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RodinalDuchamp
7-Dec-2014, 21:05
I am currently in college getting a BFA. I am curious however from real world journeymen and masters as to their experiences with the "fine" art world.

Please allow me to expand on the subject. My ideal of fine art is reaching a status where museums pursue your work, yes I understand that there is a road to be traversed that inextricably involves art dealers and collectors before museums will seek you. However I have noticed that the majority of photography gets funneled into small galleries and collections. I have no problem with this dynamic however it seems like this stage is the final stage for many or to some extent the standard to aim for.

How is this stage transcended besides talent/gift/ability in today's world. How much harder is it for a black and white film photographer. I occasionally see very well off color landscape photographers but rarely see any black and white traditional photographers making a real living, Clyde Butcher being the only one that comes to mind. Let's discuss all opinions welcome.

My personal goals are to one day be in a museum, money is not really something I am interested in. If I could be good enough to get into a museum I would be fine working a second/day job yes I am an idealist in that regard but I also a very cynic realist in other regards.

John Kasaian
7-Dec-2014, 21:42
Have you asked any museum curators?
I suggest getting one drunk first, then ask.
Pumping the bar tenders for info at cocktail lounges near museums might help you connect.
Couldn't hurt----might help.

RodinalDuchamp
7-Dec-2014, 22:28
Though that may work. I was hoping someone would have some experience in dealing personally with these folks. I guess I am worried that fine art black and white photography actually is dying not as a consumer product but as a museum quality exhibit. Most photographer's we study in school are 35mm street photographers; Cartier-Bresson, Friedlander, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Vivian Maier, occasionally conceptual photographers like Cindy Sherman.

There does not seem to be a focus at all on landscape and especially not on large format. I myself am working on my thesis which consist of nocturnal architectural/natural landscape portraits.

Basquiat has cemented the notion that it is who you know not how good you are that determines how well off you are. I'm an art purist I suppose to some extent.

Randy Moe
7-Dec-2014, 22:57
I have a real problem with curators.

Good luck!

RodinalDuchamp
7-Dec-2014, 23:16
I'm guessing as I have feared that this has become far more about business than otherwise. Thanks.

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 02:23
The masters or experienced folks telling you hard earned secrets.....on the public domain of the web? Also, you are practically asking for advice on the web on how best to live your life.....you do realize that, right? Because it does not matter what anyone tells you, amateur, pro, selling at an art fair or on the walls of ICP or Moma, their lives will not be your life. The only way to learn where your life will go is to live it, so make the journey the main attraction through mind blowing images.

Someone will be that next artist, you can count on that, but the last thing they are thinking right now is how to get the attention of a curator. As you mature, your goals and your work will reflect that. If you end up being great at what you pursue, then things will fall into place.....but you are going to have to produce work that is far, far more ground breaking than you are thinking, I suspect...

And this is the Internet age....most people think they are much better than they really are due to lack of real critique and circles of mutual praise.

djdister
8-Dec-2014, 06:16
Rather than talking to curators, find some living photographers who have their work exhibited in a museum and talk to them.

jp
8-Dec-2014, 06:42
I'd suggest being open to various paths and definitions of success. Nothing wrong with having a goal or motivation though! The living photographers who have things in museums probably had a different path than the people they succeeded, so I expect a new artist would also have a different path.

It'd be cool to have stuff selling/collected high end, but there are many people in photo history that never did that and are still revered as successful.

I have chosen to work in tech/IT as I like it and photography. I consider myself financially successful because of those choices. I consider Art successful when a photo shows the mix of craft and creativity succeeding at my original intention for that photo. What the public or tastemakers like and what I like are often different.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Dec-2014, 07:01
You might do well to find a well connected, wealthy patron.

Ari
8-Dec-2014, 07:10
In the art world, there's not much difference between kneeling down or bending over.
Find what you like to do, pursue your path, and play by your rules. Otherwise you are living someone else's idea of life.
If the curators come to you, that will only be a superficial acknowledgement of what you already believe.
And when they suddenly drop you for the next big thing, you'll still be good at what you do.
"Fickle" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Peter Lewin
8-Dec-2014, 07:25
No one here mentioned that gallery owners are running a business, and need to sell art. The NJ ASMP recently had a speaker on the subject of finding a balance between producing art that sells versus pursuing your own vision. The most recent gallery to open in my area has a business model based on the photographer providing a digital file, and the gallery producing prints in whatever size the buyer wants to "fill their wall." To me this is a continuous journey away from black and white silver (or alternative process) prints towards large-scale digitally produced imagery. But this is suburban NJ; perhaps those in NYC, for example, have different gallery experiences.

djdister
8-Dec-2014, 08:05
I am currently in college getting a BFA. ... My ideal of fine art is reaching a status where museums pursue your work, yes I understand that there is a road to be traversed that inextricably involves art dealers and collectors before museums will seek you.

It would be interesting to know what the professors in your BFA program have to say about your question. Ask them, and let us know.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 08:16
I'm guessing as I have feared that this has become far more about business than otherwise. Thanks.

Mr Duchamp Not, you made a poor headline for your quest of discussion. Perhaps the headline should have been, 'Art for Art's Sake or Business'. Every nuance is important in Art.

The world is full of Artists, we are starting to consider all have some ability, if awakened.

Photography is perhaps the toughest of Arts as it is nearly universal in practice.

Practice is what we do, we try our best, we mostly fail and occasionally we triumph, but the the triumph is internal first.

Recognition is seldom, very, very seldom.

:( :)

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 08:17
I still think the question is a bit like asking "How do I get a supermodel to fall in love with me?"

mdarnton
8-Dec-2014, 08:21
If you want to get somewhere, you should be working on your self-promotion techniques at least as much, if not more, that your photography.

djdister
8-Dec-2014, 08:27
I think the underlying assumption built into the original post is the fatal flaw. What does it mean to have your work in a museum? Does that mean you are a great artist? As just one non-photographer example, is Jeff Koons a great artist simply because his work is in a museum?

126222
Balloon Dog, Jeff Koons

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 08:33
I think the underlying assumption built into the original post is the fatal flaw. What does it mean to have your work in a museum? Does that mean you are a great artist? As just one non-photographer example, is Jeff Koons a great artist simply because his work is in a museum?

LOL, I was going to bring up Koons!

Jac@stafford.net
8-Dec-2014, 09:24
I'm guessing as I have feared that this has become far more about business than otherwise. Thanks.

It strikes me as odd that one who espouses Art for Art's Sake would take the handle of (Marcel) Duchamp, then address his goal of being shown in a gallery. Duchamp had contempt for the typical gallery because it was promoting Business as Usual.

DrTang
8-Dec-2014, 09:30
I still think the question is a bit like asking "How do I get a supermodel to fall in love with me?"

the answer is the same for both:


be rich and fabulous

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 10:26
No one here mentioned that gallery owners are running a business, and need to sell art. The NJ ASMP recently had a speaker on the subject of finding a balance between producing art that sells versus pursuing your own vision. The most recent gallery to open in my area has a business model based on the photographer providing a digital file, and the gallery producing prints in whatever size the buyer wants to "fill their wall." To me this is a continuous journey away from black and white silver (or alternative process) prints towards large-scale digitally produced imagery. But this is suburban NJ; perhaps those in NYC, for example, have different gallery experiences.
Peter,

Yes. You have put into words one of the notions I feel as well. That as a black and white traditional printing photographer it seems like either A. A sad end to traditional process in lieu of mass produced digitally printed or "light printed" decoration or B. A great opportunity for the traditionalist to work harder and stick to their guns hoping that the art community will somehow re-recognize some key distinction between digital and traditional photography favoring the traditional.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 10:27
the answer is the same for both:


be rich and fabulous
I think you are absolutely right, as in any endeavor having lots of money certainly lubricates the process of getting to the top.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 10:29
I think the underlying assumption built into the original post is the fatal flaw. What does it mean to have your work in a museum? Does that mean you are a great artist? As just one non-photographer example, is Jeff Koons a great artist simply because his work is in a museum?

126222
Balloon Dog, Jeff Koons
I hate Koons. I also live in Miami and hate Art Basel because it is the most horrendous unholy intersection of art and commerce.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 10:35
The masters or experienced folks telling you hard earned secrets.....on the public domain of the web? Also, you are practically asking for advice on the web on how best to live your life.....you do realize that, right? Because it does not matter what anyone tells you, amateur, pro, selling at an art fair or on the walls of ICP or Moma, their lives will not be your life. The only way to learn where your life will go is to live it, so make the journey the main attraction through mind blowing images.

Someone will be that next artist, you can count on that, but the last thing they are thinking right now is how to get the attention of a curator. As you mature, your goals and your work will reflect that. If you end up being great at what you pursue, then things will fall into place.....but you are going to have to produce work that is far, far more ground breaking than you are thinking, I suspect...

And this is the Internet age....most people think they are much better than they really are due to lack of real critique and circles of mutual praise.
I did not expect to have any secrets divulged but merely asking for those who are willing to, to share some of their personal experiences, what they have seen over the years, their opinions about creating product over conceptual work.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 10:36
Already I have received some very insightful responses and I appreciate all of your opinions.

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 11:14
I did not expect to have any secrets divulged but merely asking for those who are willing to, to share some of their personal experiences, what they have seen over the years, their opinions about creating product over conceptual work.

But that is the gist of it, the personal experiences I have that have been granular to my success are to be kept quiet, especially on a forum full of photographers. Even within the ranks of other photographers, meaning ones who earn a real income, the way my creative engine plays in the sandbox with my career goals is pretty unique, I simply can't afford to share that.

I can't teach you how to live your life and there sure as hell is not room for both of us living mine.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 11:21
But that is the gist of it, the personal experiences I have that have been granular to my success are to be kept quiet, especially on a forum full of photographers. Even within the ranks of other photographers, meaning ones who earn a real income, the way my creative engine plays in the sandbox with my career goals is pretty unique, I simply can't afford to share that.

I can't teach you how to live your life and there sure as hell is not room for both of us living mine.

And that is why photographers are nearly always secretive.

Any skilled worker feels the same.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 11:23
But that is the gist of it, the personal experiences I have that have been granular to my success are to be kept quiet, especially on a forum full of photographers. Even within the ranks of other photographers, meaning ones who earn a real income, the way my creative engine plays in the sandbox with my career goals is pretty unique, I simply can't afford to share that.

I can't teach you how to live your life and there sure as hell is not room for both of us living mine.
Right. I agree hence my disclaimer "those who are willing".

I appreciate you taking the time to respond, this is meant to be a friendly open conversation if someone can benefit from some cryptic message to be had then all is well.

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 11:30
this is meant to be a friendly open conversation if someone can benefit from some cryptic message to be had then all is well.

Again, you are simply not going to get that in any real quantity, I am always surprised when people ask of it...

The business of viewing photographs or them being sold or licensed....it's a people business. To the best of my knowledge, I have never had a rock or bush view my work or sold a print, license an image to a stream or mountain.

And unless ones hides all their work, no one just shoots for themselves without the intent of engaging an audience, small or large. So even the most personal of work is created with the intent of having some form of outside approval or validation for it. Some get the validation and no check, some get the check as well....

cyrus
8-Dec-2014, 11:38
The most recent gallery to open in my area has a business model based on the photographer providing a digital file, and the gallery producing prints in whatever size the buyer wants to "fill their wall." .

Why not just do that online? Seems like a strange model. Who needs physical galleries especially for purely digital works

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 11:53
The business of viewing photographs or them being sold or licensed....it's a people business. To the best of my knowledge, I have never had a rock or bush view my work or sold a print, license an image to a stream or mountain.

And unless ones hides all their work, no one just shoots for themselves without the intent of engaging an audience, small or large. So even the most personal of work is created with the intent of having some form of outside approval or validation for it. Some get the validation and no check, some get the check as well....

Some shoot just to shoot. Vivian Maier, Garry Winogrand shot 10's of 1000's of negatives they never developed.

Too busy living, I guess. Both now famous and dead.

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/garry-winogrand

Peter Lewin
8-Dec-2014, 12:06
Why not just do that online? Seems like a strange model. Who needs physical galleries especially for purely digital works
Without trying to justify the business model (as a darkroom printer of modestly sized B&W prints, I feel quite left out by it), there is something to be said for seeing images larger than your computer monitor allows. In the exhibit I saw there, there were several very large (i.e. 2' x 3' or even larger ) B&W cityscapes. I believe 3 of them sold, apparently to be hung in a professional office of some sort. Whether they were purchased in exactly the size on display, or reprinted to other dimensions, I couldn't say, but I'm pretty sure that the purchaser got a different impression from seeing the large-scale image in person than he or she would have gotten from, say a 6" x 4" image on a computer screen. Which isn't to say that a similar on-line business model might not work.

One of the gallery owners spoke at a photographer's meeting I attended, and he took the business model even a step further: if someone wants to know how a work might look at their own location, he will take a smartphone picture of the location, and on the monitor at the gallery, show you a color mock-up of the potential purchase in your location, scaled however you would like. Clearly he is making an attempt to use all of the modern digital tools in a marketing method which couldn't have been done only a few years ago.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 12:08
Without trying to justify the business model (as a darkroom printer of modestly sized B&W prints, I feel quite left out by it), there is something to be said for seeing images larger than your computer monitor allows. In the exhibit I saw there, there were several very large (i.e. 2' x 3' or even larger ) B&W cityscapes. I believe 3 of them sold, apparently to be hung in a professional office of some sort. Whether they were purchased in exactly the size on display, or reprinted to other dimensions, I couldn't say, but I'm pretty sure that the purchaser got a different impression from seeing the large-scale image in person than he or she would have gotten from, say a 6" x 4" image on a computer screen. Which isn't to say that a similar on-line business model might not work.

One of the gallery owners spoke at a photographer's meeting I attended, and he took the business model even a step further: if someone wants to know how a work might look at their own location, he will take a smartphone picture of the location, and on the monitor at the gallery, show you a color mock-up of the potential purchase in your location, scaled however you would like. Clearly he is making an attempt to use all of the modern digital tools in a marketing method which couldn't have been done only a few years ago.
Jeez that just makes me sick.

neil poulsen
8-Dec-2014, 12:13
I think that you've asked a well crafted question, and I'm probably not very well equipped to respond with a well crafted answer. That said, some thoughts occur to me . . .

One being, I'm getting the impression that galleries as a means for selling art are becoming passe. With the internet and the revolution in publication, there are so many other avenues. Artists are self-publishing books, for example, and selling online. I know of a local pt/pd printer who does very nice work and sells prints on ebay for $50 or so per print.

I've not tried this yet, but I've been noticing at our local Portland Saturday Market that there are numerous booths that sell some very nice color work. But, only one sells b&w (that I've seen), and it's not very good. So, I wonder if there's an opportunity in a similar venue for someone who can produce good b&w work.

And when I say "good", I mean good. Don't mess around with this stuff that shows lousy contrast control that's supposed to pass as fine art, just because it's printed on silver gelatin paper. It's got to have artistic merit, and it also has to demonstrate good craft. Study Ansel Adams books and learn the craft. (If silver gelatin.)

If you're interested in learning more about the museum/gallery folks, you might consider a visit to Portland next spring. Biannually, Photo Lucida mixes aspiring artists with museum curators and gallery owners to see what reactions take place. (There's a cost.) I attended its predecessor, Photo Americas, years ago, and thought that it was kind of neat. But, I've not attended a Photo Lucida event. (See photolucida.org.)

As I suggested, just a few thoughts.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 12:23
I think that you've asked a well crafted question, and I'm probably not very well equipped to respond with a well crafted answer. That said, some thoughts occur to me . . .

One being, I'm getting the impression that galleries as a means for selling art are becoming passe. With the internet and the revolution in publication, there are so many other avenues. Artists are self-publishing books, for example, and selling online. I know of a local pt/pd printer who does very nice work and sells prints on ebay for $50 or so per print.

I've not tried this yet, but I've been noticing at our local Portland Saturday Market that there are numerous booths that sell some very nice color work. But, only one sells b&w (that I've seen), and it's not very good. So, I wonder if there's an opportunity in a similar venue for someone who can produce good b&w work.

And when I say "good", I mean good. Don't mess around with this stuff that shows lousy contrast control that's supposed to pass as fine art, just because it's printed on silver gelatin paper. It's got to have artistic merit, and it also has to demonstrate good craft. Study Ansel Adams books and learn the craft. (If silver gelatin.)

If you're interested in learning more about the museum/gallery folks, you might consider a visit to Portland next spring. Biannually, Photo Lucida mixes aspiring artists with museum curators and gallery owners to see what reactions take place. (There's a cost.) I attended its predecessor, Photo Americas, years ago, and thought that it was kind of neat. But, I've not attended a Photo Lucida event. (See photolucida.org.)

As I suggested, just a few thoughts.
Neil,

You've raised some interestingly strong points about the nature of where we as traditionalists must learn to work from.

The Photo Lucida event is something I'd like to visit but being on the other side of the country I think I would be best served by seeking out similar events locally or at least within a tri-state area.

I think you understand what I was trying to say. Thanks.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Dec-2014, 13:19
I have often thought of advice I would give to my son should he ask what you have. In the end, I would allow him to succeed or fail on his own, as my parents and grandparents did for their children. It is the stuff of life. Luckily he is turning Fifty and is solidly settled. :)

A couple of tips and truths: luck has something to do with success, so learn to recognize opportunities to intersect with good fortune. People like to promote people they like, so social engineering is important. Above all, be honest and respectful because an enemy made in an instant is often forever. I feel you already know that. And buy Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) stock; if you can already afford BRK-A then you don't need any financial help.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 13:30
I agree Luck has a lot to do with success everywhere, many discount luck and say talent always rises, but perhaps not.

Most of us are lucky to have been born in a safe and warm place.

Advantage is to the ready, but sometimes one is simply in a fortuitous place.

Count your blessings.

cowanw
8-Dec-2014, 13:40
If you want to hang in a museum, then be the boss of a museum; better yet start one up.

DonJ
8-Dec-2014, 13:48
Jeez that just makes me sick.

It makes you sick that someone has developed a technique to increase the probability that a photograph (one that is most likely not going to be coveted by museum curators) will be sold?

Why?

Peter Lewin
8-Dec-2014, 13:54
RodinalD: I'm enjoying this thread, because it covers some things I have been thinking about a lot recently, particularly the balance between salability versus one's own interests, and how B&W "small scale" (i.e. 11x14 silver prints) fit into the current scheme of things. But your initial question is also about the life of a photographer, and as a BFA candidate, you are younger than virtually all of us. There was a long (23-page) thread on a related subject, and in it Kodachrome35 posted something of his life story. It made an impression on me at the time (particularly in contrast to my own very corporate life experiences, where photography is a much-loved hobby, but has never had to put food on my table), and you may find it informative, if you haven't already seen it: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?117318-The-path-to-success-in-photography-formal-education-or-not/page2 The particular post I refer to is the last on the page.

P.S. I hope Kodachrome35, who I only know from his posts to this forum, doesn't mind my reference to him; since I'm referring to a post already up in the forum, I assume I'm not revealing anything that he would prefer to keep to himself, and I thought his story was particularly relevant to someone just starting out.

Mark Sawyer
8-Dec-2014, 14:00
Museums seldom pursue contemporary artists' work. Their role is to preserve past history that is deemed "important", not to predict what will be deemed "important" in the future. "Important" in the art world means "influential", as in, lots of people copied your style or collected your work. Early Pictorialists were important because they influenced fifty years of style afterwards. Same with f/64, HCB-styled street photographers, etc.

Galleries and publishers pursue artists with proven sales records. It's a business.

Photo Lucida and other events like it are a strange new phenomenon. These are money-makers for the hosts and reviewers, but don't offer much more than false hope and empty encouragement for those hoping to be "discovered". (Unless, of course, you believe that galleries, museums, and publishers are having a really hard time finding artists... :rolleyes: ) The same with "art advisors" who will sit and talk with you about your work for $300 an hour.

I'm not sure why one would want to be pursued by a museum... money, status, ego, validation, or immortality, I'd guess. But considering the fate of most museum's work, it only means you'll have a photograph or two sitting in a box in a basement alongside thousands of other photographs in boxes in a basement.

Peter Lewin
8-Dec-2014, 14:21
It makes you sick that someone has developed a technique to increase the probability that a photograph (one that is most likely not going to be coveted by museum curators) will be sold?

Why?
Two more observations on how photography, both as a business and an art, is changing in this digital age. (Heck, I'm retired, its cold and ugly outside, and I don't have to be doing anything other than enjoying the Forum...)

I was at the PhotoPro(?) expo in NYC a month or so ago, and one of the speakers was a young photographer named Vivienne Gucwa. She is making a living doing photography largely for hotel P/R groups, although now P/R is called something like "social network support." Part of what makes her salable, aside from photographic skill, is that she has a photo/travel blog with a huge number of followers. When she is on a shoot, besides providing "finished quality" files to her clients, she also posts, almost immediately, jpegs of selected images, plus comments, to her blog (thereby increasing her value to her customers). So a large part of her business model relies on the in-camera blue tooth technology which allows instant uploads. She has grabbed technology and made it her friend. She has also just published a book of her images, so she is straddling the new and the traditional.

About a year ago I was at the AIPAD show in NYC, and by coincidence found myself next to Steven Wilkes, just after I had seen several of his large-scale "Day to Night" series of images at the booth of a gallery which carries his work. For those not familiar with the series, each image is actually a stitch of a huge number of digital images of a specific location, taken over the course of a day, so the left-most edge of the picture is the location at sunrise, and the right-most is sunset, with the picture itself covering the daylight hours (the camera is in a fixed position, only the lighting, and people in the image, change). I find the images remarkable. But what I remember vividly is my discussion with Mr. Wilkes. He told me how he had been looking for a way to do something photographically using the abilities of the digital camera, and realized that he could depict the passage of time in a way that no one else had done. The technology of the digital camera, and the ability to stitch images in Photoshop, allowed him to do something unique.

What I am really writing about is that someone young, graduating a BFA program with presumably both a sense of photographic history and darkroom technique, but also skilled with the newest technologies, should be able to put all of that together in a way that speaks to today's audiences. Rather than responding that a new marketing approach devalues "traditional photography," take advantage of the fact that you don't have to be the nostalgic old codger that I am, and embrace the freedoms that are now available.

Ari
8-Dec-2014, 14:22
But that is the gist of it, the personal experiences I have that have been granular to my success are to be kept quiet, especially on a forum full of photographers. Even within the ranks of other photographers, meaning ones who earn a real income, the way my creative engine plays in the sandbox with my career goals is pretty unique, I simply can't afford to share that.

Really?
Every day in the life of each Beatle has been documented ad nauseum, including what they did and said and thought and ate when they were nobodies, and everything they did in their rise to stardom, fame and immortality.
So why didn't I become a successful and influential musician, even though I knew about all the tricks the Beatles used to get to the top?
You can share anything you want, so-called secrets, but no one will benefit from them as you have, because they are not you, as lucky as you, or as naturally talented as you.

Now, I'm not saying you should divulge anything that you don't want to, just that the best idea is worthless in the wrong hands.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Dec-2014, 14:45
Mark Sawyer: "Galleries and publishers pursue artists with proven sales records. It's a business."

There is a documentary about Sally Mann in which she had a huge show that was canceled due to money/promotional matters. Her candid comments reveal great distress, and reality.

Mark Sawyer
8-Dec-2014, 16:28
There is a documentary about Sally Mann in which she had a huge show that was canceled due to money/promotional matters. Her candid comments reveal great distress, and reality.

Yes, the daughter of wealthy family married to the son of a wealthy family and living on a huge ranch, in tears because she didn't get yet another large gallery show at Pace-MacGill, and having to settle for a show at the Corcoran instead. How she lived with the pain is beyond me... :rolleyes:

Jac@stafford.net
8-Dec-2014, 16:38
Yes, the daughter of wealthy family married to the son of a wealthy family and living on a huge ranch, in tears because she didn't get yet another large gallery show at Pace-MacGill, and having to settle for a show at the Corcoran instead. How she lived with the pain is beyond me... :rolleyes:

I had no knowledge of that.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 16:56
I had no knowledge of that.

What video are you referring to? I looked but found only old ones.

Nice ranch!

Mark Sawyer
8-Dec-2014, 17:14
The video is What Remains, the Life and Work of Sally Mann.

http://watchdocumentary.org/watch/what-remains-video_fe114b6df.html

Greg Miller
8-Dec-2014, 17:19
I hate Koons. I also live in Miami and hate Art Basel because it is the most horrendous unholy intersection of art and commerce.

I think what you will find as you get more knowledgeable about the museums is they are not that different. Just because selling art is not their primary function in existing, doesn't mean that commercialism isn't a significant part of how they operate. They have to raise money from their donor pool. They have to attract visitors. They have to get press. That requires them to show work that is deemed to be current and relevant and interesting (which does not necessarily mean great art). So the pieces they collect and the exhibits they put on always have an element of that in their planning. And many times significantly more than it seems you are comfortable with.

To be attractive to a museum, it's helpful to be a great marketer, have a currently relevant theme in your work (best of it is social or political in nature), have a reputation as a known artist or an emerging artist, and be a great networker and schmoozer.

Mark Sawyer
8-Dec-2014, 17:36
One of the primary ways museums collect is donations by collectors. A collector will donate works pre-approved by the museum, and often must donate a sizeable amount to go with them. Cataloging and perpetual archival storage is expensive, and one of the odd things is some museums have a small endowment for buying work, but the cost of cataloging and storage for the work makes collecting more than a few pieces unwise; even a donated work can be a very expensive responsibility for a museum. Purchases by museums are often done when they find a piece that fits their collection, and they find a donor to buy it for them and sometimes subsidize its care.

Greg Miller
8-Dec-2014, 17:42
...How much harder is it for a black and white film photographer. I occasionally see very well off color landscape photographers but rarely see any black and white traditional photographers making a real living, Clyde Butcher being the only one that comes to mind. Let's discuss all opinions welcome.

My personal goals are to one day be in a museum, money is not really something I am interested in. If I could be good enough to get into a museum I would be fine working a second/day job yes I am an idealist in that regard but I also a very cynic realist in other regards.

I don't think you will find many new yet traditional B&W or Color landscape photographers in the big museums (although there are exceptions like Salgado)(I could be wrong but I don't think Butcher has been in any of the biggies). Nor many new yet traditional landscape painters.

If you want to do traditional landscapes of any kind and get into museums, you'll be best served by putting aside your cynicism, and learn how to network really well, market your self and/or your work (very different things) really well, and get your name in the press really well (things that will serve you well with pretty much anything you do in life).

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 17:53
The video is What Remains, the Life and Work of Sally Mann.

http://watchdocumentary.org/watch/what-remains-video_fe114b6df.html

Thank you!

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 17:58
RodinalD: I'm enjoying this thread, because it covers some things I have been thinking about a lot recently, particularly the balance between salability versus one's own interests, and how B&W "small scale" (i.e. 11x14 silver prints) fit into the current scheme of things. But your initial question is also about the life of a photographer, and as a BFA candidate, you are younger than virtually all of us. There was a long (23-page) thread on a related subject, and in it Kodachrome35 posted something of his life story. It made an impression on me at the time (particularly in contrast to my own very corporate life experiences, where photography is a much-loved hobby, but has never had to put food on my table), and you may find it informative, if you haven't already seen it: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?117318-The-path-to-success-in-photography-formal-education-or-not/page2 The particular post I refer to is the last on the page.

P.S. I hope Kodachrome35, who I only know from his posts to this forum, doesn't mind my reference to him; since I'm referring to a post already up in the forum, I assume I'm not revealing anything that he would prefer to keep to himself, and I thought his story was particularly relevant to someone just starting out.

I'm glad you linked it, I held off because I felt it was a bit too "Look at Meeeeee" for this topic. But also, to be honest, these Internet born inquiries of how best to live one's visual life before it is actually lived puts me in a sort of quandary. It's like buying a book titled "Secrets to Being a Master Photographer"....ummmm.....there are none and if acclaim and high water marks as a "Traditional Photographer" are the prize your eyes are set on, then you are likely doomed from the start.

There are no tips, no secrets and no magic bullets, you will live your life and everything, the life you choose, your ability to discern opportunity from distraction and above all else, the work you produce will dictate how it all turns out.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 18:04
I'm glad you linked it, I held off because I felt it was a bit too "Look at Meeeeee" for this topic. But also, to be honest, these Internet born inquiries of how best to live one's visual life before it is actually lived puts me in a sort of quandary. It's like buying a book titled "Secrets to Being a Master Photographer"....ummmm.....there are none and if acclaim and high water marks as a "Traditional Photographer" are the prize your eyes are set on, then you are likely doomed from the start.

There are no tips, no secrets and no magic bullets, you will live your life and everything, the life you choose, your ability to discern opportunity from distraction and above all else, the work you produce will dictate how it all turns out.

And then you have children...

StoneNYC
8-Dec-2014, 18:09
I still think the question is a bit like asking "How do I get a supermodel to fall in love with me?"

He hard part isn't getting her to fall in love, that I've done, the hard part is getting her to stay in love...

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 18:12
Really?
Every day in the life of each Beatle has been documented ad nauseum, including what they did and said and thought and ate when they were nobodies, and everything they did in their rise to stardom, fame and immortality.
So why didn't I become a successful and influential musician, even though I knew about all the tricks the Beatles used to get to the top?
You can share anything you want, so-called secrets, but no one will benefit from them as you have, because they are not you, as lucky as you, or as naturally talented as you.

Now, I'm not saying you should divulge anything that you don't want to, just that the best idea is worthless in the wrong hands.

I know, I know....

It never used to be this way though, this is a public forum, not password protected, the logical thing is to not spout those things off in such a manner....

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 18:13
And then you have children...

Or you choose not to and are with a woman who feels exactly the same way. Pluses and minuses to that approach as well.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 18:15
Or you choose not to and are with a woman who feels exactly the same way?

I tried that, and I have never 'had' my own children, but I married a widow and assumed the role. No regrets.

pdmoylan
8-Dec-2014, 18:49
Innately, any expression by an individual using a medium for creative (with emphasis) output, is premised upon a need to communicate (i.e. sharing). Art is creative output without real utility. One must ask the question, does anyone do anything creative solely for themselves? If so, what is the purpose then?

Somehow I cannot accept the notion that any creative expression without utility can be purposeless, that is, for the sake of not sharing. Can artistic expression rise to an existential need? Doubtful.

On the other hand, business is by defintion meeting demand with a product or service; however, with any artistic expression there is no instrinsic demand unless, as with Apple, the supplier creates the demand that was otherwise unknown (sell the customer what they didn't know they needed).

Assuming you accept the premise that photography is a creative expression (I have doubts, though I keep trying), how does one create demand among the millions of suppliers? Self promotion (social media, websites) and providing a service (as opposed to a product) are the keys for making it these days. But this has always been true. The forum of promotion has changed.

Photography as a product of one's vision is becoming more passe. When there are hundreds of thousands of really fine images out there, how does one distinguish themselves as a photographer? Choosing film over digital for instance may make a difference, but who can tell when the film is scanned and placed on a website? Look at Percy's (scottish photographer) work lately found in a current issue of one of the UK photography magazines. Mamiya 7 with velvia. Great work. Can you distinguish his work from those of many others who shoot film or digital. Maybe. Does that make his work "art", again I have my doubts.

I have mentioned this before, but my best friend from HS and college (having just passed from stomach cancer), a gallery owner, and curator for more than 40 years, once said to me that the only photography with weight depicts the human condition. Beautiful pictures (whether black & white or color) did rise to a level of true value, nor in his mind did any of the photographers he met, wrote about, and provided gallery space, produce "art" per se. The reason (and I think I agree), is that there no means of true expression in a two dimension medium where the ultimate raison d'etre is to illustrate. That is not to say that photography can't be expressive, and for its limitations, creative to some extent, but it is not like placing one's vision on a canvas with complete freedom to choose anything you wish (Dali for instance).

I look for unique vision (visionaries) in photography and there are few who have it and have the tools to articulate it.

PDM

Robert Opheim
8-Dec-2014, 18:51
When I was in college I worked as a security guard at the Seattle Art Museum and worked there for a while. I was the only guard without a MFA - and a practicing artist. SAM's main focus was Asian Art - it still is. SAM does have an a number of ongoing collections besides Asian. Photography has not been an area collected (in general) by SAM. There were and are a number of large private collectors in the area that will eventually donate their collections to SAM. In Seattle these collections formed SAM, and the Frye Art Museum early in the 20th century. An example of a photography collector named Monson - in Seattle is a former U of W professor - who had a large show of his collection in the 1970's at SAM. Since the 1970's numerous collections have been added to the Seattle Art Museum. The collections are from collectors with a lot of time and money who are are socially elite, and very will educated. An art photographer would need to have work that is reliant to a collector. To sell art to a collector it seems to me that there needs to be: new ideas, visions, that are presented to the gallery world - that hit it big (and sell a lot) - and eventually become collectible to museums. (Fine Art is hard business plus Art) When other museums have shown, or collected an artist - the other museums follow suit. Now in saying this the internet may have changed this. Collectors may buy off of E-bay or artists websites.

Greg Miller
8-Dec-2014, 19:05
When there are hundreds of thousands of really fine images out there, how does one distinguish themselves as a photographer?


I look for unique vision (visionaries) in photography and there are few who have it and have the tools to articulate it.

You just answered your own question.

I agree it is vision that separates a truly great image from a "really fine image". And technical excellence does not get anyone there (I'm not dismissing technical excellence). But there are some truly great images that move me, and its usually because of the photographer vision. I've never been moved by an image just because of technical excellence. That's not enough. It's unique vision,plus the technical skills that allow the execution, that transform it to art. I'm not suggesting that is easy or frequent, but it happens.

paulr
8-Dec-2014, 19:28
the answer is the same for both:


be rich and fabulous

And be lucky. And be prepared to live with what you asked for.

paulr
8-Dec-2014, 20:11
I have no doubt that a good number of artists put their "career" first and got famous / collected / endorsed by Big Institutions as part of a master plan. But I doubt this has been the path taken by most artists who got there, especially not the by most interesting ones.

You should probably disavow yourself of the notion that a museum collection is about "the greatest art." Not that anyone can even agree on what that is. Different curators have entirely different visions for their collections. Some of them may be about "greatness"— however any one person might define that. Others are more about currency—having their finger on the pulse of how artists relate to civilization right now. I think you have the right idea by wanting to talk to a curator. I'd suggest talking to several. A good opportunity would be at one of the portfolio review events, like fotofest or review Santa Fe. In those settings you'll get feedback from lots of people on your work, and answers to all your questions (be prepared for as many answers as people you ask).

There really is an element of luck involved in being "discovered." I don't mean the actual discovery (it's easy to get your work in front of someone) but rather having the institutions care. This means that what you're passionate about in your work happens to be what the curators are passionate about.

If you're on a large format photo message board, bemoaning that no one likes old fashioned b+w landscapes, the prospects are a little dim on this last point ...

Greg Miller
8-Dec-2014, 20:19
This means that what you're passionate about in your work happens to be what the curators are passionate about.

This is a key sentence. And also needs to be put in the light that what you are passionate about changes over time, and what curators are passionate changes over time.

RodinalDuchamp
8-Dec-2014, 20:23
This thread has opened my eyes a bit towards the notions that museums truly probably aren't the heralds of great art or stewards of benevolence for the artist unwilling to bend to their rules a bit.

I am OK with that. I have to be or continue being the hermit photographer most of us are.

Saving vitriol for another opportunity I guess I have a personal problem with the current model of selling photography as commodity rather than the idealic wonder I see in my minds eye. In general the public does not appreciate what goes into a fine hand made print and especially large scale prints because their first notion is that any canon or Fujitsu printer could create the same thing.

I have to be OK with the idea that in today's world what I consider of value may no longer be relevant. I also have to be OK with doing it anyway.

Greg Miller
8-Dec-2014, 20:38
In general the public does not appreciate what goes into a fine hand made print and especially large scale prints because their first notion is that any canon or Fujitsu printer could create the same thing.

I give the public a little more credit than that. Not all good art is very accessible to the public (meaning it takes some art education to appreciate). But if we are talking about B&W (or even color) traditional landscapes, they generally do recognize the talent and skill behind a finely made print (which in my mind starts with, and is largely dependent on, the unique vision of the photographer (A really well made, hand made, print of a snapshot shot is still just a snapshot (or a sharp print of a fuzzy concept to paraphrase the over-used quote by a photography saint). And you can't use photo sharing sites as a basis, because most of the praise is ersatz praise done to earn praise for their owns posts. But when a truly fine photograph is posted people recognize the difference.

Bill Burk
8-Dec-2014, 20:47
I asked my 12-year old son if he'd ever heard of Andy Warhol. He said no. I asked if he ever heard of Pop Art. He said yes.
-I explained Andy Warhol invented Pop Art (right or wrong that's what I told my kid)...

Then I asked him if he ever heard the phrase "15 minutes of fame" to which he replied...
-No but I have heard of 15 minutes or less to save hundreds on car insurance.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 20:49
I asked my 12-year old son if he'd ever heard of Andy Warhol. He said no. I asked if he ever heard of Pop Art. He said yes.
-I explained Andy Warhol invented Pop Art (right or wrong that's what I told my kid)...

Then I asked him if he ever heard the phrase "15 minutes of fame" to which he replied...
-No but I have heard of 15 minutes or less to save hundreds on car insurance.

Perhaps he meant the knew of 'Father's Art'. :)

Greg Miller
8-Dec-2014, 21:01
Perhaps he meant the knew of 'Father's Art'. :)

I think the son actually thought he was asked if he had ever heard of Pop Tarts. ;)

gregmo
8-Dec-2014, 21:05
This thread has opened my eyes a bit towards the notions that museums truly probably aren't the heralds of great art or stewards of benevolence for the artist unwilling to bend to their rules a bit.

I am OK with that. I have to be or continue being the hermit photographer most of us are.

Saving vitriol for another opportunity I guess I have a personal problem with the current model of selling photography as commodity rather than the idealic wonder I see in my minds eye. In general the public does not appreciate what goes into a fine hand made print and especially large scale prints because their first notion is that any canon or Fujitsu printer could create the same thing.

I have to be OK with the idea that in today's world what I consider of value may no longer be relevant. I also have to be OK with doing it anyway.


I think you are in a really great time. There are more ways to create then ever. You have access to so many avenues to reach out to potential buyers. The traditional model/gatekeepers is/are failing apart.
Most of it is BS anyways... Just do what you love & figure out a way to make money at it so you can continue to make more. And hustle too.

Corran
8-Dec-2014, 22:06
Just do what you love & figure out a way to make money at it so you can continue to make more. And hustle too.

I was going to say this a long time ago but just kept my mouth shut.

Art vs. Business? Just do both. Hustling is important though!

The gallery show I had last month was purely Luck due to a happenstance meeting. It's still paying dividends in contacts, opportunities, and sales. I always tell younger folks who are pursuing photography or music to do what they love and just keep an eye out for opportunities.

Vaughn
8-Dec-2014, 22:18
And then you have children...

...or in my case, triplets and become a stay-a-home dad. I ended up weaving marriage, a job, triplets, and photography together. The divorce was a broken thread, but one repairs the breaks and move on. The boys graduate from high school this year, so the pattern changes -- and perhaps I can build back up to the intensity I had with photography 18 years ago, including giving carbon and platinum workshops. Onward thru the fog!

Kirk Gittings
8-Dec-2014, 22:54
This thread has opened my eyes a bit towards the notions that museums truly probably aren't the heralds of great art or stewards of benevolence for the artist unwilling to bend to their rules a bit.

I am OK with that. I have to be or continue being the hermit photographer most of us are.

Saving vitriol for another opportunity I guess I have a personal problem with the current model of selling photography as commodity rather than the idealic wonder I see in my minds eye. In general the public does not appreciate what goes into a fine hand made print and especially large scale prints because their first notion is that any canon or Fujitsu printer could create the same thing.

I have to be OK with the idea that in today's world what I consider of value may no longer be relevant. I also have to be OK with doing it anyway.

I wonder about the actual experiences of people here promoting this idea or is it rumors and cynical conjecture. My experiences with curators at museums have overwhelmingly been positive and I (gasp) am a traditional LF B&W landscape photographer.




Museums seldom pursue contemporary artists' work. Their role is to preserve past history that is deemed "important", not to predict what will be deemed "important" in the future. "Important" in the art world means "influential", as in, lots of people copied your style or collected your work. Early Pictorialists were important because they influenced fifty years of style afterwards. Same with f/64, HCB-styled street photographers, etc.

I don't know where these ideas come from. I have some 200 prints in museum collections and public collections and they have for the most part been purchased with very little effort on my part. If I were to aggressively pursue donating my work to museums I think that number would easily quadruple. All of the curators I know from New Mexico to Chicago are actively pursuing contemporary artists for shows and for their collections.

Duchamp, I think you are getting very lopsided opinions here. Somehow you need to get more diverse opinions about these issues.

Kodachrome25
8-Dec-2014, 23:25
Kirk, thank you for chiming in.....really.

paulr
9-Dec-2014, 12:45
Then I asked him if he ever heard the phrase "15 minutes of fame" to which he replied...
-No but I have heard of 15 minutes or less to save hundreds on car insurance.

This might as well be a postmodernist manifesto.

paulr
9-Dec-2014, 12:48
Re: museums seldom collecting contemporary work ...

Not to state the obvious, but you gotta ask what kind of museum it is. If it's called, say, a contemporary art museum, it would be kind of shocking if they didn't collect contemporary art.

Maris Rusis
9-Dec-2014, 14:57
I watched an old photographic colleague attain success in the art world. He now has work in state galleries and the national gallery. The secret is relentless life devouring self promotion; but done with subtlety. The first step is ingratiation with everybody, every gallery director, every curator, every art lecturer, every art student on a career path, and become a friend telling them what they want to hear. And the task was to do this often; daily or weekly. My friend was doing thirty or forty phone calls a day, every day, for nearly ten years before the break through. And the hours not on the phone were taken up with face to face glad-handing and schmoozing. All this time he never forgot a name or a biography; people skills par excellence.

The photographs themselves were of no particular quality save that they illustrated themes favoured by the people with power to decide what got hung on their gallery walls. Here, as always, the commercial success of art objects, the way they are valorised, depends on the qualities ascribed to them by those with market influence.

Randy Moe
9-Dec-2014, 15:10
Salesman 101

djdister
9-Dec-2014, 15:10
I watched an old photographic colleague attain success in the art world. He now has work in state galleries and the national gallery. The secret is relentless life devouring self promotion; but done with subtlety. The first step is ingratiation with everybody, every gallery director, every curator, every art lecturer, every art student on a career path, and become a friend telling them what they want to hear. And the task was to do this often; daily or weekly. My friend was doing thirty or forty phone calls a day, every day, for nearly ten years before the break through. And the hours not on the phone were taken up with face to face glad-handing and schmoozing. All this time he never forgot a name or a biography; people skills par excellence.

The photographs themselves were of no particular quality save that they illustrated themes favoured by the people with power to decide what got hung on their gallery walls. Here, as always, the commercial success of art objects, the way they are valorised, depends on the qualities ascribed to them by those with market influence.

I believe this has also been the case for non-photographic artists as well, although there have been some exceptions to the relentless self-promotion types who "made it." I'm sure someone can cite the exceptions...

Kirk Gittings
9-Dec-2014, 15:41
Maris..........."cynical conjecture". Sure there are characters like that but at the same time I have friends and acquaintances that are about as erasable, difficult and hermetic as an art character can be that not only do not kiss ass up the museum ladder but are the exact opposite and yet are exceedingly successful in the museum arena.

Jac@stafford.net
9-Dec-2014, 17:36
Maris..........."cynical conjecture". Sure there are characters like that but at the same time I have friends and acquaintances that are about as erasable, difficult and hermetic as an art character can be that not only do not kiss ass up the museum ladder but are the exact opposite and yet are exceedingly successful in the museum arena.

I would like that post cast in iron.

Maris Rusis
9-Dec-2014, 19:57
Maris..........."cynical conjecture". Sure there are characters like that but at the same time I have friends and acquaintances that are about as erasable, difficult and hermetic as an art character can be that not only do not kiss ass up the museum ladder but are the exact opposite and yet are exceedingly successful in the museum arena.

True! There are recalcitrant characters who have public success but I reckon they don't have as much fun as a busy artist on the make. My hyperactive pal who became an overnight art success in only ten years never regarded the daily pursuit of recognition as actual work. It was an exciting process chasing famous people, strolling the hallowed halls, throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks, peppering any listener with opinions, and on and on.

But at no stage was the commercial objective forgotten. I recall an incident where I made 4x5 black and white copy negatives from a roll of transparencies I processed for him. One of those negs I advanced (just for fun) to a cyanotype because I happened to have sensitised paper on hand. When I presented him with the cyanotype he said "Wow, I never realised I was this good"! Yep, by the end of the next day he had signed and sold it.

I look back at those times with some cynicism but also with a tinge of admiration and envy.

RodinalDuchamp
9-Dec-2014, 20:32
I wonder about the actual experiences of people here promoting this idea or is it rumors and cynical conjecture. My experiences with curators at museums have overwhelmingly been positive and I (gasp) am a traditional LF B&W landscape photographer.





I don't know where these ideas come from. I have some 200 prints in museum collections and public collections and they have for the most part been purchased with very little effort on my part. If I were to aggressively pursue donating my work to museums I think that number would easily quadruple. All of the curators I know from New Mexico to Chicago are actively pursuing contemporary artists for shows and for their collections.

Duchamp, I think you are getting very lopsided opinions here. Somehow you need to get more diverse opinions about these issues.
Kirk,

I've been on your site and think highly of your opinion as I have also been lurking your threads. Thank you for your insight. One of my professors is one of these old hermetic non-asskissing types and he has been very successful having his work displayed many times nationally.



Maris..........."cynical conjecture". Sure there are characters like that but at the same time I have friends and acquaintances that are about as erasable, difficult and hermetic as an art character can be that not only do not kiss ass up the museum ladder but are the exact opposite and yet are exceedingly successful in the museum arena.
The only way I could thank you for this post is to quote Kevin Durant; Kirk "you the real MVP"

Thank you. I am at an idealistic point still where I have to believe my hard work and good photography and printing can garner attention, can still attract an intellectual crowd not looking to simply buy prints for the office but a crowd looking to connect with my work conceptually, spiritually, socially. I really don't think focus should be on selling prints or looking for the next person to schmooze if the work is strong enough.

Merg Ross
9-Dec-2014, 22:11
I am currently in college getting a BFA.

My personal goals are to one day be in a museum .....

Why a museum? Museums are simply warehouses for artwork, some of it being photography. And, within the walls are curators and directors with varying degrees of education and predilection. If being so represented is your goal, you should already be out knocking on doors and showing your portfolio.

However, I have to ask why that would be a goal. It is easily accomplished, but surely not an end in itself. Your work is what matters, and you should be the judge of its worth, not seeking affirmation by those unknown to you except by profession. The difficult task is in making really fine photographs, not gaining museum affirmation.

Kirk Gittings
9-Dec-2014, 22:49
I agree Merg but there is this pesky little problem called "making a living" (and I think there is much to be said to NOT make your living from your art-no marketing pressure driving your aesthetic). Any way, being in museum collections can add a lot of credibility to your work in the buying public's perception-especially when they purchase it. I don't make (art) images to sell. That's not my motivation....BUT I sure am happy when they do. Just saying..........

Merg Ross
9-Dec-2014, 23:21
I agree Merg but there is this pesky little problem called "making a living" (and I think there is much to be said to NOT make your living from your art-no marketing pressure driving your aesthetic). Any way, being in museum collections can add a lot of credibility to your work in the buying public's perception-especially when they purchase it. I don't make (art) images to sell. That's not my motivation....BUT I sure am happy when they do. Just saying..........

I understand completely, Kirk. And, I think you have handled the "making a living" and your personal work very well. I have been there, but took a slightly different route. However, I think we arrived at the same place in being "true to our vision". That is what really counts in the end! And that is what people get when they purchase my work --- my vision. And when they purchase your work, your vision.

Mark Sawyer
10-Dec-2014, 00:38
Re: museums seldom collecting contemporary work ...

Not to state the obvious, but you gotta ask what kind of museum it is. If it's called, say, a contemporary art museum, it would be kind of shocking if they didn't collect contemporary art.

If contemporary really meant contemporary, museums of contemporary anything would be an oxymoron unless they replaced their collections every few years. In the art world, "contemporary" seems to mean only decades old, as opposed to "modern", meaning perhaps a century old...

I'd hold out that art museums collect older work that has earned its little spot in history. That's their job, not to speculate on the art world's current events and what may or may not prove to be important in the future. Photographing historic sites and selling the images to history museums, cultural centers, and the like seems a different category than the "art for art's sake" issue...

Toyon
10-Dec-2014, 01:08
You may be jumping the gun here Merg. RodinalDuchamp may want to be in a Museum because he/she thinks that is the best way to communicate with his/her viewers. It is not necessarily about affirmation. Neither would it necessarily corrupting his/her ability to make good photographs to want his/her work seen. There are more than a few fine photographs whose work ends up being pulped because they were never recognized or seen. Fortunately there are more ways than ever to communicate with viewers (e.g. blogs, self-publishing etc...).

Greg Miller
10-Dec-2014, 06:18
Maris..........."cynical conjecture". Sure there are characters like that but at the same time I have friends and acquaintances that are about as erasable, difficult and hermetic as an art character can be that not only do not kiss ass up the museum ladder but are the exact opposite and yet are exceedingly successful in the museum arena.

Would you counsel a person striving to be collected by museums that being "erasable, difficult and hermetic as an art character can be" is the optimal, or even desirable, method to achieve that goal?

Kirk Gittings
10-Dec-2014, 06:27
The point is the work.

djdister
10-Dec-2014, 06:29
Let's take a step back here. Assumption one is that everyone here is a photographer. And that's where all assumptions must stop. One person's vision of success may be to be penniless and starving, but with work in a museum. Another person's vision of success may be to have your work sell for 6.5M dollars. And there's a whole lot in between those two extremes, but one person cannot say that their vision of succcess is right and another person's vision of succes is wrong. They are just different. You may not like another person's vision of success any more than you like or dislike what they photograph, or how they photograph. For some people, continual self-promotion is just the way they are wired, while others find that approach to be anathema. If you have found yourself and your style of photography somewhere on this continuum, be happy, be healthy, and move on.

Peter Lewin
10-Dec-2014, 06:31
I think that if one re-reads Monsieur Duchamps' original post, you will see that being in a museum collection was not an end in itself, it was a measure of the merit of the photography. He specifically states that while for some, having works in "small galleries and collections" may be sufficient, he asks how to "transcend" that level to the point where one's work is collected by [major, my addition] museums. So ultimately, in my reading, we have someone entering the fine arts photography field asking how to reach the pinnacle of that field, particularly if one's love is the black and white silver print.

While many of us can question whether curators should be the measure of one's success, I personally would not argue that Rodinal's use of "museum collectibility" is not a good target. Yes, we occasionally come across excellent photographers who were never recognized (Vivienne Maier jumps to mind as a current example, as does Atget who was unknown until Berenice Abbott popularized his work around 1930), but very few mediocre photographs hang in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, or the Metropolitan Museum, in NYC. I see no reason why Rodinal, starting out, shouldn't aim high.

Of course his question about how to get there is somewhat unanswerable, but several with appropriate experiences have already posted their thoughts. I suspect that many of us can offer opinions on how to live one's life ("be true to your own spirit and vision" has been said several times) but in truth the vast majority of us are happy to have works hung in local juried shows or in small local galleries, so we are not aiming for the same target as Rodinal. As the father of two grown children, I could offer lots of wisdom (self-depricating humor) on how to live a life, but that wasn't the question.

The second part of Rodinal's question was whether there is still a place for the B&W silver print at the "pinnacle." Since I am still a darkroom printer, that question intrigued me. When I try to think of "contemporary" B&W landscape photographers who have made the major museum grade, I run out of candidates with Robert Adams and William Clift, and they are both over 60. Kirk, who as far as I know is the best qualified on this Forum to respond to Rodinal's question, has mentioned that he (although he too is over 60!) as well as others he knows, are actively collected by museums, so it would seem that darkroom photographers don't have to give up yet.

Edit: Read the thread in this same forum, "$6.5 million for a Peter Lik." He doesn't shoot B&W silver prints, I have no idea if he is collected by major museums, but there has to be a relationship between that thread and this one!

Greg Miller
10-Dec-2014, 08:38
The point is the work.

It should be about the work. With curators bombarded by people and work coming at them from endless media sources, it doesn't seem to be a good strategy to wait for things to happen, or to be difficult to work with. Maximizing the odds of being recognized and accepted includes the element of marketing and sales. Some people love marketing and some people hate it. It seems intuitive that the more sales and marketing that one does, and the more pleasant and easy one makes it to interact with, the better the odds of being selected. Its possible to be a curmudgeon and successful, or do no marketing, but that doesn't make it a good strategy. There are also ample cases of photographers who are better marketers than photographers who are more successful than photographers who are better than them. I think making outstanding work is very important, but I don't think that is enough today. At least not if one's ambitions include having the validation of being in museums and are willing to improve the probability of that happening.

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 09:30
I think that if one re-reads Monsieur Duchamps' original post, you will see that being in a museum collection was not an end in itself, it was a measure of the merit of the photography. He specifically states that while for some, having works in "small galleries and collections" may be sufficient, he asks how to "transcend" that level to the point where one's work is collected by [major, my addition] museums. So ultimately, in my reading, we have someone entering the fine arts photography field asking how to reach the pinnacle of that field, particularly if one's love is the black and white silver print.

While many of us can question whether curators should be the measure of one's success, I personally would not argue that Rodinal's use of "museum collectibility" is not a good target. Yes, we occasionally come across excellent photographers who were never recognized (Vivienne Maier jumps to mind as a current example, as does Atget who was unknown until Berenice Abbott popularized his work around 1930), but very few mediocre photographs hang in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, or the Metropolitan Museum, in NYC. I see no reason why Rodinal, starting out, shouldn't aim high.

Of course his question about how to get there is somewhat unanswerable, but several with appropriate experiences have already posted their thoughts. I suspect that many of us can offer opinions on how to live one's life ("be true to your own spirit and vision" has been said several times) but in truth the vast majority of us are happy to have works hung in local juried shows or in small local galleries, so we are not aiming for the same target as Rodinal. As the father of two grown children, I could offer lots of wisdom (self-depricating humor) on how to live a life, but that wasn't the question.

The second part of Rodinal's question was whether there is still a place for the B&W silver print at the "pinnacle." Since I am still a darkroom printer, that question intrigued me. When I try to think of "contemporary" B&W landscape photographers who have made the major museum grade, I run out of candidates with Robert Adams and William Clift, and they are both over 60. Kirk, who as far as I know is the best qualified on this Forum to respond to Rodinal's question, has mentioned that he (although he too is over 60!) as well as others he knows, are actively collected by museums, so it would seem that darkroom photographers don't have to give up yet.

Edit: Read the thread in this same forum, "$6.5 million for a Peter Lik." He doesn't shoot B&W silver prints, I have no idea if he is collected by major museums, but there has to be a relationship between that thread and this one!
Bravo, thank you for going back and retouching some of the more important parts of my original thought stream.

I am relatively young (29) and grew up in the digital era. However as a photographer and as an artist I will always prefer analog medium. I have tried Photoshop I am rather good at it but it can never replace the experience and process of developing negatives and printing with chemistry.

Yes I would rather shoot and be penniless but enjoy what I do to my core. Its fine for others to make all the money they can. Personally I want my work to reach an audience but not necessarily for commerce.

Though we do live in an era of "schmoozing" as some of you have said. We also live in a time where Banksy has gone from street artist criminal to world renowned artist. I would much rather be the latter even without Banksy's financial success.

Merg Ross
10-Dec-2014, 11:21
You may be jumping the gun here Merg. RodinalDuchamp may want to be in a Museum because he/she thinks that is the best way to communicate with his/her viewers.


Just playing devil's advocate! My work is in a few museums resulting from youthful ambitions. Nothing wrong with the goal of Rodinal Duchamp --- however, there may come a time when he reconsiders the actual worth relative to a love and passion for the medium. Only time will tell.

I wish him all the success.

Kodachrome25
10-Dec-2014, 12:05
I don't market my work, I get people excited to see it and then buy it. I love every aspect of my life as a photographer, maybe that is why I have endless energy and enthusiasm after 26 years in the biz....

Food for thought.

gregmo
10-Dec-2014, 12:10
Bravo, thank you for going back and retouching some of the more important parts of my original thought stream.

I am relatively young (29) and grew up in the digital era.
Yes I would rather shoot and be penniless but enjoy what I do to my core. Its fine for others to make all the money they can.
We also live in a time where Banksy has gone from street artist criminal to world renowned artist.

You & I are the same generation. You have to make your money somehow tho.
Going from criminal to famous artist- This is nothing new. The music industry is full of them.. Snoop, Jay-Z, 50 Cent...the list goes on & on.

analoguey
10-Dec-2014, 12:10
I thought you defined good marketing just there!
Get them excited then sell it to them.

Greg Miller
10-Dec-2014, 12:14
I don't market my work, I get people excited to see it and then buy it. I love every aspect of my life as a photographer, maybe that is why I have endless energy and enthusiasm after 26 years in the biz....

Food for thought.

It takes marketing to get your work out there and for people to see it (before they can get excited about it). Whatever you are doing to get people excited to see it is your marketing. There are traditional marketing methods and non-traditional methods. But its all marketing. Every business has marketing. Many businesses with really outstanding products fail all the time because no-one knows they exist.

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 12:21
Just to give a bit of background. I have made money with my photography just not in the way I want to. I've shot some weddings. You can even see some of it here www.matterandmovement.com but I realized that business wasn't for me.

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 12:23
I have received a generous amount of feedback and thank you all. Its going to take me still longer to interpret it. Its true we all have unique goals and ways to achieve them.

Richard M. Coda
10-Dec-2014, 13:09
Not trying to rain on your parade here, but I would consider going back to school... for something else... and keeping this a hobby that you enjoy and love. The days you pine for are long gone. Art is basically dead. I was at the Carnegie Mellon Open Art Studio the other night (they have one each semester for students to show their work). I have to tell you, 99.999% of it sucked. I took photos of the floor boards from the studios... much more interesting than anything I saw being exhibited. And I even heard one student say to another "I only have to get a D". From that observation I calculated that the parents of these kids are wasting over $1 million a year collectively. My daughter goes to CMU and, IMHO, has more talent in the little piece of her left index finger she accidentally sliced off two weeks ago, than in the entire art school. My daughter was smart... at 16 she said to us... I don't want to be a starving artist and most art today sucks... the only ones who make money are really bad... they are just good marketers (bullsh!tters). So, what did she do? She applied to the School of Drama across the green. Got accepted at her interview (one of only two) and they only accept scenic design majors a year. She said she could use her talents to make money and pretty much work wherever she wants to. On top of her loaded schedule (plus "crew" and late night studio time) she has been working four jobs (all referrals from teachers and grad students) since June... she's made over $3000 that she's going to use to go to the Prague Quadrennial this June.

I am a LF film photographer (4x5, 8x10, 11x14) and have sold maybe 10 prints in 30 years.... I gave up on being the next Edward Weston... I make a hell of a lot more money as a graphic designer with large global clients (so I can afford to send my daughter to CMU)... and really appreciate the little time I get to photograph and print. Take from all this what you will, and good luck.

djdister
10-Dec-2014, 13:31
Yes I would rather shoot and be penniless but enjoy what I do to my core. Its fine for others to make all the money they can. Personally I want my work to reach an audience but not necessarily for commerce.



So answer these questions:
1) what do you plan to do to make a living?
2) what type of photographic body of work do you want to pursue, and what effect do you want it to have on "an audience"?

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 13:38
Not trying to rain on your parade here, but I would consider going back to school... for something else... and keeping this a hobby that you enjoy and love. The days you pine for are long gone. Art is basically dead. I was at the Carnegie Mellon Open Art Studio the other night (they have one each semester for students to show their work). I have to tell you, 99.999% of it sucked. I took photos of the floor boards from the studios... much more interesting than anything I saw being exhibited. And I even heard one student say to another "I only have to get a D". From that observation I calculated that the parents of these kids are wasting over $1 million a year collectively. My daughter goes to CMU and, IMHO, has more talent in the little piece of her left index finger she accidentally sliced off two weeks ago, than in the entire art school. My daughter was smart... at 16 she said to us... I don't want to be a starving artist and most art today sucks... the only ones who make money are really bad... they are just good marketers (bullsh!tters). So, what did she do? She applied to the School of Drama across the green. Got accepted at her interview (one of only two) and they only accept scenic design majors a year. She said she could use her talents to make money and pretty much work wherever she wants to. On top of her loaded schedule (plus "crew" and late night studio time) she has been working four jobs (all referrals from teachers and grad students) since June... she's made over $3000 that she's going to use to go to the Prague Quadrennial this June.

I am a LF film photographer (4x5, 8x10, 11x14) and have sold maybe 10 prints in 30 years.... I gave up on being the next Edward Weston... I make a hell of a lot more money as a graphic designer with large global clients (so I can afford to send my daughter to CMU)... and really appreciate the little time I get to photograph and print. Take from all this what you will, and good luck.


So answer these questions:
1) what do you plan to do to make a living?
2) what type of photographic body of work do you want to pursue, and what effect do you want it to have on "an audience"?
Both of these posts are similar. For one I am not of the persuasion that money is the ultimate motivator. I am not interested in making more money than Weston. I already live pretty frugally.

I would be content working as a teacher and later professor which would afford lots of time to continue working on my personal body of work. A BFA actually has limitless ends and as of now have a higher hiring rate than business majors.

Kodachrome25
10-Dec-2014, 13:58
It takes marketing to get your work out there and for people to see it (before they can get excited about it). Whatever you are doing to get people excited to see it is your marketing. There are traditional marketing methods and non-traditional methods. But its all marketing. Every business has marketing. Many businesses with really outstanding products fail all the time because no-one knows they exist.

Of course, I was just trying to show that there are ways to shed the often frowned upon use of the word "Marketing" and put it into another context. In some ways, when someone who is not looking for income shares their work on a site like this one, they too are "Marketing" in order to gain an accolade or admiration for their efforts.


The days you pine for are long gone. Art is basically dead.

I guess I have a better outlook on it than that. I believe artists are in charge of if art is dead or not....

Richard M. Coda
10-Dec-2014, 16:08
edit: "only accept 6-7 scenic design majors a year"

Richard M. Coda
10-Dec-2014, 16:09
Weston made no money until he was dead. As did Van Gogh.

Richard M. Coda
10-Dec-2014, 16:10
I would be content working as a teacher and later professor which would afford lots of time to continue working on my personal body of work.

Ahhhh, now we know the true motivation...

Jac@stafford.net
10-Dec-2014, 17:24
Weston made no money until he was dead. As did Van Gogh.

Van Gogh had his brother as a patron, which helps.

Jac@stafford.net
10-Dec-2014, 17:34
Both of these posts are similar. For one I am not of the persuasion that money is the ultimate motivator. I am not interested in making more money than Weston. I already live pretty frugally.

I would be content working as a teacher and later professor which would afford lots of time [...]

BFA actually has limitless ends and as of now have a higher hiring rate than business majors.

I wold dearly appreciate an authoritative source that shows BFA recipients have more significant career opportunities than business graduates. Please.

As for being a professor you are only one degree from qualification. All that is generally required is a MFA and peer approval of the department. And is highly likely across all opportunities is that you will not achieve professorship unless you commit to digital.
.

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 18:01
My professors have passed around some articles detailing the job outlooks for artists, here is one from the Wall Street Journal:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304402104579149060054918936
"Artists' income is comparable to other liberal-arts majors," he says. "They do a little better than psychology majors, since counseling and social work is a very low-wage occupation."
"For artists who go on to graduate degrees, the most common of which is the master's of fine arts, the unemployment rate for recent graduates drops to just under 5%"


http://www.economicmodeling.com/2012/04/09/looking-at-the-value-of-an-undergraduate-business-major/
"The unemployment rate for recent business graduates (aged 22-26) is 7.4%, higher than education or health but much lower than architecture, the arts, or even engineering. "

So far I have been to 2 school Miami Dade College and Florida International University. I have also looked at programs at RISD, New World, and Columbia University all of which have film as the central backbone to their photo programs. MDC will not even allow you to take Digital before you take a film class; its prerequisite. So to assume film is going away especially at the academic level is pure speculation. There are aspects of shooting film that are better learned through the darkroom process. Much like all animators must take a drawing class.

I am not saying this is my plan, just one option I have available. I think most artists probably have a day job at least until they become established or credible. Working in education is not a bad gig but there are so many options with a BFA its hard to name them all but you could work for a bank or art insurer, gallery work, museum work, conservatory work, art restoration, art administration, non-profits... etc

Kodachrome25
10-Dec-2014, 18:02
So 111 posts in....you probably have a real good idea of what your first step should be.....if you don't, I'll tell you.

Log off of here and get out into the real world. Because when you are on here, you are not making photographs, talking face to face with people and to be honest, just plain living. Really.....after awhile, it does you far more harm than good to be on the Internet, especially considering your desire to create in the analog workflow.

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 18:04
So 111 posts in....you probably have a real good idea of what your first step should be.....if you don't, I'll tell you.

Log off of here and get out into the real world. Because when you are on here, you are not making photographs, talking face to face with people and to be honest, just plain living. Really.....after awhile, it does you far more harm than good to be on a site like this.

:) I concur. It is fun however to have these discussions and it's nice now some one else who has a similar question can access it here. I would be shooting but I am awaiting a 00-0 shutter adapter ring from china to come in which has me grounded at the moment.

Corran
10-Dec-2014, 19:00
And is highly likely across all opportunities is that you will not achieve professorship unless you commit to digital.
.

I highly disagree. From what I understand from many professors in photography (and see at the university I work at), film/darkroom classes are really growing. There are certainly many students doing digital of course. Really more importantly is that you are well-versed in the technical aspect of digital (Photoshop, computers, DSLRs, etc.) so that you can teach both competently. Being totally ignorant of one or the other will likely result in many less job opportunities.

Also of note is the viewpoint of other art professors (painting, drawing, ceramics, etc.) - many of them in my experience have embraced film photography as a "true" art, unlike digital. Right or wrong, their opinion counts, and one who "commits" to digital will likely have less currency with the traditionalists.

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 22:23
Not trying to rain on your parade here, but I would consider going back to school... for something else... and keeping this a hobby that you enjoy and love. The days you pine for are long gone. Art is basically dead. I was at the Carnegie Mellon Open Art Studio the other night (they have one each semester for students to show their work). I have to tell you, 99.999% of it sucked. I took photos of the floor boards from the studios... much more interesting than anything I saw being exhibited. And I even heard one student say to another "I only have to get a D". From that observation I calculated that the parents of these kids are wasting over $1 million a year collectively. My daughter goes to CMU and, IMHO, has more talent in the little piece of her left index finger she accidentally sliced off two weeks ago, than in the entire art school. My daughter was smart... at 16 she said to us... I don't want to be a starving artist and most art today sucks... the only ones who make money are really bad... they are just good marketers (bullsh!tters). So, what did she do? She applied to the School of Drama across the green. Got accepted at her interview (one of only two) and they only accept scenic design majors a year. She said she could use her talents to make money and pretty much work wherever she wants to. On top of her loaded schedule (plus "crew" and late night studio time) she has been working four jobs (all referrals from teachers and grad students) since June... she's made over $3000 that she's going to use to go to the Prague Quadrennial this June.

I am a LF film photographer (4x5, 8x10, 11x14) and have sold maybe 10 prints in 30 years.... I gave up on being the next Edward Weston... I make a hell of a lot more money as a graphic designer with large global clients (so I can afford to send my daughter to CMU)... and really appreciate the little time I get to photograph and print. Take from all this what you will, and good luck.
I just had to come back to this comment about all modern or contemporary art sucking. I must humbly state that, that is your opinion. I could not imagine an "art" school putting out only "bad" artists. This is all your own perspective.

Going back to school for something else is not going to work for me. See I have been in college 10 years now. I got an AA in psych, then studied marketing, figured out I like the graphic design portion more almost finished a second AA in GD, then I figured out photography was what truly made me happy. I started out doing digital only. Ive shot weddings made decent money, headshots, portraits you name it. I've also worked corporate suit and tie jobs (damn near killed me). But now I am becoming the strongest version of the artist I have within. So going back to school no I've done that I know where I belong and it took me all of 10 years to figure that out and I'm just getting started.

Randy Moe
10-Dec-2014, 22:38
That's the spirit we are looking for. Just go for it. Heart, soul and brain!

Corran
10-Dec-2014, 22:45
IMO it sounds like you already know what you want/are going to do. I agree re: modern art "sucking." Opinions!

A lot of people complain about things like weddings, portraits, that kinda thing. For me it luckily is (usually) a lot of fun - I love shooting weddings (hate editing the digital files but that's a different story). Doing whatever in photography that makes you happy should be goal #1. If that goal coincides with getting in museums/galleries/whatever, there you go. If you have to sacrifice goal #1 to get goal #2 (being in a museum) is it worth it?

RodinalDuchamp
10-Dec-2014, 22:49
IMO it sounds like you already know what you want/are going to do. I agree re: modern art "sucking." Opinions!

A lot of people complain about things like weddings, portraits, that kinda thing. For me it luckily is (usually) a lot of fun - I love shooting weddings (hate editing the digital files but that's a different story). Doing whatever in photography that makes you happy should be goal #1. If that goal coincides with getting in museums/galleries/whatever, there you go. If you have to sacrifice goal #1 to get goal #2 (being in a museum) is it worth it?

There is this really neat interplay between traditionalist photographer of which I consider myself one and modern artists. I can usually understand modern art though I must agree much of it is too ambiguous for its own good.

Sacrificing 1 to get to 2, hmm well in my own situation #1 and #2 are closely linked however I must agree with you. Up until now I have followed the path of least resistance towards happiness above all things, being in a museum would be a great accomplishment but not at the cost of doing things not on my own terms.

Corran
10-Dec-2014, 22:59
When I was younger I was majoring in Music Composition (doubled w/ Music Ed). All I wanted to do was get some pieces published. To me that was "success," to be an official wind band composer. Turned out I sucked at large ensemble stuff and was better with small ensemble writing, but either way I ended up diverging from that due to getting so heavily involved in other things. I realized I had changed, and that my measure of "success" was not to be in some catalog of published music. My point is, you'll continue to change and evolve as years go by. If you're really tenacious and go after XYZ, you'll do it. Or keep doing your thing, and you might find yourself starting to get recognized because of it. There's no one path.

BTW, to clarify, I don't think modern art sucks at all, I was agreeing that "sucking" was the poster's opinion and that's it. A great deal of opinions on art are worthless! It's kinda like all the photographers right now having a conniption about Lik selling that print for 6.5 million. I've seen some articles where the "journalist" states it as "clearly" a boring piece. Okay, whatever.

Kirk Gittings
11-Dec-2014, 08:24
As for being a professor you are only one degree from qualification. All that is generally required is a MFA and peer approval of the department. And is highly likely across all opportunities is that you will not achieve professorship unless you commit to digital.
.

Hmmm. I'm not sure what kind of school you are referring to really. Brooks probably yes as it has a commercial bent, but for fine art schools not really. For lower level undergraduate introductory classes, yes you would need to know digital if you expect to be employed full time-as there will likely not be enough film or alt processes classes for a full time position. You would need broad skills to survive. But "commit" to digital in an art school? I don't know what that means. You need tech skills to teach particular classes but in no school anywhere that I am aware of do they ask you to commit to digital or anything else for the teacher's own work. That would be an anathema philosophically. For upper level and graduate classes, no-as little technique perse is taught and there are lots of professor's, (and students) even young ones, at that level that shoot film for their art work. At that level the success of your personal art work trumps everything else-including whether you are even a decent teacher.

Kirk Gittings
11-Dec-2014, 08:39
And one other thing. There are lots of reasons to get an art degree that aren't aimed at working professionally as an artist in that field just like a history degrees etc. I know a guy who makes 6 figures as a web developer who got an MFA in Photography and doesn't feel like it was wasted effort or money at all a it taught him a lot about critical thinking and creativity etc. that he applies every day. In the same vein I know MFAs that own successful breweries etc. etc. You can't discount the value of an education because someone doesn't end up working in the same exact field. I went to school with the CEO of Freestyle Photographic-really bright creative guy that has taken Freestyle from a small family owned reseller of surplus photographic goods to one of the largest retailers of photographic supplies in the country. He has a degree in architecture.

paulr
11-Dec-2014, 08:43
If you're on a large format photo message board, bemoaning that no one likes old fashioned b+w landscapes, the prospects are a little dim on this last point ...

In light of recent news concerning Peter Lik: I retract everything I ever said about anything.
Just do your thing, man. Maybe you'll get rich 'n famous, maybe you'll get hit by a falling meteor.

Toyon
11-Dec-2014, 08:52
[QUOTE=Kodachrome25;1195857]I don't market my work, I get people excited to see it and then buy it. I love every aspect of my life as a photographer, maybe that is why I have endless energy and enthusiasm after 26 years in the biz....

That's called "marketing by personality".

Randy Moe
11-Dec-2014, 09:03
And one other thing. There are lots of reasons to get an art degree that aren't aimed at working professionally as an artist in that field just like a history degrees etc. I know a guy who makes 6 figures as a web developer who got an MFA in Photography and doesn't feel like it was wasted effort or money at all a it taught him a lot about critical thinking and creativity etc. that he applies every day. In the same vein I know MFAs that own successful breweries etc. etc. You can't discount the value of an education because someone doesn't end up working in the same exact field. I went to school with the CEO of Freestyle Photographic-really bright creative guy that has taken Freestyle from a small family owned reseller of surplus photographic goods to one of the largest retailers of photographic supplies in the country. He has a degree in architecture.

+!.

gregmo
11-Dec-2014, 09:12
I love shooting weddings (hate editing the digital files but that's a different story).

Bryan,

You're basically getting paid for shooting the wedding, not the edit. The editing is the biggest time suck of the gig. Might be a good idea to look around for a good editing company you like so you can subcontract out & focus your time on building your business.

Corran
11-Dec-2014, 09:30
You're absolutely right. I haven't found someone who I trust to edit properly though. I would want to find someone local who I trust and can work with directly.

Edit: Kirk is correct in the post below. I am contracted for the whole shebang. I agree though that contracting out the editing would be a possible solution to my dislike of the editing. While I can see the conflict about turning that over to someone else, for commercial work it wouldn't bother me (if I trusted and knew the work of said editor). I have shot several weddings as only a shooter, and the editing was done by the original contractor, and only one person from these experiences edited the files well.

Kirk Gittings
11-Dec-2014, 09:38
Bryan,

You're basically getting paid for shooting the wedding, not the edit. The editing is the biggest time suck of the gig. Might be a good idea to look around for a good editing company you like so you can subcontract out & focus your time on building your business.

Wrong conceptually if you agreed to deliver finished files or prints. You are getting paid to do whatever you contracted to do. If that is deliver finished photos you are being paid for the editing and are responsible for it whether you do it personally or not. As a commercial photographer myself I cannot fathom the idea of turning over the editing to some one else. I want total control of the final product.

RodinalDuchamp
11-Dec-2014, 09:50
In light of recent news concerning Peter Lik: I retract everything I ever said about anything.
Just do your thing, man. Maybe you'll get rich 'n famous, maybe you'll get hit by a falling meteor.
Peter Lik's $6.5M sale just further escalates my argument about being a businessman or a true fine artist. We all know Lik's work is "limited editions" consisting of 950 prints is ridiculous. The guy made a name for himself more power to him. Does that picture represent more artistic craft/talent/vision/excellence above Moonrise Hernandez NM or The Tetons by Adams? No. I think we would be blatantly lying to say Lik's financial success equates being a better artist or worse yet photographer than Ole Ansel.
Yes I am ranting because this is exactly what sickens me about today's art world.

Once profits motivate your work your work is no longer art, it's decoration.

gregmo
11-Dec-2014, 09:57
No reason, future contracts cant be modified to match a newer workflow/ business model. The key is finding a company that matches the "look" you want to create. The client hires you for the look of your images, personality, easy to work with..bla bla, but they probably could care less who sits on the computer editing the files.

Some of the wedding photographers in the area here that had built themselves into bigger businesses either subcontracted out the editing or had a paid staff that did it.

Idea was just to put your time & energy into what you enjoyed & brought in sales & not into things that take up your time.

StoneNYC
11-Dec-2014, 10:56
Peter Lik's $6.5M sale just further escalates my argument about being a businessman or a true fine artist. We all know Lik's work is "limited editions" consisting of 950 prints is ridiculous. The guy made a name for himself more power to him. Does that picture represent more artistic craft/talent/vision/excellence above Moonrise Hernandez NM or The Tetons by Adams? No. I think we would be blatantly lying to say Lik's financial success equates being a better artist or worse yet photographer than Ole Ansel.
Yes I am ranting because this is exactly what sickens me about today's art world.

Once profits motivate your work your work is no longer art, it's decoration.

Well in contrast I don't at all see the appeal of moonrise, it's boring to me, I would rather have the Lik photo hanging than moonrise, everyone talks about it because it was hard to make in the darkroom, but it still looks like shit to me. It baffles me why anyone thinks it's a great photo or represents Ansel's talent like other better images Ansel produced.

I think it's a known image because it was hyped because by that time Ansel was well known, just like Lik, I think the irony is that the two image makers are both on the same path so it's funny when one compares them as a contrast when really they are the same. Yea I said it....

RodinalDuchamp
11-Dec-2014, 11:02
Well in contrast I don't at all see the appeal of moonrise, it's boring to me, I would rather have the Lik photo hanging than moonrise, everyone talks about it because it was hard to make in the darkroom, but it still looks like shit to me. It baffles me why anyone thinks it's a great photo or represents Ansel's talent like other better images Ansel produced.

I think it's a known image because it was hyped because by that time Ansel was well known, just like Lik, I think the irony is that the two image makers are both on the same path so it's funny when one compares them as a contrast when really they are the same. Yea I said it....
I will come back to this post in 50 years and see if lik really does have staying power, which I highly doubt.

You speak strongly about moonrise. I have to disagree the image is not only technically good but compositionally superior to lik. I think a small percentage of us could reproduce similar images under similar conditions. I do believe ALL of us can produce Lik's image.

Yes, modem art is not about technical prowess but photography is realism and there is something to be said about that.
Lik will be remembered just as kinkade, a joke.

Peter Lewin
11-Dec-2014, 11:13
Stone: It is pointless to argue about one's opinions about any given photograph, but here's a different way to think about AA's Moonrise. When he made that image, there probably were no similar images around (and as far as I'm aware, it is still a pretty unique image). When Mr. Lik made his image, we had all probably already seen 100's of similar images from Antelope Canyon. Heck, google "Antelope Canyon" and look at the images that pop up immediately from the google search.

A really good question was raised somewhere earlier in the Peter Lik thread: where are the prices for his work from sales in open auctions? AA's works (besides hanging in every museum photo collection I've ever seen) have a proven pricing history. Is there anything equivalent for Mr. Lik's work, except for the prices he says he receives in his own galleries? Personally I agree with RD's comment, Mr. Lik produces nice decoration, and I would enjoy seeing it in many commercial offices or corporate centers. As "museum grade art" not so much.

StoneNYC
11-Dec-2014, 11:48
Stone: It is pointless to argue about one's opinions about any given photograph, but here's a different way to think about AA's Moonrise. When he made that image, there probably were no similar images around (and as far as I'm aware, it is still a pretty unique image). When Mr. Lik made his image, we had all probably already seen 100's of similar images from Antelope Canyon. Heck, google "Antelope Canyon" and look at the images that pop up immediately from the google search.

A really good question was raised somewhere earlier in the Peter Lik thread: where are the prices for his work from sales in open auctions? AA's works (besides hanging in every museum photo collection I've ever seen) have a proven pricing history. Is there anything equivalent for Mr. Lik's work, except for the prices he says he receives in his own galleries? Personally I agree with RD's comment, Mr. Lik produces nice decoration, and I would enjoy seeing it in many commercial offices or corporate centers. As "museum grade art" not so much.

Ahhh and see there's the kicker, when Ansel made his images, they didn't sell for very much, it's only after he sold them to other people that they sold for much money, he was always sort of struggling in that respect, whereas Lik's images are selling in his own galleries and he is getting the better price, sure it's always better when your work is appreciated long-term and such, but as a successful artist, you could see that both sides have value in different ways. I've seen his photos sell as people excitedly bought them, but you could tell the salesmen had no clues about photography, only about selling. I suppose he's good enough for the average person to want them, and that's all that's important for some people, making a living and making art aren't always the same, Lik is able to do both with one image, whereas Ansel had to do grunt work even at the end of his days, Lik hasn't had to do anything but what he wants to for years now. Who's a more successful artist? It's all perspective. Personally I would rather be appreciated in life and financially happy while I can enjoy it, when we're gone, who cares. Ultimately it's about living the joy of now. That's probably the one thing that bothers me the most about art, most artists are appreciated until they die and then suddenly their work is somehow recognized, what a crock of sh!t that business is, it's the biggest insult of them all. So to me, Peter Lik (and Dan Bayer) are the type of people I aspire to be, artists successful in life, not afterward...

(Sorry Dan to group you with Lik, but hey, you guys have shops down the street from each other, so....)

TXFZ1
11-Dec-2014, 11:49
Trolling, trolling, trolling,
keep them dogies trolling,
head 'em up...move 'em out!

Serious question, have you ever seen Moonrise in print?

David

Corran
11-Dec-2014, 11:54
Sorry but if you're going to make a whole post typing "Ansell" I'm just going to dismiss your entire opinion as ignorant.

StoneNYC
11-Dec-2014, 12:28
Sorry but if you're going to make a whole post typing "Ansell" I'm just going to dismiss your entire opinion as ignorant.

I'm using dictation sometimes it spells things wrong, sorry, I'll fix that.

DonJ
11-Dec-2014, 13:45
Peter Lik's $6.5M sale just further escalates my argument about being a businessman or a true fine artist.

I get the impression, after reading your many posts in this thread, that you believe the two must be mutually exclusive. You even claimed that a certain gallery's techniques for selling photos made you sick. What is it about artists who are also "businessmen" that you find so objectionable? Are you planning to give away your work for your entire career?

Bill Burk
11-Dec-2014, 18:55
I want to distance myself from the thought now. But once, and not long ago, I expressed a goal for myself that one day my photography would be displayed in a museum.

I'm ashamed that I ever had that idea, because I now see it's a shallow, narcissistic and conceited idea. I no longer stand behind the thought. I'd encourage you to throw out that idea and look for a better goal.

Through my time spent here, and as I talk to some real people about what I want to accomplish, I have found many other goals that I will always be able to stand behind.

They are simple, easily expressed goals.


One goal is I want as many of my negatives as possible to be suited to making good quality 11x14 black and white prints on silver gelatin paper at Grade 2 or 3.

I occasionally joke that I can't afford a real Ansel Adams print, so I make my own prints to stand up next to his. Similarly, I admire some Edward Weston photographs of his family. When I'm not using large format photography for landscapes, I will photograph my family. For example, today I walked in the rain with my daughter and though I didn't catch the storm at its surge, I'll have a few 4x5 negatives of this interesting day.

StoneNYC, if you become rich one day, all the more power to you. But I would rather live a life of giving than one of taking. I do not wish I had enough money to buy half a dozen Ansel Adams prints, though I might have spent that much on the cameras and film that have given me a half dozen of my own prints that stand up well.

Merg Ross
11-Dec-2014, 22:29
I want to distance myself from the thought now. But once, and not long ago, I expressed a goal for myself that one day my photography would be displayed in a museum.


Interesting Bill, I had a similar thought sixty years ago. And to some extent I was successful, placing prints in collections at MOMA. AIC and GEH. The operative word in your comment is "displayed". Other than having a print selected for display by John Szarkowski at MOMA, I am not aware that my collected work has ever seen the light of day in a manner accessible to the public. I have not approached such institutions for forty years, deciding time better spent making images for myself and sharing them with a small appreciative audience. That has always been my pleasure from photography. Some need more from their work, and that is fine. This thread has previously addressed those concerns.

As to display and exposure to a larger audience, that will more than likely be via the Internet. That is where I recently found my work, on the first page of Google, a pathetic display of my gelatin silver prints from the AIC collection reduced to mud. Sad to be represented in such a manner, but this has become a popular method for museums to show work from collections, not on the walls where it belongs. And, I can only think that quality and process will become less and less important over time as photography becomes redefined. Perhaps that is healthy for a medium so young.

You picked a fine day to be outside, wasn't the weather and surf marvelous today? Good for you!

Kirk Gittings
11-Dec-2014, 22:37
Well in contrast I don't at all see the appeal of moonrise, it's boring to me, I would rather have the Lik photo hanging than moonrise, everyone talks about it because it was hard to make in the darkroom, but it still looks like shit to me. It baffles me why anyone thinks it's a great photo or represents Ansel's talent like other better images Ansel produced.

I think it's a known image because it was hyped because by that time Ansel was well known, just like Lik, I think the irony is that the two image makers are both on the same path so it's funny when one compares them as a contrast when really they are the same. Yea I said it....

What most dispiriting about your post is that it displays a major lack of understanding of photo history, Ansel' place in it, and the significance of Moonrise within that.

StoneNYC
11-Dec-2014, 23:15
What most dispiriting about your post is that it displays a major lack of understanding of photo history, Ansel' place in it, and the significance of Moonrise within that.

This is all correct.

RodinalDuchamp
11-Dec-2014, 23:15
Double post

RodinalDuchamp
11-Dec-2014, 23:16
I get the impression, after reading your many posts in this thread, that you believe the two must be mutually exclusive. You even claimed that a certain gallery's techniques for selling photos made you sick. What is it about artists who are also "businessmen" that you find so objectionable? Are you planning to give away your work for your entire career?

I don't know why you would get that impression. Honestly there are 2 very different motives we see in art 1. art for art's sake or art as communication and then there are "artists" like Brito/Kinkade/Lik who are happy to make things that will sell well. The important distinction is that often times true artists will tackle themes that are not pleasant to look at, not beautiful, often disturbing and by proxy less sell-able. If your work can become easy to connect with and if you can make money from it without compromising the "message" this is very different from going to antelope canyon with the sole intent to make a pretty picture you can sell for a lot of money. A good example would be once again Moonrise, Ansel was driving along when the sight struck him he had to rush out of his car and make a split second exposure no time for the second and having the crazy control over all factors to make an exposure that produces such a rich print in one take. We must also take into account that Ansel was heavily vested in documenting natural wonders in the US before they where even recognized as national treasures, we take that for granted today. That is a very different artistic modus operandi than Lik, probably as far as can be.

gregmo
12-Dec-2014, 02:58
FYI, Lik has had 1 image on exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. It was a few years, a similar, but color image at the same spot in the canyon.
Not sure if you were aware of that.

gregmo
12-Dec-2014, 08:46
Make that 2 images on exhibit at the Smithsonian's M. of N.H.: one in 2010 & the other in 2011.

Also, R. Lough & Art Wolfe were on exhibit there this year. Looks like selling doesnt exclude an artist from showing at a large museum.

Kodachrome25
12-Dec-2014, 11:04
I have no desire to photograph Antelope Canyon....unless I can be allowed to bring an inflatable antelope as a prop...

Mark Sawyer
12-Dec-2014, 11:14
Or at least an inflatable reindeer with a very shiny nose.

Or maybe someone could photoshop Caponigro's Running Deer into that canyon...

Kodachrome25
12-Dec-2014, 11:28
A friend of mine bought an original 16x20 of Moonrise in 1978, he paid $800 for it. Seems to be more than enough to live well in 78. The reason he told me the price is that is the same I charged him for a 16x16 of one of my images two years ago....it shares the same wall as Moonrise....

Here's to hoping!

Peter Lewin
12-Dec-2014, 11:34
"Or maybe someone could photoshop Caponigro's Running Deer into that canyon..."

Now a B&W panoramic of Caponigro's white deer running along the floor of a slot canyon - that I would hang on my wall!

"A friend of mine bought an original 16x20 of Moonrise in 1978, he paid $800 for it. Seems to be more than enough to live well in 78. The reason he told me the price is that is the same I charged him for a 16x16 of one of my images two years ago....it shares the same wall as Moonrise....Here's to hoping!"

Just please tell us that you won't have to die for the value of your print to increase!

jp
12-Dec-2014, 12:09
I'm not an AA Fanboy, but I have seen an actual Moonrise print (there are variations), and it's a very very nice silver gelatin print. I wouldn't be disparaging it.

Robert Opheim
12-Dec-2014, 12:37
It seems to me that Ansel Adams images and the images of Antelope Cannon share similar fates. When I studied photography Ansel Adams images were everywhere and the ideas of Ansel's had been copied and reworked widely. The first images I saw of Antelope Cannon were made by Bruce Barnbaum - they were new and fresh- at that time. Now there are many image-makers that go to Antelope Cannon to make more images (or images like Barnbaum's) - I am tired of seeing Antelope Cannon - although it is still a wonderful place. The importance of Adam's work and of original image ideas of Antelope Cannon I think are very important - they just have been seen so many times. I have had the pleasure of seeing many Adam's prints and they are wonderful - as well as seeing many of Barnbaum's prints - also wonderful.

paulr
12-Dec-2014, 12:38
Peter Lik's $6.5M sale just further escalates my argument about being a businessman or a true fine artist.

Increasingly likely that he's just a professional fraud:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?118565-Peter-Lik-deserves-our-skepticism&p=1196550#post1196550

Kodachrome25
12-Dec-2014, 12:58
The artist who first feeds his soul is no starving artist...