Limited Edition Photography and the Art Show Application
This page is going to be updated as I do research by
reading the applications
| A look at the requirements that the art
shows put on photographers.
Initially I was going to list the specific art shows and
the limits they put on photographic editions. But in reading through the
applications I discovered that most art shows fall into one of three
categories. No limit mentioned, specifying "numbered" with no limit or
specifying a limit of 250 of an image. What I will do, when I come
across it, is to list the shows that do have different edition limits and
what their number is.
| Two anecdotes here:
1 - I know of a photographer who wrote his catalog number on the back of
his photographs and applied to shows that required numbered photos.
2 - I used to know of many photographers that didn't number their images,
but only did number them for specific shows that required it.
| In fact, I've seen anything you can
imagine, including the photographer who wrote the numbers on the outside
of the display bags for the major art show that required numbers. Do you
now see where I'm going with this? How important are these regulations in
the real world and why do some exhibitors take the path they see fit to
take, regardless of the art show regulations?
| Personally I feel that photography
shouldn't be limited in the number of prints sold. AND painters should be
allowed to sell reproductions in order to earn a living.
| I've seen from years of experience that
it's pressure put on the art show committees from painters that have
generated those limits to the number of photographs sold. For years,
painters weren't allowed to sell reproductions of their paintings and
stood by as photographers (with a reproducible medium) sold as much as
possible with marketable images. Interesting to note, I know of a mall
show promoter that, for years refused to allow painters to sell
reproductions of their paintings. Gradually all the painters stopped doing
his shows and the promoter had to fill the spaces with country crafts,
causing the quality of his shows drop considerably.
| As working photographers, we've spent a
lifetime learning how to create images that are mass marketable. Some
additional markets for those same images are stock usage, posters,
greeting cards, calendars and art prints sold wholesale. These are all
legitimate markets that can generate a sizeable income. What the art show
does provide is immediate feedback on the marketability of an image. I
feel that the art shows that do require limited editions are self centered
and feel that photographers have nothing better to do than spend their
time producing images to sell at their particular show. In fact that
couldn't be more from the truth in the real world. It's very rare that a
photographer can financially support his family by selling solely through
the art show market. There are many more venues open to photographers and
those markets shouldn't be denied because of one art shows regulations.