View Full Version : Rodney Lough JR on limited editions

QT Luong
9-Dec-2005, 18:49

I particularly like "Given that just about everyone knows how I feel about the topic of limited editions it should be understood that what is about to transpire is NOT being done for marketing purposes but rather to truly keep the numbers small".

It is also interesting to note that Fuji Crystal Archive prints of 16x24 are in limited editions of 500 and sell for $520, while a fujix print of 16x24 (??) is also available for $80 unlimited.

Brian Vuillemenot
9-Dec-2005, 19:45
Better get yours while you can, before they sell out! After is, he is a Yahoo! Master of Photography, along with the likes of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, et al...

Michael Jones
9-Dec-2005, 20:05
I'm more fascinated by all the swell titles to his limited editions. Thank heavens some have been "retired." On the other hand, what he is doing beats working for a living...

9-Dec-2005, 20:06
I went to his site and in thirty seconds the sweetness of it all gave me a toothache.

9-Dec-2005, 20:28
After that comment, jj, I was afraid that my computer would catch Diabetes. Fortunately it didn't. Actually, it's nice, straight-forward calander art. According to his bio, he's been shooting only 5 years and already sold more prints than St. Ansel. Goes to show that merchandising is more important than artistry, doesn't it? I've got no problem with it -- it serves its purpose.

Kirk Gittings
9-Dec-2005, 20:42
What exactly is a "Yahoo Master Photographer"?

Harley Goldman
9-Dec-2005, 20:43
Met Rodney a couple of springs ago in Yosemite. We were both shooting Cathedral Rocks from the temporary pond near El Cap. He is a character. Not shy about telling me how good his photography is. I like my shot from there a lot better than his. LOL!!

He does market himself in a big way. I like some of his work, but I am not terribly fond of the text he includes with the images. It makes me want to reach for a bucket. If it sells prints, more power to him. To each their own in this world. I envy the fact he drives around the country and shoots a good chunk of the year and I go to the office. Something to be said for that.

Jorge Gasteazoro
9-Dec-2005, 20:56
WHat I found funny was his "before the storm" shot taken from the tripod holes AA made. This guy has before the storm picture and AA has after the storm picture.....

OTOH if this guy is selling as much as he says it is depressing to think that here we are trying to make interesting pictures when we should be just taking the same ol tired shots and marketing the hell out of them........... NAH!

QT Luong
9-Dec-2005, 20:59
what he is doing beats working for a living...

Selling photographs is actually pretty hard work.

What exactly is a "Yahoo Master Photographer"?

Someone listed on http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Visual_Arts/Photography/Photographers/Masters
Good company there, but not sure how selective Yahoo is, if you pay the annual $300 fee.

9-Dec-2005, 20:59
Goes to show that merchandising is more important than artistry, doesn't it?

Indeed, merchandising is rather like chumming; it thins the waters of the hungry, less worthwhile fish who just become chum again while the big ones lurk deep. The fishermen who chum are as foolish as their catch.

QT Luong
9-Dec-2005, 21:06
he's been shooting only 5 years and already sold more prints than St. Ansel

I'll bet most of it are the $20 8x10 and $40 11x14 at art shows.

Brett Deacon
9-Dec-2005, 21:19
I saw this guy's work at the Uptown Art Fair in Minnepolis a few years back. As I recall, he had no unframed prints, all framed prints were quite large (at least 16x20, some were probably 40x50), and the prices were high (well over $1000 for the big stuff). He told me that he made over $100,000 per year on the art fair circuit alone. He does take some pretty pictures, but I've seen many landscape photographers with much better work. However, I only know of one who markets his work better: Thomas Mangelsen. I'm sure both of them are millionaires several times over by now.

Robert A. Zeichner
9-Dec-2005, 22:44
Bull*hit makes the flowers grow!

Tony Karnezis
10-Dec-2005, 00:31
QT, pardon me if I'm a bit slow on the uptake (it's been a long week), but is your post because you agree with him or is it sarcastic? Seems like you both have limited editions of your larger prints.

As for the artistry of his work, like Harley said, if he sells the stuff, great. He seems to do a good job marketing his work. (I own a few prints myself.) Bill characterized his work as "straight-forward calendar art." That's Bill's fair opinion, so I won't argue with it. I think QT's work falls into this category too. That's not a criticism; it's praise for doing some really nice work which, to some, simply falls into the category of "pretty pictures." I feel the same about much of Ansel Adams' work, but I still like those pretty pictures. To each his own.

Seems very hard to make "interesting pictures," as Jorge put it. I can't think of much landscape (or any) photography that can be characterized as interesting. Beautiful? Powerful? Moving? Sure. But not interesting in the sense of originality. I like landscape photography very much nevertheless, for very different reasons that I like other kinds photography.

Please understand that my next point is not meant to insult anyone, Jorge in particular, because I'm going to use his one statement to set up my question. Jorge said "it is depressing to think that here we are trying to make interesting pictures when we should be just taking the same ol tired shots and marketing the hell out of them. " So my question is this:

To those of you who do work that is very different from that which you know sells well, why do you seem surprised/upset/disappopinted when your work doesn't sell well or when people who do the "calendar art" do so well? The posting a while ago about Anne Geddes (greeting cards & calendars of cute sleeping babies) brought out similar comments those I see here. Shouldn't we all just make our bed and sleep in it and not worry about how others do it or, better yet, learn from it?

Respectfully, - Tony

Duane Polcou
10-Dec-2005, 00:47
It is undeniably true that someone, artist or otherwise, who devotes more resources to maketing than content will be far more financially successful than someone who strives for artistic expression and creative
excellence, but approaches self-promotion haphazardly.
Do I detect sour grapes? Don't fault him that he has a cohesive strategy for marketing. For everyone who thinks that they are unique in what they photograph and are somehow above "selling out" as it would compromise their vision, you should wake up and realize that it has all been done already. ALL of it.
Every exposure that you or anyone else does is just a variation on a pre-existing theme that you just haven't seen yet. Go ahead. Post an "original" shot and I'll quote you where I've seen something just like it.
So how is your canyon, sunset, macro shot, nude, pile of grapes, homeless guy, barn, old sign, sand dune, et al different than everyone else's. Well, you're the dude that took it. That's about it.

QT Luong
10-Dec-2005, 01:59
I am not making any judgement. I am just passing this write-up about limited editions because I thought that it was interesting, esp. in light of another thread where most agreed that limited editions were about marketing.

Several people in this thread thing that Rodney Lough is one of the best marketers around. I'd be interested to hear what makes them think so. For instance, Tony, what aspect of his marketing led you to buy his prints (besides the fact that you like the images, of course) ?

If I have one comment to make, it is that his edition strategy does not seem particularly well though of to me. He used to offer everything unlimited, until he realized that it was desirable to edition, instead of planning editions from the start. For a short period of time, I also used to edition through all sizes (incidently to 500, like he does) until a gallery owner educated me about the advantages of editioning by sizes.

Tony Karnezis
10-Dec-2005, 03:29
Duane, you touched on something. I feel a sense of elitism (in the negative use of the word) in some people's comments. I don't want to go further than that because it's often hard to discern someone's attitude (joking vs. sarcastic) simply from their words. I'll simply say that I liked Harley's comment. Whether you like Rodney or his work, he's doing alright because he's found a market and works very hard to expand it. Give credit where credit's due.

QT, it wasn't marketing that made my buy my first print. In short, I liked what I saw, and at the time (~2 yrs ago), his work was ridiculously cheap. I bought a framed 16x20 Fuji Crystal Archive print (8-ply overmat and a very nice wood frame) for $430. I don't know much about marketing, but I think one thing Rodney has going for him is that he sells prints in every size and at every price point (8x10 open edition to 40x50 limited edition FCA prints). This way anyone can afford his work no matter what their budget is.

Like you alluded to above, QT, in sheer numbers, Rodney sells a lot of overmatted 8x10 and 11x14 open edition (ie. non-FCA) prints. But from what I know, I don't think that's what he was referring to on his site when he said he has sold more than some of Ansel's images. He started limiting the editions to 500 because he had sold far more FCA prints of a couple of his images than he thought he ever would. Good for him.

QT, would you tell us what the gallery owner told you about limiting editions by size?

Robert Skeoch
10-Dec-2005, 06:25
"Go ahead. Post an "original" shot and I'll quote you where I've seen something just like it. So how is your canyon, sunset, macro shot, nude, pile of grapes, homeless guy, barn, old sign, sand dune, et al different than everyone else's."

Wow, you summed it up nicely. I'm glad I just shoot b&w peppers, and make them look like nudes. At least that hasn't been done before.

Great thread..
-Rob Skeoch

10-Dec-2005, 08:59
QT, I would guess that right now the most prolific of fine-art landscape photographers selling lots of original prints is Clyde Butcher. Despite the above coment that "its all been done already," his work is truly unique. Like St. Ansel his prime concerns are his art and conservation, but he is also commercially very successful, (selling his work from a gallery virtually in the middle of the Everglades swamp). May I suggest that you contact him for his views on Limited Editions.

10-Dec-2005, 09:13
you should wake up and realize that it has all been done already.

I could swear I've heard and read that before.

Many times.

Someone's running around with a rubber stamp.

Is it a mantra for mediocrity?

Richard Schlesinger
10-Dec-2005, 11:23
Fortunately Rodney lives in Happy Valley

QT Luong
10-Dec-2005, 13:08
If you limit editions by size, you can have different edition sizes per print sizes (making larger prints rarer).
Psychologically, you create the impression of more rarity (the numbers are lower), but in fact you could issue more prints (by creating a new size, although I would find the ethicallity of this debatable).

paul stimac
10-Dec-2005, 16:44
All the power to him - he's making a good living taking landscape photos.

Kirk Keyes
10-Dec-2005, 20:02
I see from his web site that he lives avout 3 miles from me, I probably drove past his house getting a Xmas tree today. Maybe I'll look him up.

By the way, Happy Valley has gotten overrun with mini-mansions in the last 10 years. I don't feel as happy when I'm there as I used to. By the way, just over the hill from Happy Valley is Pleasant Valley. I like it better there these days. At least they still grow trees in Pleasant Valley.

Guess that's all kind of off topic. Sorry.

Matt Damon
17-Dec-2012, 20:28
I really enjoy his gallery in San Francisco and while I really enjoy pieces of art that challenge me, when I hang something on the wall of my living room I would prefer it just be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and nothing more. I have enjoyed looking through some of the portfolios of the folks on this thread and you have some beautiful work. Keep shooting!

Steve Hansen
www.stevehansenphoto.com (http://www.stevehansenphoto.com)

Drew Wiley
21-Dec-2012, 11:52
Well he's obviously making serious money because when images are targeted to tourists,
it's all about location, location, location, and his galleries are in fact located exactly where
the overhead must be astronomical. I've never sold a print to a tourist in my life, so can't
really say. Editioning has long been a gallery trick to make things appear collectable. Even big name artists like Dali issued "limited ediiton" photolithographs in ten of thousands per edition. Really just posters. Kincade at least put a tiny speck of actual paint on such things. True lithographs are inherently limited because the plate or stone just wears out.
I rarely print more than two of anything. A few times I have. More interested in moving onto the next image. But someone like Rodney has to quantify favorite images if he's going
to keep going like this. It's a high-risk business niche, and if you don't play it well, you don't play at all for long!

Daniel Stone
21-Dec-2012, 12:33
Ever since I came across(well, was referred to) his photography, I've enjoyed what I've seen. He certainly has the business down to a science; multiple gallery locations across the country, and multiple "coffee table" books to his name. What I've come to(well, come to meaning he has stated on different occasions, nothing changes) realize is that he is more about showing people parts of the world that most never know are there, or getting a different vantage point than everyone else is getting. Not rocket science, just a knack for technically excellent(IMO) photography, combined with a great business in the right locations.

Whether someone is selling to 'tourists' or 'collectors'(many "collectors" I've met/read about do enjoy the pieces the have, but many have admitted to owning art as an 'investment' in their portfolios). I personally think that taking the stance of pricing it lower, so more people can enjoy your photography in their home/office/wherever is the better approach than making a limited edition of say, 3-10 prints, each subsequent print in line going up in price... Personally, I'd rather sell 10 prints at $800 each than 1 print at $8000(although if a larger size was requested, I'd happily oblige if I felt it would work). More people can enjoy your photography, and $800 is an easier number to reach financially for most than $8000.

I'm an ardent capitalist, don't get me wrong. But I do feel that "everyone benefiting"(that everyone being the end client/buyer, gallery(or if a personal gallery, your staff), and you(photographer) benefiting in the long run. The client receives a piece of art that they want to enjoy, your employees/gallery benefits from the sale through a commission, and you, the photographer benefit financially as well.

Unfortunately, most people on this rock we call home consider money the end all rewards-wise. And it seems that a growing number of us photographers(myself NOT included) see photographers selling prints for large sums of money not as 'artists', but just as evil businessmen out to suck tourists money out of their pockets by 'selling' them bullsh** lines and almost unrealistic stories, just to get a sale. Sadly some indeed do that, but not all.

I admire both Rodney Lough Jr. and Peter Lik. They've successfully tapped a market worldwide that consistently purchases their work, and this profit keeps them producing more work. Good on them!


21-Dec-2012, 13:01
Folks, this is an ancient thread.

Mr. Hansen, welcome. Since the website that you linked in your thread states that you don't use large-format cameras, are you reviving a prior interest or exploring a move into large format? Beware! It will suck you in, heh.

(We sometimes get folks posting general opinions in old threads as a means of getting a link to their web page visible to a larger market, which is something don't normally allow. So, we ask. Introduce yourself and put us at ease.)

Rick "not seeing a need to revive the original topics, however, unless there's something new to add" Denney

Drew Wiley
21-Dec-2012, 13:49
Well, Rodney's SF gallery is new. He's a member of this forum I believe, and that is a very
amibitious venture for any large format photographer. I've driven past his more modest
Sausalito gallery a number of times. Not my genre, but if I happen to be in the correct SF
neighborhood I'll peek in. The premier location marketing strategy might compare to Peter Lik and certain others. His images certainly don't. Rodney's work attempts to capture something of what he really encountered in the wild, Lik invents it on Photoshop and in
my opinion falls a few notches below black velvet Elvis rugs in terms of actual artistic worth. But pricing per these kinds of locations inherently has to be high just to cover the
overhead. Not only the gallery and its personnel, but whatever infrastructure is needed to
supply volume prints while one still finds time to travel and shoot in the first place. Think
I'll keep my day job, at least until I'm an official govt-supported bum, which will be soon