Thursday, August 20, 2009

Course: In Focus @Catherine Edelman

While we've been collecting for quite a few years now, it wasn't so long ago that I have forgotten what it was like when we made our first purchases. I remember the process to be a heady mix of excitement and uncertainty, with a strong undercurrent of trying not to make a mistake; the truth is, it's still a little like that.

Many gallery owners, especially in this environment, seem fixated on how to attract entry level and new collectors. Surprisingly, they often think that low prices and "deals" will make all the difference. While price certainly matters, I think this strategy is generally misguided. What collectors need, especially new and inexperienced ones, is information and education to settle their nerves. Only when a buyer feels comfortable will his/her wallet open.

I was therefore pleased to hear about a new set of lectures being put on this fall by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago (here). For $100 (and if you're not willing to invest $100 in your photography education you have no business calling yourself a collector), the In Focus series (here) takes place on four Saturday mornings and covers a wide range of practical topics, with input from the gallery staff and outside experts (collectors, critics, professors, etc.). Even as an experienced collector, if I lived in Chicago, I'd be tempted to attend these discussions, mostly to hear how Edelman and the others view the current market and its opportunities. And of course, we never get tired to talking about photography.

The trick is of course to get people to show up. So Chicagoland readers, make an effort to support this lecture series, as it's the kind of thing we need to see more of. And for New York area galleries, this is a great example of a low cost/low impact way to invest in your client base to build sales down the road.

2 comments:

dlkcollection said...

I have received a few emails overnight pointing out the inherent conflict of a gallery providing this type of course, and asking about the potential bias that could occur. My view is that it is almost certain that at some point in the course, the gallery stable will be used to illustrate various points or be introduced as examples of certain kinds of work. I'd like to think the folks at the gallery are smart enought to understand that if the salesmanship is too overt, people will be turned off and their credibility will be damaged; it can't be an infomerical for their artists. As such, I think there will of course be some subtle sales messages included, but collectors should be savvy enough to see it coming, and still gather meaningful value from the larger education provided by the course. And if along the way, a collector is introduced to an artist that the gallery represents that they have an affinity for, everyone wins. Like anything, collectors need to have a normal dose of skepticism for what they hear, whatever the source.

retoque fotografico said...

This article reminds me a bit of the book "Electroboy". I am not saying that you are as irresponsible as he was though!