Flatiron Building, Edward Steichen, 1904Â
Most of the books, articles, and blogs I read primarily deal with advice forÂ painters, sculptors, potters andÂ glass blowers.Â I noticedÂ in one of your blogs that you work withÂ photographers.Â I wasÂ wondering if you would shareÂ your thoughts/advice on trends you are seeing in the photography that is selling as art.Â Color, B&W, size, etc.
Thank you so much,
JeffÂ Â Â Â
Going back as far as the great photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Ansel Adams, one thing held true: photography was bloody hard to sell.Â How did these cats make a living?Â Â For decadesÂ they didn’t.Â But ultimately, as they aged, their contribution and revolutionary techniques were hailed, then their work was published in books.Â And it was from the sale of those books, in quantity,Â that they eventually became legendary; hence the prices of their prints rose apace.Â In the meantime, they sometimes did portrait work or fashion shoots on the side.
Most of my photographers find a way to get their work published in books, or publish a book themselves.Â This may mean an investment from $5000 to $15,000, but if marketed well–assuming it’s a strong book–the results can be fantastic.
Where is art photography going?Â Wherever you want.Â Just as with art in general, there are few rules anymore.Â You can be as conceptual, abstracted, or conservative as you wish; there’s a market for it all, though the biggest market remains fairly conservative (which your work at this time leans toward).Â Â Digital is becoming more accepted now, some people still love film, and there’s a broadÂ audience for both color and B&W.Â However it’s my experience that the photography market is limited compared to that of paintings.Â For some reason, collectors are less willing to pay $700 for a framed print, than $2000 for an oil the same size.
Your challenge?Â To get in enough qualified shows, enough widely dispersed galleries, with enough qualified press to substantiate your career and pricing.Â Then make sure you have at least two gallery shows a year.Â And every now and then, challenge yourself to try a new style, even if you don’t go with it.Â So yeah it’s a lot of work, but as you know, the arts always have been.