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Tuesday, 17 September 2013


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It's generally called a Timed Release. Quite common in the art reproduction (aka Giclee) market.

Can be quite an effective sales technique, and indeed a good balance between accessibility whilst still having some element of a limit and exclusivity.

The largest print run we've done at Image Science for anyone after one of these was 846 prints (sold in 12 hours)....but more commonly we see people achieving in the 50 - 150 sort of range with these.

With all due respect, what it shows is just how ludicrous editions are the - unless the photographers are burning their negatives and/or harddrives. It's an example of trying to have their cake and eat it too...

[I don't think so. In this case it's just that no more of these prints are going to be made after the sale's over. That's really all. --Mike]

Not to be a PITA, but wasn't that the method Franklin Mint used for their "limited editions"?

It's actually more complicated than that. It's a semi-half limited edition. The print of the two images on the same sheet is limited to the number sold through Friday. John Paul says that his image will never be printed and sold again, but his father's picture has been sold in the past and may again be sold in the future.

Mike, the idea of editions emerges from the days of lithography. When a print run was completed, the stone was broken. With other media, be it a stone, film, or some digital equivalent, I don't understand the concept except to raise the monetary value of the work. A low supply means high demand and higher prices that primarily serve the wealthy and the few artists who break into the fine art market. Thus, editions are simply a mechanism for money. But for any other perspective, there is no logical reason to make one's work editioned. It makes even less sense with the plethora ofsdigital copies meandering around the Web. So, unless father & son plan to purge all the original template, as with a lithograph, I consider editions, at a minimum, awkward. Perhaps I'll feel different if I ever get into the fine art racket.

Currently taking starting bids for editioned artwork: $10,000.

I don't really see how this differs philosophically from the limited editions you've criticised in the past Mike. And aren't the photographers doing themselves a disservice anyway?

I can't imagine that the number of buyers on TOP will be inflated much by the knowledge that this is the only printing so aren't they only hurting themselves down the line?

Maybe they aren't, I don't know. And of course it's their choice.

We actually once bought a set of dining table and chairs that way. On the occasion of the designer's 100th birthday, a "limited" edition of a classic design was brought back into production and sold for about three moths. I assume that they were also made to order.

I agree that it is a nice compromise - also keeping in mind the interesting discussions on limited editions that you have initiated over time here on TOP.

Seems like a combination of good value plus common sense to me. No-one misses out and nothing is wasted.

Here's what Henri Cartier-Bresson had to say about limited edition photographic prints back in 1972, during a taped conversation with Sheila Turner-Seed for her "Images of Man" series of interviews for Scholastic Publishing and the Fund for Concerned Photography (now the International Center of Photography):

"Why do photographers start giving numbers to their prints? It’s absurd. What do you do when the 20th print has been done? Do you swallow the negative? Do you shoot yourself? It’s the gimmick of money.

"I think a print should be signed. That means a photographer recognizes that the print has been done either by him or according to his own standards. But a print is not like an etching, where the plate wears out. A negative doesn’t wear out."

This was said long before digital, of course...

-- Jim Hughes


I have a Paul Caponigro print and am interested in selling it. It's one of what must be his Stonehenge series and measures about 9x13. It's signed, matted, and framed. How would I go about selling it?

If you don't have time to answer such a question, I can totally understand. I do enjoy your blog, I check it every day. In fact I was a happy subscriber to the 37th frame, so we go way back! And also a subscriber to, what was it?, Darkroom Techniques?


[Hi Paul, There's no clear and easy venue for owners of single collectible prints to "sell them on" so to speak. I'd check the AIPAD website and contact some of the member galleries for advice. Maybe one of them would take it on consignment? --Mike]

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