Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Owning Photographs

Most of my enjoyment of photographs, other than my own work, has been through books. Like many photographers, I love books of photographs and own quite a few of them. More recently, however, I was thinking that , given my love of photography, it is somewhat absurd that I don't actually own anyone's prints other than my own. I felt that I should not only produce my own artwork, but also own and appreciate other's work. I also thought there would be something special about being able to hold the actual artifact, the actual photograph, and thus be able to directly see how the artist wished to have his vision conveyed to the viewer.

"Collectible" carries with it a sense of stuffiness and, more importantly, a high price tag. Worse than that, if something is extremely expensive one tends to be nervous about 'using' it and tends to distance themself from it....white gloves and all. In addition, when one talks about collectible photographs or artwork they are often talking about purchasing it not only (or perhaps not even primarily) for enjoyment, but also for its potential appreciation in value.

With my decision to purchase photographs I wanted to dispense with all the above issues. Specifically, this is what I was looking for:

1) The price had to be what I consider reasonable so that an occasional outlay would not leave me thinking and worrying about whether I had made a wise purchase. That price might well be different for others, but for me it was in the $20-40 per image range, with the knowledge that I would be purchasing smaller prints at this price. However, smaller is exactly what I had in mind for this venue....something that I could take out from time to time and appreciate without necessarily hanging it on my wall as a large print. I wanted to be able to handle the print.

2) Images that 'speak to me' without concern for price appreciation.

3) At this price point, I knew that I would be acquiring inkjet, as opposed to gelatin silver, prints. However, given the well-known advances in inkjet technology over the last several years this is not something that was particularly concerning to me. In fact, this is something that is likely to be most meaningful to those who are collecting with an eye toards price appreciation. That is not to say that some people might not prefer the aesthetics of gelatin silver, just that the quality of inkjet prints are at least as good, even if the aesthetic might be different.

So where does one go to find photographs that fit these qualifications? Let me suggest three starting points. First, and this is what recently got me interested in acquiring photographs, check out the new LensWork Special Editions Folios. The ones already offered are marvelous and there are sure to be many more offered in the future. Second, and I discovered this from the Thoughts On Photography podcast that I wrote about in my last post, check out the 20x200 gallery which offers 8x10 prints for $20. Thirdly, look at the websites of some of the photographers that you interact with on internet forums and blogs. Some offer small prints at very reasonable prices. In addition, I also wonder about the possibility of print exchanges with other photographers.

All of this has had me rethinking my own print pricing structure, but more on that in my next post.