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Thread: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

  1. #11

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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    I am with Turtle. While not legally wrong, it is morally wrong.

    The kiddies are cashing in though! I doubt Eggleston has a whole lot to do with these sales. I bet Eggleston does some epic signing stints before he kicks it.

  2. #12

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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Fada View Post
    I am with Turtle. While not legally wrong, it is morally wrong.
    Apparently, in some states it might be legally wrong. Some states try to enforce what "limited edition" means, though it is not clear that Eggleston was in violation.

    I guess it's not too surprising that the whole "limited edition" thing with respect to photography is fraught with controversy. The art-collecting world needs scarcity, and film provides the capacity to make any arbitrarily large number of copies the photographer has the time and willingness to make. Scarcity has to be artificially enforced to suit the needs of collectors. I guess if they aren't comfortable with the pretense, they shouldn't be collecting.

  3. #13

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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Jarosz View Post
    Does one buy art because it's art or an investment?
    If someone is worried about the value then he has no appreciation for the art.

    My opinion.
    Inexpensive art by unknown artists bought at craft shows, gift shops, etc. is bought solely because the buyer appreciates the art. Moderately priced art by unknown artists sold through art outlets (e.g. galleries) is bought mainly for appreciation of the art but also with investment in the back of the buyer's mind. Expensive art by known artists is bought mostly for investment but with some appreciation for the art thrown in. Megabucks art is bought almost exclusively for investment. It's very little different than stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. Bragging rights might enter into it but art sold these days for megabucks usually isn't hung on the wall of someone's home, it's too valuable and insurance likely isn't available for something worth megabucks that isn't secured.

    Obviously a major over-generalization subject to many exceptions (e.g. some collectors who buy for investment also are extremely knowledgeable and appreciative of the art). But very roughly accurate as far as it goes, depending of course on how one defines "inexpensive," "megabucks," "unknown," etc.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #14
    dperez's Avatar
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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    I often take more than one exposure of the same scene, as I'm sure many others do. So, I wonder how that comes into play in a situation like this thread. I mean one can simply say, "Those original limited editions came from negative #215, the new prints are from negative #216." Different negative, different snapshot in time. Does this hold water or am I wrong?

    -DP

  5. #15
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    It seems to me that someone altering what they meant when they said it is being deceptive.

    Things change, but if the guy changed his idea of what "limited" meant in his mind at the time he said it, then he's undermining the value of his word, even to himself. That's a moral issue, not a legal one, because it involves intentions. But if he doesn't trust his own word, it will hard for others to do so, if it affects the integrity of the product.

    Behavior should be driven by that integrity. Integrity is fragile--it will vanish far sooner than any legal lines are crossed. Integrity is important even (or perhaps especially) in the rarefied atmosphere of what the very rich collect as an investment, even if it's just the integrity of the thing being collected.

    Rick "noting, however, that collectible art prints are often numbered and limited only in their original size, though with disclosure" Denney

  6. #16

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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    Original editions are still original editions, like with books, for example. People buy them to read, but they also buy them as collector's items.
    In book publishing, a "limited edition" almost always means that that particular edition is limited, usually including some special feature: printing, case, signed, illustrated, etc. Rarely does it mean that there will never be another, different edition of the same work. In fact, if an author claimed that, I don't think anyone would believe it. (And yes, a really popular author like Stephen King could have a "limited edition" of 10,000 or more!)

  7. #17

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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Did no one read the entire article? No one but Sobel is suggesting Eggleston did anything dishonest, and no one thinks Sobel has a legitimate case. The difference in edition print sizes is beyond substantial, the printing process is different, and according to experts, there is nothing unusual about what Eggleston is doing.

    As Daniel Grant explains, print disclosure laws make explicit exceptions for prints of different sizes, or even just series which have different numbering. And Josh Holdeman, Christie’s international director of 20th century art, goes so far as to say that “I don’t know of any photographers who haven’t produced multiple editions of the same images”: this is undoubtedly standard practice in the art and photography world.
    What's unusual is Sobel's lawsuit. What's at issue is Eggleston's marketing to collectors of contemporary art instead of to the photography collectors who invested in him early on.

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Sooner or later someone is left holding the bag anyway. Once a photographer is in that brew of "investment" art, it's probably too late. Maybe another round or two. Like everyone
    investing in gold at the moment, right at the top of the market. The next generation won't
    give a damn about many of these folks. Besides, any Eggleston restrikes are likely inkjet,
    and won't be regarded as having the same value to old school collectors as the original dye
    tranfer prints.. . Ironically, the inkjets will probably last longer. But I don't personally care
    for Egglestons work when it gets significantly enlarged. Loses a lot of the charm.

  9. #19

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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Sooner or later someone is left holding the bag anyway. Once a photographer is in that brew of "investment" art, it's probably too late. Maybe another round or two. Like everyone
    investing in gold at the moment, right at the top of the market. The next generation won't
    give a damn about many of these folks. Besides, any Eggleston restrikes are likely inkjet,
    and won't be regarded as having the same value to old school collectors as the original dye
    tranfer prints.. . Ironically, the inkjets will probably last longer. But I don't personally care
    for Egglestons work when it gets significantly enlarged. Loses a lot of the charm.
    Well, it's probably a good thing because many "old school collectors" won't be able to afford the new prints anyway. Have you actually seen the new prints, or is your opinion of them based on some other prints you might or might not have seen?

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Jonathan Sobel not happy with William Eggleston's latest marketing move.

    Jay - I obviously have not seen anything that's being marketed at this moment, but have
    seen various digital restrikes (technically the wrong term, I know...) of older work. The shoe just doesn't fit. This is my subjective opinion, of course. But Eggleston's classic work
    was off-the-cuff snapshooting. The better reproductions were dye transfer, which landed
    the color and matched the relatively low quantity of detail present - it pretty much kept the rough edginess of the work intact. Lightjet C prints (which I have seen) just respond
    with a "thud" for me. Too much capacity for detail which simply isn't there - and significant enlargement just creates a cheap decor look. Not like a mystical little image in
    a portfolio box. And C prints have no real permanence advantage over dye transfer unless
    open display is involved, which pretty much discounts the "investment" value of either.
    Maybe a really good inkjet printer could keep the general look intact, but it depends on the
    specific hues. I found Eggleston's medium format work especially disappointing - neither
    fish nor fowl. He really needed zero onto something simple and arcane to hit the nail on the head. 35mm was ideal.

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