On printing "Last of the Sun" Rhosneigr, earlier this week, I suddenly and rather impulsively decided to limit this A1 edition to just TEN prints. This is the lowest edition I have ever done and follows the trend of the biggest galleries in America to severely limit editions to increase rarity. UNLIKE the USA I have not raised my prices accordingly but it is something I may have to do this year to compensate for the reduction in total revenue from any one image. The original purchaser, Mr Richard Sharp, has been informed that his edition is even more exclusive!
From now on I intend to limit most of my A1 editions to a maximum of 10 (A2s to just 20). I have been quite appalled by the number of galleries around the UK, selling editions of photographs, and indeed other copies of original artwork, in editions of 100 or more. These have included very well known painters. I have always felt these editions were a crude and shallow way of giving cheap and mass produced products some sort of 'added value' or validity in order to sell them. Logically, if you want an interesting image produced in high quantities at cheap prices then go to Ikea or Habitat amongst others, and get yourself an image from a world renowned photographer/artist at an incredibly cheap price.
Photographs of course have always been capable of mass production and limited editions are a sensible way of creating something much rarer and therefore more valuable for the customer. Conversely, when a painter reproduces an original painting as an edition, open or limited, it is ultimately nothing more than a copy of a different sort of original. It has had to be scanned or rephotographed, losing quality and originality through that process.
The photograph IS different. It HAS to be printed to take it from a negative or digital file into a form where people can view it normally. The limited edition makes most sense here. However, IS there a point where even a photograph should be reproduced as a one off original? As importantly, would a buyer be prepared to pay the sort of money required for a one-off print, (as for a painting, drawing or sculpture) to justify it's unique existence? At the moment I doubt it, so strictly limited editions are in my mind the way to go for me at least! Please feel free to comment with your own predictions on this?