[alt-photo] Re: an alternative to alternative

Diana Bloomfield dhbloomfield at bellsouth.net
Sun Apr 1 18:06:12 GMT 2012

Hi Bob,

I don't think I'd disagree with anything you say here, and I  
definitely agree with your last sentence, in particular.

I will add, though, that while savvy collectors are absolutely what  
we'd all like to cultivate,  I certainly don't spurn the Public at  
Large (PAL).  At some earlier point in their lives, those savvy  
collectors were the PAL.  So, to educate the PAL, many of whom are  
genuinely interested in art and in photography, specifically, would/ 
should be a purposeful goal.  Doing so might just transform them into  
savvy collectors of 'historic/alt' prints.

I personally have always loved traditional printmaking, and through  
the years, I've amassed a nice little collection of mezzotints.  When  
I first became enamored with them, though, I just simply liked the  
look of them.  Most I saw were relatively small, and I just thought  
they were like perfect little jewels.  The more I saw, the more I was  
intrigued, and-- ultimately-- I became more interested in and educated  
about the specific labor-intensive process itself.  But what drew me  
to them in the first place was simply the look of them.  At the time,  
I could have cared less about all the gritty details about how they  
were made.  I think a lot of collectors start out that way.

So I would hope for a dealer or gallerist to welcome ALL potential  
clients who walk through their door (not just already established  
collectors), and with the help of the artist, educate them in the  
process.  Otherwise, I think a great opportunity will be sorely missed.

On Apr 1, 2012, at 11:28 AM, KISS BOB wrote:

>     I tend to agree with you on this.  The dealer who shows some of  
> my prints in NYC was also my Prof of History and Aesthetics of Photo  
> at RIT all those decades ago.  He did his Masters at Visual Studies  
> Workshop with Beaumont Newhall and Nathan Lyons as his thesis  
> advisers.  He also held an important chair in the Grad Photo Dept at  
> Pratt for over a decade.  He has had a successful photo gallery in  
> NYC for over 30 years.  I mention all of this just to suggest that  
> he might know of what he speaks.
> 1) He ALWAYS told me to distinguish between "the public at  
> large" (PAL) and "your audience" (YA).  The PAL won't know or care  
> about the processes but YA will!  Mass market vs. YOUR market.
> 2) He said no one ever comes in and says, "Take me to your gum  
> prints".  They ask for certain subject matter or the work of one  
> photographer and he shows them that plus other related work.
> 3) He said every one buys because they love the image but they pay a  
> given price because of so many OTHER aspects such as PRINT MEDIUM  
> (pt vs silver, etc), print number in the edition, the quality of the  
> printing, the condition of the print, the fame/notoriety of the  
> photographer, and so many other things.  So, to the collector, print  
> medium IS an important aspect of why they buy and what they are  
> willing to pay.  To a truly savvy collector it may be an extremely  
> important aspect.
> 4) He said that selling photographic prints is 10% hype and 90%  
> education.  E.g., he might see someone admiring an Evans' Sea of  
> Steps.  He would say, "Amazing movement  in that image!  And quite  
> significant in early 20th C photography.  And this is one of the  
> best examples of a platinum print from that era."  He then sits back  
> and answers all of the questions stimulated by his three short  
> sentences contributing a few more details if the client shows more  
> interest.  Mostly education with a VERY little hype.
>     Now, if one's intention is to sell to the PAL make LARGE, highly  
> saturated, inkjet prints mounted on aluminum and stand them up in  
> any gallery.  There is nothing at all wrong with this if it is what  
> you want to do but, if that is what list members wanted to do, then  
> why are we donning our latex/vinyl gloves and respirators, handling  
> toxic and ridiculously expensive chemicals, and trying to minimize  
> our exposure to plate burner UV a few times a day?  We must be  
> highly motivated to make something special.   Now this may be our  
> own problem but there IS an AUDIENCE out there for each of us,  
> perhaps not the public at large.
>     Having been an advertising and fashion photog in NYC and Europe  
> from 1974 to 1993 (when I moved here to Barbados) I have had more  
> than enough of applying my creativity to reaching the public at  
> large.  I shoot what moves me and print it in whatever medium I feel  
> best carries the feeling that made me want to make the image in the  
> first place.  The most interesting discovery I ever made since 1993  
> is, the more deeply personal my motivation for making an image and  
> print, the more it seems to resonate in the soul of my audience and  
> the more prints I sell.
>            CHEERS
>                BOB
> On Sat, 31 Mar 2012 18:35:13 -0700
> Mark Nelson <ender100 at aol.com> wrote:
>> I really don't think he knows what he is talking about. Mark Nelson
>> www.PrecisionDigitalNegatives.com
>> PDNPRint Forum @ Yahoo Groups
>> www.MarkINelsonPhoto.com
>> sent from my iPhonetypeDeviceThingy
>> On Mar 31, 2012, at 11:10 AM, Diana Bloomfield <dhbloomfield at bellsouth.net 
>> > wrote:
>>> I've had so many conversations with my gallery owner here about  
>>> this, and while he shows a ton of printmaking (mezzotints,  
>>> monotypes, etc), and certainly makes distinctions there-- he is  
>>> insistent that with photography, it doesn't really matter how an  
>>> image is printed (nor what camera was used-- which we don't  
>>> typically point out)-- what matters is how strong the final image  
>>> is, and how it resonates with the viewer.  He admits that the WAY  
>>> in which an image is printed is certainly part of the final look,  
>>> of course, but he maintains no one really cares-- ultimately--  
>>> about the specific printing method.  Yes-- he's a real gem-- but,  
>>> sadly, I think he's speaking the truth.
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