice (the only thing that makes them noticeable). It does get old
after a while.
But for 50 years the rule in America has been "bigger is better."
(When my kitchen appliances broke down after the first 30 years, I
discovered they were no longer made in the "normal" sizes of
refrigerators, ovens, etc. when they were installed, but so huge I
would have had to tear down the kitchen to replace them. And tended to
have all sorts of "features" that took up more space (like computers!)
I finally found some that could be squeezed in (with only a day's worth
of carpentry) but they're not as well planned or functional as the
"Bigger is better" got to be the rule in art, too, starting with
"action painting." We used to sneer: "If you can't make it good, make
it big, if you can't make it big make it red."
Meanwhile, the rule of thumb which almost always fits (except when you
just need to cover space in a McMansion, or for effect in a corporate
lobby) the best viewing distance for art is generally considered the
diagonal. For instance, if a picture is 8-1/2 by 11 inches (standard
letter size) the diagonal is about 14 inches, and that's found to be
the best general viewing distance.
Of course if we're really loving/interested in a work, we view it from
at least 3 distances -- stepping back for the "long view", the diagonal
for regular taking it in, and really close up (don't you love just
getting your face right in there -- unless the museum guard spoils your
joy). So in effect no matter how big the work is, we're getting our
view of it at the same scale.... but dealers want them big because they
sell much more readily & of course for much more. In other words
these things are often determined by marketing AND the current
style,... common sense has nothing to do with it.
I myself am going through a phase of wanting to work really small.. And
in a museum I just love finding a work of art the size of my face-- and
we see so much of it only in books, where it's probably no more than
8-1/2 by 11 anyway.
On the 3rd hand, I give Sookang the benefit of any doubt. If she's
working so large, odds are they're wonderful (Keith too -- tho he seems
possibly somewhat ambivalent.)
And PS. there's plenty of junk art at 8-1/2 by ll... The names are
forgotten now, but wasn't the most popular painter in America in the
1950s the guy who did the big-eyed girls ... What was his name? ("John
Keane" comes to mind.)
I know someone who makes the most beautiful
mezzotints-- none larger than about 4x5 and some not much larger than a
postage stamp. These are so hauntingly beautiful-- I can't tell you--
and perfect for his particular images. Every time I think about
printing big, I think about those mezzotints.
On Apr 3, 2008, at 5:27 PM, Mark Nelson wrote:
I don't think photography should be
limited by size and you point out good reasons to make larger prints
for different display spaces. What tires me are the huge,
over-saturated color prints with no content. You see them in galleries
all the time. Bigger doesn't make these prints better.
PDNPrint Forum @ Yahoo Groups
From my iPhone
On Apr 3, 2008, at 2:28 PM, Dan Haygood <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Yes, I agree. Large prints have made
their way into many homes as a showcase piece of artwork. It has put
photography in a place were it is being noticed. Look in interior
design magazines and they all have large scale photographs hanging on
the walls of the homes they are featuring. Small images create a more
intimate feel and are displayed in settings that the viewer can get
close to. In other fine arts, one will always find a diversity of
sizes of images that reflect what the artist is trying to impress upon
the viewer. Why should photography be confined to a small scale?
From: Jon Lybrook [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: Photogravure was: Re: SPE and alt update
Wee little prints are just fine for the right image, as are huge ones.
I hope and trust no one ever curses you and things you've devoted
yourself to doing in an ugly and boorish manner.
Sandy King wrote:
Yes, is it not a fact about big. I am so tired at this fad with huge
prints I want to vomit. I hope the people making those huge prints
never sell a one of them and have to build new storage rooms to hold
them until their descendants destroy the atrocities.
Now, a nice 5X7 contact print, there is something to hold close to your
eyes and treasure.
At 2:05 PM -0400 4/3/08, Ender100@aol.com wrote:
It's an American French Tool Press by Conrad Machine Co. I got a table
top model that will handle 18" wide paper. It may also be a great
pasta machine. Josephine Sacabo had just gotten the big brother to
this machine when I worked with her last fall on polymer plate
photogravure-it was great fun. Unfortunately it takes 3-4 months to
build and deliver.
I think I got "big" out of my system with inkjet printing hehehehe.
It's AlIVE! IT'S ALIVE! THE ALT PHOTO LIST IS ALIVE!!!! Chris must
have given it an enema.
Precision Digital Negatives
PDNPrint Forum @ Yahoo Groups
Mark I. Nelson Photography
In a message dated 4/3/08 12:56:50 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Congrats on the press Mark! What kind did you get?
But 'little'? I'm doing 20x30" now and they are available at
30x40"...and even larger, so I've been told.
Larger plates present a new set of problems, but they are still alot of
fun to work with (more so when the pesky contact issues have been
Planning your summer road trip? Check out AOL Travel Guides.
Tera Bear Consulting