Friday, April 3, 2009

Originals

One way I differ from other photographers is that I offer both "originals" and "reproductions" (sometimes called "prints"). This is common practice for painters but unusual for photographers unless of course you are adding something (in my case color) to the photographic print.

When I first started showing and selling my work, all I offered were originals. These pieces were all fiber based darkroom prints that I hand-colored with photo oil paints. They were considered "original" because each version of a particular image came out a little bit different. It was at this time that I began limiting how many times I hand-colored an image. For some reason the number I came up with was 25. I have had quite a few images sell out of the 25 originals including this one - "Sand Dunes".



It didn't take long to figure out that in order to have enough inventory for a show I would probably have to consider offering "reproductions" as well. To produce my "prints" I take a black and white photograph and hand-color it. Then this "original" is scanned and a print made using archival, pigment inks on acid free, 100% cotton paper. Depending on the size, these prints are offered in editions of no more than 250.

Recently I changed the way I make my originals by taking advantage of the technology that is available. I now process my black and white images in Photoshop and print them using the same paper and archival inks I have been using to make my reproductions. These black and white prints are still hand-colored but instead of oil paints I now use pastels. The amount of time it takes to hand-color has not changed. Creating an original from start to finish sometimes takes weeks to complete, which is why there is a fairly large price difference between a print and an original.

So while the process has changed, the end result is the same. A one of a kind, original image.

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