Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Distance Between the Photographer and the Collector


Todd Walker said...

This seems to primarily capture things as the were, or are, rather than where we're going. The "blogs" on this diagram I'd assume refers to non-photographer, non-collector run blogs. What about when photographers blog directly? Alec Soth was probably one of the first to take this route, though he was primarily talking to other photographers. Amy Stein and Simon Roberts come to mind and current folks doing this, though, again, their audience seems to be mostly other photographers. But it does provide a more direct route for collectors and photographers to interact. Seeing more photographers offering prints directly through their sites, for instance, as source of funding traditional galleryshows.

Gabriel Benaim said...

I think a lot of photographers are trying to figure out this new playing field, and nobody really knows what will eventually emerge. It's not clear how useful the new media are for moving a photographer from the web to the gallery, especially when one considers opportunity costs of time spent on them. One role blogs can certainly play is to redefine the relationship between photographer and collector (so far I know only of DLK on the collectors' side), by creating a direct link between them. It may be that the web will eventually change how we think of a gallery, by emphasizing its role as a curator/venture capitalist. I'm thinking in particular of hybrid galleries, such as Michael Mazzeo recently put together. The exhibit is online, the brick and mortar store holds the actual prints but need not have a show hanging, and most importantly, collectors have the confidence to buy because of the gallery's imprimatur. Once the quality gets good enough, one can imagine print-on-demand galleries having relatively little physical inventory, yet retaining their curatorial and VC role.

bryanF. said...

Good points Gabriel.

Another thing we need to consider is the idea of who is a collector. As 20x200 as demonstrated there is an appetite for affordable prints. Yet, I get the feeling that most photographers are still hustling to get the attention of the big money collectors.

I believe there's a much brighter future for photographers if they hustle after the micro collectors and attempt to build a community rather than commodities. I'd much rather see my work in the hands of people who connect with me and my way of seeing than in the hands of people who are speculating on the future price my work might attract.

dlkcollection said...

All good points, and all from the perspective of the emerging photographer I think.

One of the ideas worth thinking about is how the relationship with collectors of all kinds changes as a photographer becomes more established. I would offer that I think the more experimental, free wheeling interactions (direct website sales, low cost prints, blogs, etc.) tend to get eliminated by the current system, so that as you move up the food chain as an artist, the interactions with the outside world get more controlled and managed; like any product, it gets packaged and tries to stay on message.

Collectors therefore need to be able to wade through the marketing and find our way back to the art itself and how it moves us, which is often harder than you might think, especially when we've been told repeatedly how we're supposed to see the work by a variety of external sources we admire and respect.