August 6th, 2013

Now in Beta: Amazon’s Platform for Selling Fine-Art Prints

Amazon-Fine-Art-Print-Cartier-BressonAmazon, the online retailer, has launched the beta version of its new online marketplace for photographic prints. You can take a look here.

Amazon is currently offering over 5,000 photographic prints on the site. Like other goods that are advertised on the Amazon marketplace, fulfillment is handled by another retailer — in this case, art galleries.  If you’ve ever shopped for a hairdryer or a wristwatch on Amazon, you know how it works: A breakdown of categories and prices appears on the left. Click on “Photographs” and Amazon lets you sort them by medium (C-prints, silver gelatin photographs, archival digital photographs), subject (architecture, nature, fashion, people) and “style,” which Amazon defines by terms such as Art Photography, Digital Art, Modern Art, Postmodern & Contemporary Styles. You can also set the price range you would like to browse.

The highest priced print on the site is a one-of-a-kind print by Dieter Blum; it’s $120,000. The site also offers a set of four images, the 32nd in an edition of 35, by Ed Ruscha; it’s offered for $80,000, and is sold through the Richard Levy Gallery (which is selling 43 images on the site by many photographers including Gregory Crewdson). A $75,000 Julius Shulman on the site and a $50,000 print of Sebastiao Salgado’s image “Bombay, India, (Churchgate Station), 1995” are being sold through Fahey/Klein Gallery, which has 171 images on Amazon. The edition sizes of the Shulman and the Salgado are not listed. The least expensive prints on the site sell for under $30.

Other photographers whose prints are sold through Amazon include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mark Laita, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Vik Muniz, Michael Kenna, Julie Blackmon, Harry Benson, William Abranowicz, Camille Seaman and Jennifer Shaw. Among the participating galleries are Modernbook Gallery, Oxenberg Fine Art, Holden Luntz Gallery, RoGallery, Afterimage Gallery and Soulcatcher Studio.

It seems that customers will also be able to post reviews of the works once they’ve bought them.  Are you at all curious to know how the buyer of a Julius Shulman “rates” that purchase? We think we might cringe reading it.

*Photo, above: The Amazon page that displays “On the Banks of the Marne, France” by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Photo © Henri Cartier-Bresson/courtesy Fahey/Klein Gallery.

Related Articles:
How To Sell Your Photos Professionally

A Guide to Pricing Your Prints

October 25th, 2012

PPE 2012: Stephen Shore on Challenging Photography’s Conventions

In the 1970s, Stephen Shore, then a young photographer with one museum show to his credit, had dinner with Ansel Adams, the legendary landscape photographer. In the course of their conversation, Shore realized that he had no interest in taking beautiful pictures,  but only in “exploring the medium of photography.” During his keynote speech on the first day of PhotoPlus Expo, Shore shared roughly four decades of work exploring what a photo is, how a photographer creates a photographic image, and how the two dimensional picture plane conveys so much, including an illusion of three dimensional space, a reference to a place and a time, a wealth of cultural and historical references, and more.

One of Shore’s earliest encounters with photography came when he was eight years old and an uncle, seeing how much Shore enjoyed his darkroom kit, gave him a copy of Walker Evans’ American Photographs. “To say I was influenced by Walker Evans misses the point,” Shore said. “I feel a spiritual kinship with him.” Many of Evans’ interests, including his documentation of American culture and architecture, and his fascination with vernacular imagery, have also preoccupied Shore throughout his career. Shore noted that Evans’ work is a “paradigm” in the original, scientific sense of the word: unprecedented, but also open ended, allowing others to follow and continue the path the originator of the paradigm has forged.

The images Shore exhibited in his first show in 1971, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, were highly conceptual, and inspired by the work of Ed Ruscha. At the same time, however, Shore was fascinated by vernacular images, and with two friends, he mounted an exhibit made up of police photos, press photos, pornography confiscated by a police officer in Amarillo, Texas, and postcards.