Publishing entrepreneurs Taj Forer and Michael Itkoff, founders of the art photography publishing brand Daylight Books, have launched a subcompact digital publishing platform, Daylight.
Together with serial tech entrepreneurs Lee Buck and Peter Bourne, the founders of Daylight aim to bridge the gap between the world of fine art and a rapidly growing mainstream audience of art enthusiasts. Their goal for the platform is to make it easy to discover, be inspired by, and share the most compelling contemporary art of our time.
The founders describe Daylight as “the intersection between subcompact digital publishing, the timeless tradition of art as human storytelling, and a new generation of digitally enabled consumers.” They Daylight users to experience a truly immersive platform for art exploration and discovery.
Regular editions feature high quality contemporary artwork accompanied by interviews or short essays. Daylight’s minimalist user-interface design and full-screen images allow users to pause in an elegant digital environment that can be compared to that of the world’s top museums and gallery spaces.
Daylight’s first series of curated editions highlight many of the rising stars of art and photography including 2013 Guggenheim Fellow and preeminent American photographer, Alec Soth.
Soth’s exclusive edition (Orlando) appears alongside editions from Cristina de Middel (The Afronauts), Jess Dugan (Every Breath We Drew), Roger Ballen (Lines, Markings and Drawings), Jacqueline Hassink (Arab Domains) and the “Polaroid Kidd” himself, Mike Brodie (A Period of Juvenile Prosperity).
“Daylight is bringing fresh, powerful content with high relevance to a whole new audience. The art has context and meaning, and the presentation in the app and online are beautiful. They’ve got true art credibility and a social community approach that make for an enormous growth combination” said Rob Solomon, Venture Partner at Accel Partners and former President & COO at Groupon.
“We believe the timeless tradition of art as storytelling is vital to the human experience,” said Taj Forer. “For years, my co-founder Michael Itkoff and I have sought to deepen Daylight Books readers’ connection to the world through innovative presentation of curated art and photography. However, print media’s limitations are mounting while digital audiences are growing. That said, most digital content is consumed like potato chips. With Daylight, we are providing digital audiences with the inspiring, compelling art content that they are hungry for. We strive to give audiences reason to take pause with the art, artists and moreover, join the conversation.”
“Selling Fine Art Photography” is the focus of a free educational resource guide from PhotoShelter. The guide’s authors acknowledge that there doesn’t seem to be a single ‘how-to’ formula for selling photography as fine art. But when they asked art-world experts for tips and profiled photographers who are succeeding in the fine-art world, there do seem to be some steps that might increase your odds of success. A lot of the advice focuses on making the best possible work, then focusing on building relationships with people who respond to it.
Part 1 of this guide includes:
Six tips to get non-profit galleries to feature your work
Six tips to get your work featured online
Insights from the owner of fine-art printing business
Part 2 profiles seven photographers who have found their way into the fine art world.
Jimmy Williams talks about building a reputation by starting local
Greg Marinovich suggests sharing the stories behind your images
Brooke Shaden explains why passion is the secret to getting 244,000 Facebook followers
James Bouret discusses marketing tactics that can help your work get noticed
Pete Carroll emphasizes the need to strive for the best-quality print
Matt Suess describes ways to connect with potential buyers
Bess Greenberg talks why she founded the 25CPW gallery
“Understand what makes you unique, what story you have to tell, and then refine your skills to try and communicate the message in the clearest way possible,” says Shaden.
In her essay about working with non-profit galleries, Hannah Glasgow of The Center for Fine Art Photography advises photographers to “Be bold and true to yourself” and make work that matters to you.
Some of the more seasoned photographers observed that gallerists and collectors are interested in images with historical value or themes that stand the test of time.
In other words: It’s impossible to know if that young musician you are photographing today will turn out to be the next Jimi Hendrix or Elvis Presley. So always do you best work and keep good archives.
The guide on “Selling FIne-Art Photography” is part of a collection of free, educational guides that PhotoShelter has developed to help professional photographers and aspiring pros take a more strategic and focused approach to selling their images. Other guides in the PhotoShelter Library offer tips related to sell more sports photography, event photography, portrait photography, wedding photography, and corporate and industrial photography.
With more than 80,000 clients, PhotoShelter is a worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites and sales and marketing tools for photographers.
CapturedGlobal.com is a new online gallery that sells fine photography from renowned international photographers working across all genres.
The gallery was started by Peter Johnson, who has been collecting art for 35 years. Instead of the multiple-size, multiple-edition, multiple-price model used by some online fine-art photography galleries, Captured Global respects the creative goals of each photographer by printing each image only at the size the photographer requests.
As a photographer who aspires to the level of talent of the artists he represents, Johnson understands that envisioning the size of a final print is actually part of a photographer’s creative process. Just like any other artist, a photographer starts with an idea in their mind’s eye of how a certain picture should be presented.
Photographers can choose to have their works reproduced in (1) an open edition; (2) a limited edition of 2 to 10 prints; or (3) an edition of one. Johnson believes this “Open-Ten-One” model gives photographers more control over their work in the marketplace, provides a platform from which photographers can build a fan base, and more closely aligns the collecting of photography with the rest of contemporary art.
“For many artists, it’s difficult to break into the gallery scene. For every one photographer picked up by a gallery, there are hundreds of others producing extraordinary, collectible pieces,” says Johnson. “So we present a very intriguing option to the typically higher-priced, limited editions that galleries establish in an effort to create and control demand.”
Open vs. Limited Editions
An open edition means that there won’t be a predetermined limit on how many images will be published. Rather, the images will only be available for a limited period of time. Open editions offered at reasonable prices can help photographers build a fan base of collectors-a critical mass of people who love the work, says Johnson.
He disagrees with those who question the merits of open editions. As a collector of fine photography himself, he says he never once thought: “Oh, I love that piece because there are only five of them in the world.”
“When you think about it, it shouldn’t matter how many prints are in circulation, because you should be buying work because you love it and will enjoy it every day,” Johnson explains. “While limited editions were created as a means to establish urgency and ‘future value,’ the strategy only works if the edition sells out and returns as a resale on the secondary market.” On the web, you can find limited editions that haven’t yet sold out even after 10, 20, or 30 years.
“Famous photographers such as Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Julius Shulman offered images as open editions, many of which hold tremendous monetary value today,” says Johnson. “At Captured Global, the images, the artists, and their stories are our centerpiece, and we deliver great value for nearly anyone’s pocketbook.”
“Our open/ten/one strategy helps our artists establish ‘real value’ for their work,” says Johnson. Once open editions have helped a photographer build a good, strong following, “We’ll work them on offering a limited-edition image (no more than 10) at a higher price. Then, as their reputation grows and their work becomes more sought after, we may offer an edition of one, creating real value and demand for a singular, exceptional image.”
Participation by Invitation Only
Johnson digs deep to find intelligent and culturally relevant work worthy of private and public collections. Each of the 18 photographers whose work is currently shown on CapturedGlobal.com has been invited to participate. These selected artists have been asked to invite others whose work they admire.
“This unique curatorial process ensures highly reputable work and lineage of talent,” explains Johnson. “Collectors will find the work of young, emerging photographers side by side with established masters whose work is found in private and public collections around the world, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Museum, the Scottish Museum, and the National Gallery in Prague.”
“At Captured Global, we’re all about getting as many images as possible into the hands of as many collectors as possible,” says Johnson. “It’s a win-win for both artists and collectors.”
PHOTOGRAPHERS. Publishing photo books can be a wonderful way to show your work to more people. As HP Pro Photography blogger Wayne Cosshall observes: “Compared to exhibition prints, photo books are readily usable, inexpensive, and can be widely distributed.” In terms of the type of photo book you might want to produce, you have more options than ever.
If your goal is to present your art to specific audiences, or to show your photographs in a finely crafted book, check out the independent-publishing services that the A&I Books division of A&I Studios in Hollywood, California offers in partnership with Great Circle Books.
The publishing experts at the boutique publishing imprint Great Circle Books can provide whatever level of support you might need to help set your book apart from most self-published books. Their goal is to help you maximize the value and impact of your print-on-demand book.
“Our publishing services could include anything from very basic proofing all the way up to advice on how to market and publicize the book,” explains Rex Weiner, editor-in-chief at Great Circle Books and head of publishing for A&I Books. You can get the benefit of designers, experienced editors, an all of the auxiliary services that contribute to the success of a traditionally published book.” As an independent publisher, you retain the copyright and full control over the contents and look of your finished book.
Specific services include:
Conceptual strategy to help focus your theme and explore marketing opportunities and publicity potential.
Image selection and sequencing to show your work to its best advantage.
Copy editing of your biography, introduction, and captions.
Editorial writing of bios or opening essays that talk about the aesthetics of your work or place it in historical context.
Proofreading to avoid misspellings, dropped words, or incorrect cross-references.
ISBN-number-registration for commercial distribution of your work to bookstores or libraries.
You can choose an ISBN number registration that identifies your publisher as A&I Books, Great Circle Books, or your own imprint.
A&I’s indie publishing services start with a free half-hour consultation, so you can consider ideas that might not have occurred to you. Some recommendations will depend on what you are trying to achieve with the book.
Weiner says some photographers use print-on-demand publishing to create a prototype book that can help them land a deal with a mainstream publisher. Others choose to produce 32-page softcover gallery exhibition books to fill the middle ground between a show catalog and coffeetable book.
“Some photographers and artists produce higher quantities of softcover books for sale to consumers, and limited-edition hardcover books that can be numbered, signed, and sold as collectible items,” says Weiner.
One benefit of print-on-demand book publishing is that the first book can be used as a proof book. Take it home, pass it around, let others make suggestions, then return to A&I Studios. After you make the suggested adjustments, you can then make multiple copies as needed.
Like many photo labs and commercial printing services, A&I Studios use HP Indigo digital presses to produce the photo books. But A&I takes pride in doing all of their printing and most of their bookbinding in house.
“A&I customers know that when they return for additional copies of a book, they can expect the quality to be consistent from one book to the next,” explains Weiner. This may not always be the case with photo-book publishers who outsource their printing and binding to different suppliers.
A&I can also help you design and produce custom books with case binding, fine-finished covers in a variety of leathers and materials, saddle stitching, foil stamping, or embossing and debossing, and other effects. Custom books are available in sizes up to 11 x 17 inches.
Legacy Photo Lab
Another thing that differentiates A&I Studios from other photo-book publishers is their long history of working with photographers.
“We’re a legacy photo lab. We come from the world of photography. We don’t regard ourselves as just another print shop,” says Weiner. “When we do a photography book, we look at it from the point of view of photographers. Our fearless leader Baret Lepejian grew up working in the darkroom with his father Isgo Lepejian, who was one of the top photography printers in Hollywood.”
While Baret Lepejian helped their staff make the transition to the digital age, Weiner says, “He encouraged us to preserve the intimate exchanges that occur when a photographer wants to express his or her vision on the printed page. It’s very personal to each photographer and artist, and we take their needs seriously. We believe in the process as much as the result.”
Veronica Thomas, A&I’s director of marketing and business development, says that, “Our Indigo press operators are wonderful. They are artists themselves, and play that machine line a violin.”
The quality of books produced by A&I Books was confirmed in a test conducted by the New York Chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. When they submitted an identical “test book” to 18 different print-on-demand publishers of photo books, the book produced by A&I Studios received the highest average score from the dozens of professionals who judged the quality of the 18 books without knowing which company produced them.