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Old 01-31-2019   #41
Steve M.
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I threw away a lot of negs about 6 months ago, and I continually go through my prints and throw away the ones that need to be thrown away. It's a cleansing thing for me for sure. Edit, edit, edit!

This didn't need to be done when I was drawing, painting or printing. The painting that didn't work out got painted over, and the drawings and prints that were duds got thrown away right then. It's funny how photographs are so different in this regard. Probably because you can take a photograph in an instant, while a painting took from a day to years, and a print was a very involved process too.

Now I'm doing pottery, and the work that fails when it comes out of the kiln gets smashed into tiny pieces, an activity that I like very much. Years ago I had an art book that had all sorts of naive sayings in it, but one that I remember was "Failure is simply success on a level that we don't yet understand". That works for art, but not for things like heart surgery. I also remember an artist that stated that anything less than a masterpiece was less than that. That's the way to look at it. If it doesn't really, really resonate, it's crap.
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Old 01-31-2019   #42
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"Publish or perish."

Anything that I've finished and consider to be of sufficient quality and intent to have survive me, I publish and register with the Library of Congress. They'll preserve it. Whether anyone ever looks at it is a different matter.

Anything else, whether I've rendered it or not, is up to whomever deals with my estate. I won't be worrying about it anymore at that point.

I regularly put together small collections of photos, annotate them, and send them to family and friends who might want them. But most of my friends and family who matter are around my age ... once we're all gone, the rest is ephemeral to anyone else beyond maybe their children and grandchildren.

Nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever.

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Old 01-31-2019   #43
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Nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever.

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Taxes. Taxes last forever. And toe fungus.
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Old 01-31-2019   #44
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It's sad to think that so much photography will vanish. Museums and universities only want collections that arrive along with a six-figure check to help handle management and scholarship around a collection. Even within Universities they have trouble managing their own collections built by staff photographers like me. I shudder at the number of prints and negatives that have been disposed of over the years.

When I die I suspect my work will live a short time in one of the kid's closet or attic and then eventually go to the landfill. The only photographic evidence of mine will be those images in private collections and museums that own a print. Perhaps the best chance for long term survival is on the internet...
Steve,

At a gallery workshop I learn that if an artist wants to donate work to a museum that a museum does not want to burdened. All the documentation, storage, and crating creates a lot of work and is/becomes a liability.

Sadly you can't give your work away so easily. You are lucky that some have taken on the responsibility.

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Old 01-31-2019   #45
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It is not uncommon for artists to destroy their own work. I only have a few of my paintings from back in the day when I was a painter. Sadly they reside in public storage. Pretty much the only value is to me at this point.

I print so I'm about to do a purge and destroy some of my earlier work. Today I'm a better printer and I want to get rid of stuff I would call "work prints."

I'm cool with only trying to keep only my best work. If I ever get discovered I only want the good stuff and my best work shown.

An art dealer showed me a Robert Franks print that was from the series "The Americans." It was a test print and had dirt/dust on the negative. This print should have been destroyed long ago IMHO. Not everything you do is good work or a finished product.

There is a word called "emphemera." Some things were never made to endure. I have two vintage prints from Bruce Davidson that have the Magnum Stamp with a date penned in. Evidently these 6x9 prints were promotional items and were never intended to be collected, but the twist here is the rarity. I would speculate that these small vintage prints might be more valuable that a modern large print that I could acquire today from Magnum. Pretty much hard to value because none are available and they are rare.

The two images I have are from the Welsh Coal Miners series shot in 1967 or so. One is of the little boy with a stroller and doll, and the other is of the little girl with this motion blur by a tombstone.

I had the opportunity to ask Bruce Davidson, "What was the little girl doing when you took the shot?" and Bruce Davidson said, "Singing."

For me I consider some shots just emphemera, and some I hope one day will be treasure.

Another thing I learned from the Gallery Workshop is that it is wise to retain an artist proof for your estate, and it was hammered home that sometimes it i wise to retain a second artist proof just in case a miracle happens and say a curator wants to give you a retrospective that a huge body of work is readily available.

What also got stressed was the amount of record keeping and documenting required. Basically maintaining an archive is mucho important to museums, collectors, and curators.

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Old 01-31-2019   #46
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Life continues and things change with time. Nothings stays forever.
Our images make us happy while we are alive, and this is a sufficient reward for me. If we are lucky, then some of our images somehow stay around on the internet so that others may view them one day.
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Old 01-31-2019   #47
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Quote:
It is not uncommon for artists to destroy their own work.
Then I should be one terrific artist because I’ve destroyed much of my work. Ha!

But then again, as I’ve said before, my best friend in the darkroom is the waste basket!

With digital, using photoshop, changes I make to a file I use the “save as” choice then after the file name I’ll insert c1or c2 and so on as I make changes. For me, this means corrected 1, 2 and so on. This is before .jpeg. I do have the RAW file just in case.
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Old 01-31-2019   #48
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My two children will have digital files to rummage to, and corresponding digital originals and negatives are easily coded so they can be located without too much hassle. It's like a digital contact sheet. That way it should be easy for them to decide which images they'd like to keep and where to find them.

The trick is to scan every image in low res and name the images consistently with the date of scanning. I've written an article on how to organise both digital film and negatives with that single naming convention.
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Old 01-31-2019   #49
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Then I should be one terrific artist because I’ve destroyed much of my work. Ha!

But then again, as I’ve said before, my best friend in the darkroom is the waste basket!
Bill,

About 8-9 years ago my gal and I decided to move to Madhattan from a row house in Queens. We decided to downsize a head of retirement, and it was a very smart thing to do.

For me it was difficult because I grew up poor and was a hoarder. I had old clothes I kept just in case I needed to do an oil change on a car, but the fact remained that I no longer owned a car.

In the end downsizing made me concentrate on what is important, and what makes me happy. Seems like I dragged around a lot of clutter for no good reason. I also finally realized I'm no longer poor.

It also felt good donating so much to the poor, and helping others. Much of our belongins we simply put out in our front yard with a sign, "FREE." I have little remorse and all these years wish I would of kept perhaps two or three items.

I think anything that involves craft means that some waste has to be produced. Printing is expensive, but at this point I have no problem getting rid of old stuff.

Possessions can be a liability.

Cal
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Old 01-31-2019   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post

I had the opportunity to ask Bruce Davidson, "What was the little girl doing when you took the shot?" and Bruce Davidson said, "Singing."


Cal
Can i ask a question related to this. There are known several shots of this girl on cemetery. My question is, and it's been asked before: why is she wearing a different dress on different shots? Do you know, by chance? Were they taken in different days?
Thank you in advance.

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Old 01-31-2019   #51
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Can i ask a question related to this. There are known several shots of this girl on cemetery. My question is, and it's been asked before: why is she wearing a different dress on different shots? Do you know, by chance? Were they taken in different days?
Thank you in advance.

Mikhail,

I'm no expert, but it does seem like two different shots on different days.

Thanks for assembling these shots. In the past I have seen the right B&W shot in color, but I assume the original shot might have been taken with color film and then printed in both B&W and color. Both my prints have 1967 penned in on the Magnum stamp.

What you present is a different spin.

I think the motion blur of the little girl presents a sense of mystery and adds something dynamic. I also love the B&W version better.

I got my two prints in a trade for camera gear with an art dealer. He had a collection of these 6x9 vintage prints, all from the Welsh Coal Miner series. This art dealer showed me this addressed postmarked envelope with a letter to a doctor, and a photograph of said doctor with Bruce Davidson on safari in Africa to establish that they were friends.

He mentioned that he showed this to "David" a guy who use to work for Magnum and knew Bruce Davidson at a professional level. Dave left Magnum and opened up a high end art bookstore here in NYC. I would get to meet Dave at a later date. The shop has a buzzer that controls access like when going to a high end jewelry store.

So backing up, David's response when shown the vintage prints was: "How did you get these prints?;" and "Are they real?"

Basically that's how rare they are today. Once enphemera: now rare treasure.

My art dealer friend asked David if he should approach Bruce Davidson to try and have them signed, but David said don't do that because they might get torn in half and destroyed on purpose because of bitterness of being undercompensated, not getting his due, and especially missing out on the fine art print and fine art markets that would get developed later.

The Welsh Mining Series was created because when Bruce Davidson was in the Army another soldier told him if he wanted to see a poor depressing and blighted area of the world he should go visit this Welsh Mining town. I learned this at a Bruce Davidson presentation where he discussed his career.

My friend the art dealer has an interesting story. He once worked on Madison Avenue for some ad agency. He made his boss and his agency lots of money, but one day he was kinda fed-up and was shown the door after some blow-out of sorts. Not only was he suddenly out of work, but his wife was also in the hospital at that time.

He wanders into a thrift shop feeling vacant and lost and then sees a poster that looks like it had a Keith Haring painting painted over it. He calls his wife in her hospital bed and mentions what he just found.

Kieth Haring was known to paint over posters when he was an art student at the school of visual arts. The price was $235.00, but their credit card had only $180.00 left on it, and somehow he was able to secure the painted over poster for said $180.00, partly because he knew the owner of the shop.

This poster later he sold at Sotheby's for $45K. Since then all he has done was be an art dealer with no day-job. Today I happen to live one block away from where Bruce Davidson shot the horrific poverty of 1969 on East 100th Street.

My take on all this is that the world is not that big, and all kinds of stuff happens, especially here in NYC. Pretty much anything can happen.

Cal
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Old 01-31-2019   #52
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Quote:
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Cal
Very interesting, thank you for taking time.
I know of some similar stories too, not as dramatic but interesting, when people find things like that.
I myself once bought a gallery framed print on garage-sale which I liked, and then when I googled much later, probably 5 years later, it turned out to be Alfred Eisenstaedt "Girl with a fish" This one.
I doubt it has a high value, but more than 5 bucks that I spent....
It happens.
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Old 01-31-2019   #53
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By the sounds of it,

I need to start a larger archive,

I will save your photos!

Send them over!
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Old 01-31-2019   #54
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Print, print, PRINT!
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Old 01-31-2019   #55
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This question comes to mind every now and again, as I migrate my collection to larger and larger harddrives. As my username implies, my primary intention for photography is to archive my life. Whether that will be of interest to anyone else is not really relevant. If I create some artistic or aesthetically pleasing images along the way, all the better.

As I shoot constantly, much of my photography is repetitive and could easily be discarded by others. Some of it will show how Melbourne has changed over the years, along with the countries I've visited; there are a fair number of flickr accounts devoted to posting decades old found photography of different countries, so maybe some of my work might end up there.

As I get older (gee, I never thought I'd say that), I am looking more at printing my work and labeling everything in albums so there's a physical output, maybe a 'best of' compilation organized by year.

In decades to come, I expect to amass many terabytes of photos and video. My paid work will live on in the wayback machine and the internet archive, but my personal work will probably vanish, unless someone takes up the opportunity to compile my biography with my output, which is rather unlikely. My desire for the longevity of my work is tempered by the understanding that it would be of interest to a very limited audience.
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Old 01-31-2019   #56
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I have a massive disorganized collection of prints, slides, and negatives, plus a terabyte or two of digital photographs. My keeper ratio, if I am honest about it, is less than 1 keeper per 100 pictures. Seriously, though, even handing off even just 1,000 "keepers" to my children after I'm dead and gone would be a joke - they would not know what to do with that many. I see sorting and tossing in my near future. I should have been doing it for a long time now, but laziness has gotten in the way.
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Old 01-31-2019   #57
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I tend to keep an entire roll of b/w negs even when there is only one good shot. When I shot slides I only kept that one mounted frame. I don't know why but for b/w negs I can't get myself to edit as I go and as a result have nearly 1000 pages in archival binders. I should start editing and only keep that one strip containing the keeper. This way I'll be left with something more manageable and am sure 99% of it would disappear.
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Old 02-01-2019   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
Very interesting, thank you for taking time.
I know of some similar stories too, not as dramatic but interesting, when people find things like that.
I myself once bought a gallery framed print on garage-sale which I liked, and then when I googled much later, probably 5 years later, it turned out to be Alfred Eisenstaedt "Girl with a fish" This one.
I doubt it has a high value, but more than 5 bucks that I spent....
It happens.
Mikhail,

Great find.

Our stories are like episodes of "Antique Roadshow" on PBS.

Cal
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Old 02-01-2019   #59
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This question comes to mind every now and again, as I migrate my collection to larger and larger harddrives. As my username implies, my primary intention for photography is to archive my life. Whether that will be of interest to anyone else is not really relevant. If I create some artistic or aesthetically pleasing images along the way, all the better.

As I shoot constantly, much of my photography is repetitive and could easily be discarded by others. Some of it will show how Melbourne has changed over the years, along with the countries I've visited; there are a fair number of flickr accounts devoted to posting decades old found photography of different countries, so maybe some of my work might end up there.

As I get older (gee, I never thought I'd say that), I am looking more at printing my work and labeling everything in albums so there's a physical output, maybe a 'best of' compilation organized by year.

In decades to come, I expect to amass many terabytes of photos and video. My paid work will live on in the wayback machine and the internet archive, but my personal work will probably vanish, unless someone takes up the opportunity to compile my biography with my output, which is rather unlikely. My desire for the longevity of my work is tempered by the understanding that it would be of interest to a very limited audience.
Archiver,

I use to identify as an artist, but I see now how I really have worked as a documentary "ethnographer" who has recorded "history" from a particular perspective. The location is NYC; and my perspective is that of someone who has struggled in the arts all his life, worked a day-job to support himself, and somehow inadvertently has been involved with and become a gentrifier.

I don't really see my work being represented by a gallery anymore. A lot of my shots are of places that no longer exist, and somehow now they are valuable historical photographs.

In the end "Time is the best editor."

I know I'm not alone here. Some of us concentrated on image capture with a disregard to printing. Most of my work remain negatives that I will wet print later. Currently I have been concentrating on printing digitally in a fine art print manner where I have developed my skills using Piezography and printing big. I'll be printing limited editions shortly.

The deeper meaning to my work is with all the displacement and moving around as a gentrifier, my photography adds to my life a sense of permanence that otherwise would not exist. Seems likely that I will have to leave NYC as I retire because I rent and the lifestyle I enjoy is no longer sustainable.

One day I will have to leave, and these photographs will be my sense of having a home to take with me. In a way I feel a sense of homelessness because of constant displacement.

It annoys me because I helped redevelop a city that almost was bankrupt like Detroit. Back in the 70's I built lofts in SoHo when it was an abandoned warehouse district. I helped redevelop Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Long Island City, and currently East Harlem. I added to the culture and the literary, visual, and performance arts to enrich this city, yet remain under the radar.

I like to think that I am a one man tourist attraction, because visitors to NYC come here to meet people like me, but I'm being shown the door. The new comers lately are just the wealthy. All they bring is their privilage and a sense of entitlement. In a way NYC is becoming "Suburbanized."

Cal
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Old 02-01-2019   #60
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"Publish or perish."

Anything that I've finished and consider to be of sufficient quality and intent to have survive me, I publish and register with the Library of Congress. They'll preserve it. Whether anyone ever looks at it is a different matter.

...
Brilliant!
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Old 02-01-2019   #61
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Only really got rid of photos of ex's and stuff I didn't like but then I'm not really old enough to have amassed years and years and it could be 60+ years before I die of old age so who knows will be around to decide what happens to my stuff, maybe it'll be Museum worthy or maybe it'll be only fit for the bonfire they'll probablyburn me on.
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Old 02-01-2019   #62
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"Publish or perish."

Anything that I've finished and consider to be of sufficient quality and intent to have survive me, I publish and register with the Library of Congress. They'll preserve it. Whether anyone ever looks at it is a different matter.

Anything else, whether I've rendered it or not, is up to whomever deals with my estate. I won't be worrying about it anymore at that point.

I regularly put together small collections of photos, annotate them, and send them to family and friends who might want them. But most of my friends and family who matter are around my age ... once we're all gone, the rest is ephemeral to anyone else beyond maybe their children and grandchildren.

Nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever.

G
I seem to have the same philosophy about it all.
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Old 02-01-2019   #63
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So for many of us who remain under the radar, is it possible to have your archive discovered so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labors while we are alive?

Pretty much I'm an ordinary guy, but my framing and positioning my life as a gentrifier living in NYC is what makes my photography to have a deeper meaning.

In Vivian Mayer's case it was that she had died and was unknown.

Also even a Magnum photographer has a few select images that are truely Iconic, which to me once seen are easily identified and remembered. Lots of chaff in their work too.

I see it as a game of numbers.

Cal
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Old 02-01-2019   #64
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@Calzone

I like that you are both a gentrifyer of a neighborhood and simultaneously/consecutively a documenter of that gentification. My semiconscious motto for photography is 'the immortalization of time', with the recognition that everything changes, everything has its time, and everything passes. Your work exemplifies this. The warehouses became lofts that you built. The lofts are homes to new couples and families. The families will go elsewhere once they outgrow them.

I don't know if you exhibit or publish, but you may consider building a series of projects around the changes you've witnessed and helped make. And if it's good enough, do like Godfrey. Create a book, publish it, register it with the Library of Congress and give them a copy. I wonder if there's an Australian equivalent of this process...

In Melbourne, there was a fascinating exhibition of images called 'At Dusk, Under The Clocks', a reference to a central train station in the CBD that has a series of clocks over the entrance. The photographs were of a Melbourne recently gone, taken during the 60s, I believe. Your work could potentially fit such a project.

http://openjournal.com.au/at-dusk-under-the-clocks/


Edited to add: The photographer was a school teacher by day and amateur photographer by night. His work was rediscovered almost 50 years later by his wife, and an auctioneer pushed his collection. A magnificent coffee table book was made, and his work is finally being discovered and enjoyed decades after it was made. Angus O'Callaghan is now in his 90's.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...urne-1968-1971

Wow, he's back shooting at 93 and uses an Olympus Pen-F!

https://thedesignfiles.net/2016/05/m...us-ocallaghan/
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Old 02-02-2019   #65
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I hope I'm still shooting when I'm 93.
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Old 02-02-2019   #66
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Lately, I’ve been thinking about making books of my best stuff as a way to preserve photos. Anyone have a preferred photo printer/publisher that they would recommend?
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Old 02-02-2019   #67
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What I did when I had my business, using Photoshop, I would start out with the background on its own layer. Then I would put each photo on each page on its own layer. That way I could resize, move them around on the page, add or delete photographs. I would then save the file as a psd. Then I would flatten it and save the file as a jpeg. I used many features in Photoshop on each layer. Borders, opacity just to mention two.

The jpeg I could email to the client for approval.

But if changes were needed opening up the psd file would bring back all the layers I used.

It gave me flexability which is a feature I offered to clients that hired me.

Then I would have the lab print the pages on Kodak Endura, usually metallic paper.

I used an album company that had a seemless way of binding the pages. Panos were another feature I offered.

I believe on line books are available and perhaps they offer the same features.
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Old 02-02-2019   #68
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Am expecting short lifespan for my photos after me, be they printed or digital. Currently am keeping all in a cloud, so I can return to them whenever feeling like. If they were in a hard drives somewhere, that would be more restricting.

Btw, has people noticed how even published books nowadays disappear so fast? Because the volume of books has increased and are cheaper to make in smaller batches, many almost serve what newspapers did few decades ago. Sure they are stored and kept “somewhere”, but does anyone besides the writer and his/her parents remember them long afterwards?
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Old 02-04-2019   #69
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Recently I made a bunch of prints: 12x18 image size on 17x22 sheet. I figured out a way to use linen tap to create a flexible hinge, and used 4 inch long binding posts to create what I call a "Workbook." The reverse is where I place notes, file numbers, dates, settings, paper used... This workbook I used for a development tool that promotes the next step of printing limited editions.

Pretty much this is to help organize the mess I made concentrating on primarily "image capture with a disregard to printing." Understand that this book is archival and printed on rag papers without any optical brightners utilizing all archival materials.

An art dealer told me that my idea of said "workbook" being a one off makes it have lots of "value added." This is pretty much an "estate piece" and part of my "artist's collection." Pretty much I hope at least one person will keep my legacy alive and preserve this body of work.

I intend to begin printing limited editions in two sizes: 13.3x20 on 17x24 sheet; and 20x30 on 24x36 sheet. I was taught in a gallery workshop that I should retain artist proofs to build out a collection of my own work. Pretty much this is speculating on one's success, and that in the future this will become "treasure" worth lots of money.

I was told that some artists even keep two artist proofs: one for their estate; and a second just in case something wonderful happens like a museum wants to give you a retrospective that the work is on hand and in one place. Pretty much this is banking on yourself.

I think I would add to this a "Book of Proofs" made of 13.3x 20 images printed on 17x24 sheet. First off the IQ from actual prints really displays my work the best because I consider myself a fine art printer who specializes in B&W printing only.

This book of proofs is even more dramatic even though the image size is only slightly bigger than in my "workbook" because more detail is revealed, and the images really open up more where the mids sing. I know if I ever run into a publisher that this "book of proofs" could easily sell a book to a publisher, and also it is a great tool to promote my limited editions.

My photography is widely published because my gal is the "Accidental Icon" a college professor who is now a celeb because she started a fashion blog 4 years ago and has over 630K followers. Next Sunday she will be in a TV broadcast ad on National Television for a tech company that is a household name.

Much of my photographs involving fashion gets "lifted" and is used by others without even photo credits. Imagine a full page shot of mine in Vogue Italia, but without photo credit. Shame on you Vogue Italia. How much does photo credits cost? You suck.

How about NBC World News Tonight doing a feature/profile on my gal. A producer looked me in the eye and asked to use some of my photography and said, "We'll give you photo credits," but she lied because photo credits were not given. How dishonest is that?

And then there was the BBC when they did a live broadcast interview of my gal. I saw my name mistakenly given photo credit to another photographer's shot, and also perhaps worse another photographer mistakenly given credit for my shots. What ever happened to accuracy or integrity in journalism?

Be very-very careful when dealing with news organizations, PR firms, and publishers. They lie, cheat and steal. It has been my experience that they say they "have no money" but the truth is that they just don't want to pay, and because so many want "exposure" and are willing to work for free this devalues trying to get paid or compensated.

As a matter of honor I do not work for free (slavery), and I do as much as possible to protect my work.

Another thing I learned from the gallery workshop is how records and documentation is valuable, especially curators, collectors and the like. At this point it is actually good that my fine art prints are not out in the world yet. Again, "Time is the best editor."

Cal
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Old 02-04-2019   #70
ptpdprinter
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Has anyone left special instructions in their will as to their photographs? I am assuming everyone has a will. You could get hit crossing the street this afternoon.
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Old 02-04-2019   #71
Calzone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Has anyone left special instructions in their will as to their photographs? I am assuming everyone has a will. You could get hit crossing the street this afternoon.
PTP,

Not yet. Guess I'm an optimist. LOL.

Also I'm a lucky guy. This is mucho funny because I'm kind of a reckless guy. Pretty much only one way to live.

Cal
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Old 02-04-2019   #72
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I have no plans for my photos at all. As I make them I give some away to family and friends and if they enjoy them that's good enough for me. If every picture I ever took disappears one day (which surely will happen eventually) I'll be okay with that. What I do with my photography is important to me today as part of a balanced life, but it's not important with a capital "I".
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