Why Photography Galleries, Curators And Collectors Like Limited Editions

March 12th, 2013 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Important Announcement: Philip Hyde Authorized Archival Prints, Largest Sizes Converted To Limited Editions

Misty Morning, Indian Creek, Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, 1983 by Philip Hyde. The original color transparency went missing and this image has not been printed or published for over 20 years. With the digital age it can again be printed. West Coast Imaging produced the new file from a scan by their Creo CCD Flatbed Scanner of a Philip Hyde original dye transfer print.

Misty Morning, Indian Creek, Northern Sierra Nevada, California, 1983 by Philip Hyde. Because the original color transparency was missing, this image has not been printed or published for over 25 years. With the digital age it can again be printed. West Coast Imaging produced the new file from a scan by their Creo CCD Flatbed Scanner of a Philip Hyde original dye transfer print. This is another Philip Hyde photograph that is close to selling 10 prints, at which point it will go up in value $100 in all sizes. Because this photograph is not available as a 32X40 print, the limited edition is only available in the 24X30 size.

(See the photograph large: “Misty Morning, Indian Creek, Northern Sierra Nevada, California.”)

After much research and deliberation, I have decided to take the advice of many photographers, photography gallery owners, collectors, museum curators, archive collection managers, appraisers, connoisseurs, critics and nearly every other established expert in the art of photography that I have spoken with: to change the largest Philip Hyde authorized archival lightjet or digital prints to limited editions of 50.

That’s right, you read correctly, from now on the two largest sizes, 24X30 and 32X40 Philip Hyde archival lightjet or digital prints will be offered in limited editions of only 50 prints from either size of each image. Not 50 24X30’s plus 50 32X40’s, but 50 prints total in either size. The remaining Philip Hyde archival print sizes: 8X10, 11X14, 16X20 and 20X24 will still be offered in an open numbered edition called the Philip Hyde authorized “Special Edition.”

In my research I found that only photographers were against limited editions and only a minority of photographers at that. One talented and prominent photographer and writer, who I agree with on many other subjects, Guy Tal, has even gone so far as to suggest that limited edition prints are unethical because he believes they manipulate the market, creating a false scarcity and an “inflated value.” His reasoning is that “manufacturing scarcity” through limiting editions goes against the goals of artists “to inspire, to share, to make accessible, to celebrate and other noble causes often associated with photography of natural things.” He proposes that “artificial scarcity” is not the same as “real scarcity.” If you read his blog post, “The Ethics of Limited Editions,” you may understand why he looks at it this way. The comments on his blog post are many and diverse. In my observation, some photographers who dislike limited editions look at it mainly from their own perspective and not that of the collector or even casual print buyer. For primarily this reason, these photographers overlook the real benefits of limited editions.

Who Brought Limited Editions To Landscape Photography?

Is it not ironic then, that it was Ansel Adams and later Galen Rowell, who did the most to popularize both landscape photography and limited editions in the genre? Some landscape photographers who do not like limited editions claim that Ansel Adams did not produce limited edition. This may be true of the prints he made himself, but his Special Edition prints made in his darkroom by an assistant and other editions were limited. Some early well-known landscape photographers also invented the now ethically questionable practice of size specific limited editions. They would offer 16X20 prints of a certain image as a limited edition of say 200. Once the edition of 200 sold out, they would then offer a limited edition of 15X18 prints of the same image. Fear and mistrust of these types of limited editions are what caused collectors to be wary of limited editions of digital prints when they were first introduced. When digital prints originally began to appear, Photography galleries and collectors believed that it was easier to make digital prints than traditional color or black and white prints. They feared that photographers would break their own self-imposed edition limits, or work around the limits by issuing different sizes or implementing some other ploy.

Certainly limited editions of 250, 500 or more than 1,000 are mirages. Print runs of this size only create the perception and carry the name of “limited editions.” They are not truly limited because few nature or landscape photographers will ever sell that many of one image out of their many prints offered.

What Photography Gallery Owners And Collectors Like

I remember a conversation I had with Terry Etherton, an esteemed photography dealer and owner of the Etherton Gallery in Tucson, Arizona. I asked his opinion whether I ought to offer my father’s photographer authorized archival digital prints in limited editions or not. I explained that the current numbered Special Edition was not a limited edition, but would be limited by its pricing structure. That is, each time 10 prints sell in each image, that image goes up $100 in all sizes. For example, we have already sold more than 10 prints of “Virginia Creeper, Northern Sierra.” It is priced at $275 for an 8X10, $425 for 11X14, $575 for 16X20 and so on rather than the regular pricing of the rest of Dad’s photographs of $175 for 8X10, $325 for 11X14, $475 for 16X20, etc. After “Virginia Creeper” has sold 100 prints, the 8X10s will sell for $1175, the 11X14s will sell for $1325, the 16X20s will be $1475 and so on. Terry Etherton said that was OK, but limited editions would be simpler. I said that if I did switch to limited editions, I would probably limit them to perhaps 75, 100 or even as much as 200. He said, “I was thinking maybe 25 or 50. Collectors want something rare.” Most of the other photography galleries whose owners I talked to concurred with Mr. Etherton.

Collectors not only like, but purposely seek out vintage prints and even modern photographs that are printed in limited editions or are rare for some other reason. Photography galleries, museum curators and archivists like limited editions too. Why? Very simply, because whenever there is less of anything valuable, the less of it there is, the more valuable it becomes. This is not “manufactured” or “artificial” and even if it were, whenever there is less quantity, regardless of the reason or the cause, there is more value. Collectors want to have the satisfaction of knowing that what they have is something unique or nearly unique. They want to pay more to obtain art that they know will not be mass-produced. It is no more complicated or psychologically involved than that.

Black And White Magazine On Digital Print Values

Lorraine Anne Davis MA, MFA, a fine art photography appraiser since 1984 and columnist for Black and White Magazine, has managed, curated or consulted with many of the world’s most significant photography collections including the Paul Strand Archive. She wrote an article in the April 2009, Issue 66 of Black and White Magazine titled, “Concerning Digital Reprints.” Her article explained that digital prints are becoming more accepted and collectible, but that “posthumous” digital reprints of an artist who mainly printed with other processes are ubiquitous, but sometimes questionable in appraisal value. Indeed, according to Davis, the intent of the artist or the print maker is what determines value. For more about her article see the Fine Art Photography Collectors Resource Blog post called, “Photography Galleries, Collectors, Appraisers And Digital Prints.”

Having learned to print from Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Minor White, my father produced his own fine art gelatin silver prints, dye transfer prints from color film and later Cibachrome color prints. He had Wally McGalliard in Los Angeles print all of his large exhibition prints using a C-print process. In 1998, master landscape photographer Carr Clifton restored two of Dad’s photographs. From then on Dad authorized Carr Clifton to print for him. Wally McGalliard retired around the same time and Carr Clifton’s new archival digital prints became the preferred printing process for Philip Hyde Photography. When Dad was making his own prints from color film, he only made 2-8 prints of each image. Thus, I no longer have many prints left of many of his most well known photographs. We expanded the line of digital prints offered mainly to Dad’s top images that have nearly or completely sold out and those that have been damaged in some way. Peter Fetterman, the number one photography dealer in Southern California, said producing any digital prints at all might confuse the market, but I imagine “the market” would rather be confused than not able to obtain any of Dad’s best photographs at all.

Are All Digital Prints Equal?

These archival lightjet or digital prints are very different from most digital prints. First of all they are made from high resolution Tango drum scans of large format 4X5, 5X7 or 8X10 color film. The resulting raw file is 800 MG to 6 Gigs in size and contains far more detail and a much wider range and depth of color than any digital camera capture today. A good analogy is why music lovers like vinyl LP records better than CDs. Analog sound is fuller, richer, more melodious and less metallic sounding because the sound curve is smooth, containing a continuous breakdown of all the sound, whereas the digital sound curve, when magnified, is a stairstep of sound with little pieces of the sound missing all along the “curve.” Tango drum Scans of large format original color film transparencies contain a much smoother color curve and much more of the colors in the continuum. Because of this, at first a drum scan comes out appearing dull in color, also due to adjusting the settings to obtain as much detail from the highlights and shadows as possible. The huge raw file must then be “developed” or “post-processed” in Photoshop by a seasoned restoration expert to most effectively match the way my father printed the image.

Carr Clifton’s expert Photoshop work is expensive and time consuming for both of us as we print a proof, change the digital file, print another proof and change the digital image again. Also, since many of Dad’s original color film transparencies and black and white film negatives are beaten up with scratches, pock marks, fading and all sorts of other damage due to age and being sent out to publishers so often, a great deal of restoration and cleanup work is necessary as each image gets printed larger and larger. The archival digital prints Carr Clifton and I have made are not considered posthumous prints because Dad authorized them eight years before his death in 2006 and two years before he lost his eyesight in 2000. Also, they are not technically even digital prints any more at all because they are now printed on a lightjet printer. The lightjet printing process does not produce the image on the paper with 11 inks the way the fine art digital printing process does, the lightjet process is actually a chromogenic or full color spectrum, photographic process whereby the paper is exposed with light much like the old darkroom printing processes. This produces a richer, even more full-spectrum color emulsion with better definition and contrast, even more like an analog vintage print. Lightjet prints are also more environmentally friendly not using toxic inks and wasting less paper and ink due to fewer printing mistakes. Some tests claim inkjet digital prints will outlast lightjet prints, but some tests claim lightjet prints will outlast digital prints. Either way, lightjet prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper when placed side-by-side with digital prints win hands down in their aesthetic appeal, print consistency and print quality.

What A Professional Appraiser, Some Photography Dealers And A Few Museum Curators Said

I contacted Lorraine Anne Davis in December 2009 and wrote that I enjoyed her informative article in Black and White Magazine. I also explained what Carr Clifton and I were doing and how we had enjoyed compliments from top photography galleries and major museums including the Oakland Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, whose head photography curators had seen the archival digital prints. I told her that I planned at some point to write about the subject and would she offer her expert opinion on what we were doing, even without seeing the prints. I explained that I wished to overcome the stigma sometimes attached to heirs making prints and be sure to bring out the archival digital prints in such a way that they would be accepted, respected, collected and go up in value.

I quote her reply in full:

I am afraid I am too busy to answer in depth. Just limit the editions and it doesn’t matter what the process is. Not any more – but collectors want to think what they have is “rare” –

You can make large editions of small prints and very limited of larger prints –

Blind stamp or holograph to protect originality –

A certificate or sticker of authenticity can be reproduced by anyone – certificates of authenticity are often issued with fakes – appraisers don’t even consider them, they are the easiest things to fake. It’s somewhat of a joke, actually – and It isn’t necessary of you keep track of the editions.

Unless your father’s work starts selling for over 100,000 per print, no one is going to make fakes –

Man Ray, Peter Beard, Hine and 19th C dags have some fakes – but Hine and Man Ray printers had the negs –and were selling very high

Sorry to be so brief

All my articles will be posted on my web site in the next weeks –

Happy Holidays – Lorraine

In my reply I of course thanked her and said, “This is quite a bit of information actually and very generous of you to advise.” Based on her guidance and much other research and conversations with people like Richard Gadd, previous Director of the Monterey Museum of Art, currently Director of the Weston Gallery in Carmel; Sandra S. Phillips, Senior Curator of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Michael and Jeanne Adams of the Ansel Adams Gallery; Hal Gould and Loretta Young-Gautier of Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver; Andrew Smith and John Boland of Santa Fe; Scott Nichols and Susan Friedwald of San Francisco; Stefan Kirkeby of Smith Andersen North in San Anselmo, California; Robert Yellowlees and Tony Casadonte of Lumiere Gallery and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; Drew Johnson Curator of Photography and Visual Culture at the Oakland Museum and many others, I have decided to make the changes mentioned above to the two largest sizes of my father’s archival lightjet and digital prints. Dad’s 24X30 and 32X40 archival lightjet and digital prints will from now on be produced in limited editions of 50 prints per image.

The Results And Bottom Line

For the remainder of this year of 2013 or whenever one image sells more than five prints, these limited edition prints from color film originals will be PRICED THE SAME AS THEY ARE NOW! That is, prints in LIMITED EDITIONS of only 50 will remain the same price until they either sell five prints or until December 31, 2013. After that they will go up an average of $200 in each size (see the chart below for details.) This represents a 15 percent savings.

Prices Now            Unmatted/Unframed                      Matted                         Matted & Framed

24X30                                      925                                    1050                                    1175

32X40                                    1175                                    1325                                    1475


Prices After            Unmatted/Unframed                     Matted                         Matted & Framed

24X30                                    1100                                    1225                                    1350

32X40                                    1300                                    1450                                    1600

For more information on Philip Hyde archival lightjet and digital prints from color film see: “About Fuji Crystal Archive Chromogenic Fine Art Prints,” as well as the blog post mentioned above called, “Photography Galleries, Collectors, Appraisers And Digital Prints.”

What do you think? Are we on the right track? Would it be wise to keep the editions the same as they are now? Print a completely open edition with no numbering? Produce the entire line of prints as limited editions?



  1. pj says:

    Interesting post David, and interesting you’ve decided to go that route.

    I tend to agree with Guy on limited editions, though I don’t necessarily agree that it’s a matter of ethics. It’s simply a personal decision.

    I have mixed feelings about getting involved with galleries and collectors and the like, even about selling prints. What I’m likely to do is to make up a boxed set of my personal favorites for each of my kids. Beyond that, I’ll make a few available through my site — if someone wants to buy one fine. If not that’s fine too. I don’t expect to make much income from it. I’ll make whatever money I make in other ways. I can live with that.

    Good luck with the editions. I’ll be curious to hear how it works out.

  2. Thank you, PJ. That’s one of the beauties of photography, there is a wide diversity in approaches and everyone does with it what they choose.

  3. QT Luong says:

    The main difference between laser chromogenic prints (Lightjet, Chromira, Durst, etc…) and inkjet prints is that color is embedded in the substrate rather than laying on the surface. This produces a very different effect that some prefer. All other claims are highly questionable.

  4. QT, that’s a strong technical explanation. Yes, I agree. Proponents of different types of printing processes all have documentation and testing that supports their preference. If you talk to Inkjet purveyors, you would think their type of prints are the best. However, it is interesting to find that Lightjet printers and fans all have “proof” that their prints last the longest and are the best too. I guess whatever your bias is determines what reading you do. What I mainly go by, considering all the conflicting evidence, is putting the two types of prints side by side under high intensity light and judging by what I see. Also, what makes Philip Hyde prints different is primarily the skill of the photographer, the quality of the original color film transparencies and the custom software used by West Coast Imaging for the Tango drum scans. That is, without discussing factors such as provenance and photographer reputation, which are probably THE most important determiners of value.

  5. Timely and interesting… I suppose that I would ask who are you trying to sell to? If your goal is to sell to collectors and curators than it sounds like you’re on the right track. If your goal is to sell to “normal” folks, then maybe not.

    It’s like when I was I grad school and had to read books/articles that were clearly only written for the author and his/her peers. The average joe could care less.

    Speaking for my own work, I’d like it to be viewed and owned by as many folks as possible. I’d rather sell 100 images at ten bucks a shot than 1 image at 1000 bucks. I think that my stuff gets better known and more recognized that way, vs having one copy in a museum’s archives somewhere that no one gets to see.

    Since a goal of my photography is to encourage people to actually get out and see/appreciate the subject(s) of my work in person, I think this way works for me and hopefully have a positive impact.

  6. Hi Derrick, I feel your approach may be best for what you are doing, but be careful. My father artificially held his print prices down for many years. This kept them more or less “reasonable” for more people to afford in the short term. However, it also may have hurt his career because some galleries had less interest in his work as time went on. Many photography galleries are most interested in work that goes up in value and becomes more highly sought after by collectors. Gallery buzz in turn tends to attract more interest from museums. Also, after Dad’s seminal book “Drylands: The Deserts of North America” came out, he tended to be exhibited more by natural sciences museums than art museums. This combination of factors and others may have decreased his long-term visibility and recognition in the art world, not irreversibly, but measurably. Even though he is most known by the masses for having helped introduce color to landscape photography, it was during the era when he was printing mainly darkroom silver gelatin black and white prints that he had the most exhibitions in major museums and most exposure, often side-by-side with the greatest names in photography such as Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and others. Having Minor White curate several major one man shows during that era had an impact, as did having Ansel Adams recommend his work to the art establishment in the East and to President Gerald Ford. It was during that time that he was in the Smithsonian and acquired by Eastman House for their permanent collection. If we were not working now to sell his dye transfer and Cibachrome color prints to more major museums and get those who already have his photographs to bring them out and show them, his work might easily be all but forgotten in a generation or two and be seen by far fewer people in the long term.

    The sad reality of fine art prints, if they are truly fine art quality, is that they are not within reach of the poor, or even “average” people, though our archival lightjet and digital prints certainly are to the latter. My father used to sell high quality posters to his friends who couldn’t afford his prints, rather than trying to devalue and cheapen his prints to the point where they had mass appeal. Be careful how much you discount and offer cut rate prints. This practice has become quite widespread today, especially online, but this has devalued all art and all but destroyed the quality, obliterated any potential provenance or value of any of the mass marketed “prints” and had the side effect of making it hard for anyone to make a living selling prints. When there are fewer full-time artists in any field, the art in that field suffers. It’s certainly just fine for you to have the goal to have your work go out to as many people as possible, but selling unsigned prints in mass quantities through online discount art brokers will not build your name as an artist. It will lead to you being forgotten and lost in the masses of other “photographers” who do the same type of marketing. Besides, if there is no provenance, identification or signature on your prints, they will end up in landfills and yardsales rather than being carefully passed down to heirs. If heirs do end up with them, nobody will have any idea who the photographer is, nor will they have any reason to care. Some photographers could care less about any of this and that’s fine if they don’t, but the long term is worth considering if you truly do want your work to be seen and appreciated in perpetuity.

  7. QT Luong says:

    The idea that selling open-edition prints will help one’s work getting more seen is a fallacy. Everything else (incl. price) being the same, the limited edition prints will sell better, therefore actually yielding more visibility. In any case, the distribution of even a best-selling print is negligible unless the print is exhibited in high-profile venues – which, as David has discussed, prefer limited edition prints. Of course, even such venues cannot compete with printed or electronic media in terms of exposure.

  8. Thanks for stopping by again, QT. Those are good points. I hadn’t thought of explaining it that way before.

  9. Chris Brown says:

    This may not apply to your situation, in regards to Inkjet vs. Lightjet
    prints: Phil always used to say that a photographer was not a true artist unless he made his own prints. Since the lightjet print is made with a large and expensive processor, mostly found only in commercial labs, most working photographers use inkjet printers, because of it’s more reasonable cost, and they are then fully making their own prints.

    Some people have said that glossy Cibachromes and matte injket prints look different, which they do. But under glass they are almost impossible to tell apart, if both were printed well. I imagine the same might be true with lightjet and inkjet prints.

  10. Hi Chris, great to hear from one of Dad’s old friends. I appreciate your input. I also remember Dad encouraging photographers who didn’t make their own prints to do so. Notice though that he did not say they had to make “all” of their own prints. He had printers that made prints for him for various purposes throughout his career, though he made by far the majority of his own prints. Those that he had made by others were usually for some unusual project or use. There are very few of them left. Most of those I have now, my father made himself. As mentioned above, or in the post about digital prints and their value on Fine Art Photography Collector’s Resource Blog as linked to above, he did have Wally McGalliard make some exhibition prints for him beginning in the late 1980s, a practice that increased as he grew older. By the time he had Carr Clifton start making prints in 1998, he was no longer making Cibachrome color prints, but he was still printing up a storm in the darkroom, until his eyesight faded too dark to see well in the safelights. I remember him one time asking me to be his eyes for him while we tried to print some black and white prints, but I didn’t really know what he was looking for. He had such fine-tuned sensibilities and I couldn’t be a very good translator or “be his eyes for him,” as he put it. It’s sad. I wish it had worked out.

    From a museum curatorial and archival standpoint, as I’m sure you know, but for benefit of readers, as long as the photographer is overseeing the process and signing the prints, they are considered his creation, even if someone else or a machine is doing the actual printing. In our case, we are not claiming the lightjet or digital prints are “original” prints, merely photographer authorized prints.

    In my experience the differences between inkjet and lightjet are subtle. You have to look fairly closely to notice the richer tones, greater luminosity and more even color consistency of the lightjet prints. I am not sure if I could tell the difference under glass or plexiglass. I’ve never tried. I can definitely tell the difference between any of the three of Dad’s dye transfer, Cibachrome or digital prints under glass or not, but I doubt anyone else could without looking at them as much as I have.

  11. Tom Andrews says:

    Hi David,
    All this sounds like a reasonable decision. Mostly a marketing decision, based on the perceived desires of future collectors of the works of a famous artist.

    In Europe some photographers have even taken to printing only in editions of 1, 2 or 3 prints. Now that’s extreme!

    I do have a comment about the archivalness of lightjet versus inkjet prints. Mostly it’s to urge you not to dismiss the distinction by saying some say one thing and others say something else. In my experience many collectors care very much about the archivalness of their art purchases. I think you should research the situation as thoroughly as possible and use the results to inform your printing decisions as well as informing your customers. Your father’s work has been a great inspiration to me for decades. Thanks for keeping it alive! Tom

  12. Hi Tom, glad to hear from you. Been a while since I met you in Boulder at your Mercury Framing group show with Chris Brown. Your work is very fine too. I can see that you’ve had some good influences. Thanks for the suggestion to be diligent about researching the inkjet versus lightjet question. You don’t know me or how hard I work to make sure Dad’s work is represented well, but believe me, I have seen a lot of the research not just listened to hearsay. Most of those who made claims on either side of it have shown me the research they base the claims on. I’ve also been a student of the photographic methods and process for close to 10 years because of my interactions with the University of California Santa Cruz Special Collections and their care or lack thereof of my father’s large format film transparencies and negatives. I have Henry Wilhelm’s book, but admittedly have not read it, understand that he has those who disagree with him and have researched some of that as well. After doing all that research and more, I must say that it still boils down to six of one, half dozen of the other and your own personal preference. Many of the claims on all sides of these sort of comparisons can be questioned if they are scrutinized enough.

    When I have the opportunity to acquire my own printer for my own studio, I may decide to switch back to inkjet, but for now, I like the lightjet prints better. They just look better to me. I find that getting into great detail about these issues with print buyers, unless they are the technical types or ask for a lot of detail, only confuses them. I already overload them with more information than they can take in most cases. As I start to work with more serious collectors in regard to the digital prints, I will probably find I need to supply more information, so your suggestion is certainly a valid and important one. At the same time, most of the serious collectors want Dad’s original hand made prints and often will only discuss the digital prints in theory, not with any real interest. I believe the decision described in this blog post will begin to shift this dynamic, as will getting the word out as to the fact that we are offering mainly the images that are sold out or that were damaged and in some cases never printed by Dad.

    One point that collectors seem to understand is that there was about a 10 year window when the top professional photographers were still photographing with large format cameras, drum scanning their film and then printing with digital technology. Because of the infinitely greater control of the digital printing process and the detail possible in the prints, I contend that the prints made during that era are the best prints ever made in the history of photography. Of course there are still a few photographers left who continue to photograph with film cameras and print with digital printers. These prints are better technically than any prints ever made by ANY other process, as long as meticulous care is taken all along the way to maintain excellence in quality and technology. Thanks for being a fan of Philip Hyde.

  13. Richard Wong says:

    Great writeup and discussion, David.

    I think it was Guy Tal that once said that all artist prints are of a finite edition because everyone dies at some point. (paraphrasing here) From reading this, it seems like your dad’s situation is an example of this. Prints he made during his lifetime have now either been sold or destroyed. There’s simply no more available.

    If someone is going to create a “limited edition” by choosing a number (as opposed to death), then it should be small (25 or less, perhaps 2 if you want to be extreme about it) otherwise it’s fool’s gold. 999 prints no matter how someone sells it is still mass-produced art.


  14. Richard Wong says:

    And to clarify, 999 prints is fine too. I’d be more than glad to sell that many prints but I wouldn’t lie about how much “value” they have. I shoot wall decor let’s be honest.


  15. Amen to both of your comments, Richard. Even 50 might be a lot for a limited edition, but we already have printed over 20 of the “Virginia Creeper, Northern Sierra” out there, not all sold, only about 12 sold. It has only been 15 years since Fine Print Imaging made what we’re calling Print #1 of the archival digital prints. The reason we are calling that 24X30 Print #1 is that Dad signed it. Print #2 was a 32X40 demo print made by West Coast Imaging. From Print #3 on Carr Clifton printed the “Virginia Creeper.” It’s only been about five years since then. We are still not even seriously geared up for selling them yet even now. See this blog post for more on the ins and outs of the Virginia Creeper color prints and how the archival lightjet & digital prints go up in value each time 10 sell: https://landscapephotographyblogger.com/sold-10th-virginia-creeper-digital-print/ See also the blog post on Fine Art Photography Collector’s Resource linked to above for more about valuing digital prints and how our archival lightjet and digital prints go up in price. There are other images that will most certainly sell out of their editions of 50 fairly quickly once we get going. “Misty Morning, Indian Creek” is close to selling 10 already, as are “Cathedral In The Desert,” “Hyde’s Wall,” “Stormlight, Canyon De Chelly” and others are well on their way. Of course those are in the smaller sizes. We have only sold two of the large sizes of “Virginia Creeper” and none of the others so far. This limited edition announcement will most probably change that. Ms. Davis gave us the guidelines if we want our digital prints to have collector value.

  16. Richard Wong says:

    Virginia Creeper is a beauty. Well-deserved! It immediately caught my eye during the SMCC show you had a few years ago.

  17. Thanks for returning again Richard and I’ll take the compliment for Dad on the “Virginia Creeper.” It is a departure from his usual wilderness landscape photography, but it is a great example of color, maybe one of the all-time greatest works of color photography ever. It ought to be more widely known, and will be. I believe there are still some major, or perhaps not so major museums, like the Milwaukee Art Museum, who haven’t heard of a Western landscape photographer like Dad.

  18. Great post David. I remember Guy’s post also and I think the two present good arguments on both sides of the issue. I have not given this much thought as at my present point in time I am thrilled to sell even one image to anyone willing to part with their money. So, for me, my editions are limited by interest rather than demand. 🙂
    But I think you make some strong arguments for someone in your position.

  19. Thanks, Steve. You hit the nail on the head. Everyone must to do what is best for his or her own situation and not judge others for it. I wrote Guy recently that his use of the word “ethics” implies that those producing limited editions are doing something unethical, when in fact they are responding to collector demand. He replied, “Ethics is simply a term for the philosophical framework each of us uses to make choices. Anything we do by choice rather than necessity is a matter of ethics. And, much as some people would like to believe otherwise, there is no such thing as a universal ethic.”

  20. Hugh Sakols says:

    I have a number of limited editions. They are many of my early prints using first an Epson 1280 printer. Some of these prints turned out quite nicely, however, due to my own stupidity, the files have been deleted. I’m not rescanning until I”m retired. This has been an interesting read.

  21. Hello Hugh, I appreciate you reading it. Your editions are definitely limited until you can rescan. Oh well, it seems to me you have quite a few great images and more coming all the time. Just stay away from large bears and avalanches in the backcountry high Sierra and we will all enjoy seeing more. See Hugh Sakol’s delightful guest blog post here: https://landscapephotographyblogger.com/tuolumne-meadows-parsons-lodge-caretakers-hugh-sakols-and-mara-dale/

  22. Great post David…..It is really very good article.

  23. Thank you, Avantika. I appreciate you reading it.

  24. Rama says:

    Hey David I wanted to know what you think of limiting by time instead of number of prints. For example, once an image is release prints would be available for 12 months (or whatever fixed period of time you choose), at the and of this time period prints of that image are no longer made. Personally I am leaning towards going this route so I am curious as to what your thoughts on that would be.

  25. Hi Rama, I believe it has been done that way, if only in part in most cases. Just as we do with New Releases, some photographers start off a photograph at a certain introductory price for a limited time and then shift to the regular value. The challenge with limited edition prints is the significant amount of extra paperwork and record keeping required. With your approach, it may be hard to pin down the ideal time limit because it is difficult to know ahead of time how fast any given image will sell as prints. Also, every one of your photographs will sell at different rates. This means that you will end up possibly having different limits for different photographs, which could become a nightmare for record keeping. Best wishes, however you decide to do it.

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