Fine art photography prints are the new kids on the block when it comes to art prints. Fine art is usually thought to refer to a visual creation produced specifically for its expressive or aesthetic value. This is often distinguished from a craft whose product has a utilitarian purpose as well. In traditional printmaking, the artist creates a composition on another surface (like wood, linoleum, metal plates, etc), inks are applied to those surfaces and then pressed by machine or hand onto paper. The number of impressions made is the edition for the print. Explore the collection of fine art photography prints by Allan Bruce Zee.
With traditional original photographic prints, a composition is made on a negative or slide or digital file and then transferred onto a photosensitive paper resulting in a print. Original inkjet prints or Giclée prints (from the French verb "gicler" meaning "to spray") involve digital files or digital scans of negatives or slides instructing nozzles where to spray inks or pigments on non-photosensitive papers.
What is an Edition?
The number of times an image is printed (either all at once or over time) is the edition. If the artist chooses to print just one piece, the original is a one of a kind. If the artist chooses to print more than one, there are multiple originals.
What is a Reproduction?
A reproduction involves taking an original piece of art and photographing or scanning it digitally and transferring that image to paper via inks or pigments, often using a lithographic printing or inkjet process. Posters are produced in this manner.
What are Limited and Numbered Editions?
Editions may be limited or unlimited and may be numbered or unnumbered at the discretion of the artist. While it is often thought that limiting editions makes the print more valuable this is not necessarily true. Many of the most well known photographers (including Ansel Adams) do not limit their editions and their prints are still extremely valuable. Since it is very costly to produce an entire edition of photographs (say 200) without knowing if even one will sell, most photographers will print to order or in smaller batches once the popularity of an image is ascertained. This also means that the interpretation of how an image is printed will most likely change over time as the photographer lives with the image. Therefore, not every print will look exactly the same. Some photographers choose to number their prints according to the order in which they are printed. These can be numbered limited editions (such as 15/100 indicating that was the 15th print of that image out of a total of 100 that will be printed of either an image or of a size of an image or of a size and paper type of an image) or they can be numbered unlimited (or open) editions (such as #15, indicating this is the 15th time the image has been printed out of an undetermined total).
More often than not, editions are self-limiting. While a maximum that a photographer will elect to print may be chosen, it is often a very small number of any given image that is actually produced. Of the over 2000 images that I have printed, I have sold 25 or more of only 85.
For me, the ultimate value of the print is the appreciation that the viewer has of the image and the emotional rewards it affords.
- Allan Bruce Zee