How it is with limited editions?
I am selling photography prints to friends, colleagues and people who saw my work at exhibitions or on eBay. Those prints are marked as numbered prints from limited edition. As I never sell my photographs before I had feeling that this is the way how it should be. But I didn’t feel really comfortable with saying that I will not print more than fifty or hundred copies of certain print. Why would I? Maybe I never get to print so many copies, maybe I just do not want and maybe, I like to make more before I get tired of that particular print.
When selling prints, I believe, it is very important to establish trusted relationship between photographer and buyer. When you limit number of prints you adding fictive value to you prints, which can be only imaginable and not real. If you are not creating limited editions, it looks like you can produced millions of prints, therefore value of one will be very low.
But, please realize, I am making this prints piece by piece myself, it take long hours after film is developed and scan to get that look which I like and I am after in certain time. I am also limited by my craftsmanship, experience and by the material I have at disposal in current moment as well as state of technology I am using. So I am not able to make thousands of prints even if I want. When I am preparing photograph for print it takes a lot of test printing to find the right look, size and other properties, which makes good print.
Once that is done and in this digital age you have print ready for the one kind of paper with one kind of ink on particular printer. This way I created print, which satisfies me, the author, in current moment. However, all these things can change (new ink, different paper,…) and you can start all over again. Therefore, I like to print small series of same print, once I come to the point when I am totally satisfied with image. After year or few, I may feel need to change something on the print. Maybe contrast, crop, size or some other changes will satisfy my mood better. I also will have different paper, ink, technology for it. This how limited editions of my own prints are created. Not artificial, but by natural way of developing my taste and technology I use.
The article explains it all.
I have read article What Size is the Edition written by Brooks Jensen and published by LensWork magazine. This article is also focused on limited editions in digital prints. He has a great idea, which I am going to follow. Instead of doing limited editions he propose to print multiple edition of the same image. This approach feels very fair to customer, it express the real life situation with making photographic prints and is the most honest one. Please read the article, it will gave you nice inside and much better explanation which I can gave you.
With a certain skills and technology (paper, developer,…) in one run you print let say 5-10 prints of the same image in one go. Those will be market as first edition of this image and will be numbered 1/10 – 10/10 of the first edition. As your skills improve or you start using different paper or technology, you are able to produced better quality of the same image. The you can make second edition. And so on as one wish you will create limited editions of your print, but you do in naturally and honestly. Each prints will be marked and signed and will carry description how and when it was made.
This way authenticity is guaranteed, print is uniquely identified and nobody limits anything even we have limited editions. Later collectors (if that happen) can search for you particular image from the fifth print edition which was made with unique paper and in very big size in only four copies.
This is how it is.
When you buy print from me, you will know exactly how and when it was made and what material was used. You will now what print number you going to buy from how much in this series as well as how many prints was done totally and what was the editions before.
I believe this is most honest and open approach for me and for you the buyer.