Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Contribution to Jim Goldstein's Buying Prints from Your Favorite Photographers 2009 Blog Project!

One of the coolest things about the internet is the ability to reconnect with people we've known in the past, but with whom we may have fallen out of touch over the years. In the mid-1990s, I was living in Santa Barbara and was lucky enough to get to know a really cool guy named Jim Goldstein, who is now a prominent--and extremely talented!--nature photographer with a very high web presence in the photography world. Although we fell out of touch, we've reconnected over the internet, and I think it's funny that we've both carved niches for ourselves in the realm of photography (Jim's niche is a lot larger than mine!) Although he takes very different photos from those I take, something we share is a passion for buying prints from our favorite photographers, and this year on his blog, Jim has launched an initiative that I really like: the Buying Prints from Your Favorite Photographers project!

First, allow me to quote Jim regarding the goals of this project:

"It’s not a photo until its a print"

One of the unique aspects of digital photography is that we’re now able to enjoy photographic work with out viewing it in printed form. More so now than ever before supporting a photographer is shown almost exclusively online through photo forums, blogs, and other online communities. While viewing photographs online is easy and relatively inexpensive it is a hollow experience by comparison to holding an actual print from a photographer you respect and admire.

The goal of this project is to introduce fine art photography, photography books, print exchanges, and other photography related products to photography fans of all walks of life. It is also to spur photography fans to think in terms of financially supporting talented photographers so they can continue to do what they love.

Keeping this in mind, I decided to talk not only about my most recent prints purchase, but about some of my all-time favorite print purchases as well. This will allow me to highlight some photographers out there who I believe are not only great at taking photos, but who are also providing wonderful prints that are of high quality. This is important, because I myself sell prints and am a stickler for quality, and there's nothing worse than spending money on a photographer's prints, only to receive a poorly-executed print. This has happened to me a few times, and, frankly, it makes me unhappy with, and embarrassed for, the person who is willing to send out poor quality prints of his or her work. If you're going to sell prints, make sure it looks professional, or at least of the standard that you, yourself, would want if you spent money on it.

My most recent prints purchase was from a photographer whom I have patronized in the past, Sharon Montrose. She sells open edition prints in her Etsy shop, as well as large, limited edition prints direct from her own site. She is an animal portrait photographer, and I find her work amazing! (I just featured her in my Holiday Gift Guide, too!)

Photo by Sharon Montrose, available for purchase here

I bought four of her prints this past spring, and just received four more in the post yesterday. (Very quickly, too--in less than a week's time from when I placed my order!) The entire experience buying from Sharon Montrose was wonderful. She provides a beautiful print through her Etsy shop, making it possible for people who cannot afford her larger editions the chance to collect her work. Something else that I appreciate about the experience of buying from her is that she packages the prints in a fashion that keeps them from being damaged through the post. It sounds like a no-brainer, but I've had several experiences of buying prints from artists who don't reinforce the envelopes, don't mark "DO NOT BEND" on their packages, and otherwise don't protect their work. Sharon's packaging is sturdy enough to get the prints to you without damage, and I really appreciate that. Most of all, however, I've purchased eight of her prints because her portraits evoke powerful emotions in me. She really grants tremendous honor to these animals, and I cannot wait to finally get these prints framed and displayed in my home.

Another great experience I had buying a print was when I bought this photo from a very talented photographer known as Skippy Sanchez:

Photo by Skippy Sanchez, available for purchase here

This photo was taken in 1989 in Yoder, Kansas, when Skippy was on assignment for a Wichita newspaper. The girl is shown in her family's kitchen, churning butter, and was 11 when the image was created. This photo was shot using a Leica (if I recall correctly), and I think the light and composition are simply stunning. I bought a beautiful 11x14" print of this photo a couple of years ago, and it currently hangs above my sofa in my living room. The quality of this print, created on Harman Baryta FB gloss paper, is luminous, yet subtle. I simply adore it.

Hanging next to Skippy Sanchez's photo is a print by one of my favorite Polaroid photographers and one of my closest friends, Elinor Scott-Sutter, otherwise known as Equivoque:

Photo by Elinor Scott-Sutter, available for purchase here

Elinor and I have gifted each other prints over the past few years, and I'm even fortunate enough to own one of her originals! This print, Memento From the Underworld, is simply amazing! The version of it that I have hanging in my living room is a borderless image (that is, the Polaroid border has been removed), printed as a Kodak Endura metallic c-print, which really makes the subtle light of this photo--juxtaposed by the expired quality of the Time-Zero film emulsion--pop! I highly recommend Elinor's prints, as they are very authentic representations of her originals; and that is difficult to achieve with my Polaroids, I can tell you that from first-hand experience.

I am fortunate enough to own many beautiful prints by many other photographers who create lovely images, including Vitaly Garanzha (also known as Vetal-Vetal online), my friend who prints his own stunning prints using traditional methods in his home darkroom; Chris Weeks, whose portrait of David Lynch is one of my favorite celebrity photos ever; Alicia Bock, who is probably the most successful photographer on Etsy and whose TTV images of poppies and ranunculus grace my home; and Pamela Klaffke, whose dark Holga fantasies of her bestia parvulus (animal child) project enchant me! Two of them--Hanukkah Fox and Anas grace my living room near the aforementioned prints by Elinor and Skippy mentioned above.

In all, buying prints is one of the most wonderful things a lover of photography can do! Holding a photo in your hand, gazing upon it framed on your wall, and supporting an artist whose work you admire through a simple financial transaction is a wonderful thing! I highly recommend the experience, even if you can only afford to buy a small, inexpensive print or even a postcard.

Great places to connect with photographers for their prints include: their own websites, contacting them on Flickr via Flickrmail, and buying direct through "handmade" sites, such as Etsy, Dawanda, Big Cartel, Artfire, and many others. Other sites, such as Blurb, DeviantArt, and Lulu, provide drop-shipping options, and are especially good if you're looking for less-expensive, unsigned prints, books, calendars, and more. Whatever your budget, you can find something you can afford with a little research!

The deadline to write your own blog post about your experience buying prints from your own fave photographers in 11th December, so it's not too late to take part! Get out there and buy some prints!

And finally, if you want to buy my prints after reading this post, I'm offering a special promotion! If you buy something from my Etsy shop, mention "Jim's blog project" in your checkout note, and I'll send you another print FREE! (Mention the print you'd like upon checkout, too.) If there's a print from my Flickr that you'd like and it's not in my shop, drop me a note and we can make it happen. Thank you!

1 comment:

absinthe said...

Hey, These photos are really awesome