- by Barney Davey
I was honored to be invited for a Q & A interview with Eileen Fritsch, the editor of Great Output magazine. It is the cover story for the July/August issue. Although I primarily work with painters, I’ve lately found many photographers and convergent media artists interested in learning the nuts and bolts of the fine art print reproduction market. This feature story is an example of the growing interest in developing a following from photographers in the art print market and art marketing, primarily in the form of giclees.
Here’s the description provided on the publication’s Website:
GREAT OUTPUT is our bi-monthly printed publication for photographers who want to know more about how to print, finish, display, and sell digital images. Eileen Fritsch continues her leadership role in compiling and editing newsworthy and commentary content that has, over the last three years, earned a quality reputation and built a loyal following.
The magazine is a product of the LexJet Corporation that speciaizes in “Providing Proven Solutions for the Inkjet Printing Community.” Here’s a fuller description of LexJet’s business model: LexJet has the Application Solutions, Product Solutions and Technical Knowledge to help you grow. That is why over 20,000 professional wide format, continuous tone and inkjet printing locations around the globe have grown to know and trust the products, information and solutions that LexJet provides.
Fine art photography has always had a niche within the art business. But, in the past decade, the amount of photography sold through art print publishers, in galleries and online at sites like Art.com has grown dramatically. The public has developed a taste for photography. Like the proverbial horse you bring to water, you can bring the public photography, but you can’t make them buy it. And buy it they have as an ongoing trend.
Personally, I feel the boom in digital photography rather than water down the appetite has increased it for really good professional photography. My rationale is the easier it is to take pictures and the more sophisticated the equipment does not create fine art photography. I think the more photography the public does, the more they realize they are taking snapshots and those gorgeous shots are not just a click away.
There is no de facto body to follow this suggestion, except perhaps the PMA, which now bills itself as The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, to create an awareness campaign for the value of professional fine art photography. I think the public is in a receptive mood to discover the distinctions and talent required to create fine art photography. The problem is most such image building campaigns are enormously expensive to undertake on a national or international level. So, to be effective, a campaign would have to rely on stealth guerrilla marketing and the fact its end product is great to look at.
I know that amateur photography has taken a bite of of stock photography royalties for professional photographers. Despite that, I think a properly managed creative aggressive image campaign would help elevate professional photographers, especially those doing fine art photography in such a way to further establish the genre as desirable and collectible to the public. Somebody get right on it. This concept can be scaled down to the one person operation. Before you dismiss that notion, read Christine Kane’s blog post Business Advice for Artists and Sensitive People and pay attention to item #6 about listening to Seth Godin.