Saturday, April 15, 2006

A social rite, a defense agianst anxiety, and a tool of power

I am rereading Sontag's On Photography and thought it quite on the mark for something written 27 years before Flickr and in light of the questions posed on the Utata group on Flickr.

It struck me as a way of framing the essence of some of the responses here in this thread. " ... photography has become as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing -- which means that, like every mass art form, photogrpaphy is not practiced by most people as an art. It is a mainly a social rite, a defense agianst anxiety, and a tool of power."

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Multiples of one

From PDN (subscription required) :
Smaller Editions, Large Prints, High Prices

"Today, editioning remains the cornerstone of photo pricing. But never before have the price tags on photographs been so high, and the edition numbers so dramatically low. Instead of issuing editions of 50 or 25, photographers and their galleries today are routinely limiting their editions to ten, five or even three prints for a single image.

Photography dealers themselves point to a couple of causes for this pervasive trend. The most valuable commodity on the art market today is painting. Collectors interested in art as an investment are more comfortable buying one-of-a-kind paintings than photographic prints, which can be endlessly multiplied. Not only do smaller editions mimic the scarcity of a painting, but art photography today is being printed in super-large formats on the scale of paintings.

Then there are the living photographers—maybe a dozen prominent examples—who have successfully resisted the market pressure to edition their work. Some are fashion or commercial photographers who just can't be bothered; others are photojournalists who are philosophically opposed to the notion, as their very mission is to communicate the horrors of war, famine, or social injustice to as many people as possible."

I think I will burn my work prints and in the future only ever make 7 prints from now on. How about you?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Shoot 'em, bleed 'em, then skin 'em

From the NY Times a lesson about how to package or repackage what is no better than the average Flickr photo (from the images shown) into something that resonates.

What is interesting to me is that photograhy is so elastic that even when in this case average and in the service of marketed nostalgia and oral history it absorbs and projetcs the sentimentality and historical as gravitas.

What do you think?