Viewing entries tagged
David Hilliard

Comment

Collecting Stories Part 6: To Theme or Not to Theme?

This series chronicles my (and I hope soon others') journey to becoming an art collector, with the goal of demystifying the whole concept of collecting. As you will see, I do not have an art history background, and I do not have Picassos covering my walls. There are just pieces of art that I love, and I buy them. That is collecting. See? Not so scary.

Previous installments in this series discussed how I started buying art, some embarrassing early purchases, how I learned about editioning, and building relationships with the artists I collect. In this post, I'd like to talk about themes in art collections. Many collectors I know have themes they collect within as a way to narrow their focus - photographs of musicians, black and white street photography, still lifes. . . anything really. Some may focus on a very specific time range and origin (1890-1920 American paintings, for example). But can you collect without a theme?

Hells yes. My theme has been the "everything I love" theme. And it is diverse, because my tastes range from straight documentary-style portraits to dreamy, etherial images to just about anything that makes me feel something. However, over time I have realized there are some types of images I am drawn to over and over again. My former gallery manager once pointed out my over-the-top affinity for forlorn women and birds. I also love beds and windows and intense portraits, often of rough-around-the-edges men. I don't only collect these things, I just tend to be drawn to them. I do have a bird room though (after my husband said, "can you at least put all of that bird sh*t in one place?").

an recent image of a wall in my bird room (rearranged constantly),   featuring Joshua Meier , Rachel Chabot, Tristan Spinski, Christian Bradley West, Angela Bacon Kidwell (x2), Kathleen Robbins, John Bohannon,   not pictured: Keith Carter, Randi Lynn Beach

an recent image of a wall in my bird room (rearranged constantly), featuring Joshua Meier , Rachel Chabot, Tristan Spinski, Christian Bradley West, Angela Bacon Kidwell (x2), Kathleen Robbins, John Bohannon, not pictured: Keith Carter, Randi Lynn Beach

I love white on white or mostly white images, and I recently realized I had quite a few of these and/or snow photographs. Recognizing a mini-theme, I decided to hang several of them together, similar to my bird room.

clockwise from top left: Ben Huff, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore, Daniel Coburn, Maureen Drennan (waiting on another piece. . .)

clockwise from top left: Ben Huff, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore, Daniel Coburn, Maureen Drennan (waiting on another piece. . .)

And then when I purchased my beloved David Hilliard, Anna Walker Skillman (owner of Jackson Fine Art) suggested I hang other photos with kids in them (seems I had a bunch of those too) on the wall with it.

counter-clockwise from the top left: Brandon Thibodeaux, Mark Steinmetz, Daniel Coburn, Daniel Coburn, Joshua Meier, Mark Steinmetz, David Hilliard

counter-clockwise from the top left: Brandon Thibodeaux, Mark Steinmetz, Daniel Coburn, Daniel Coburn, Joshua Meier, Mark Steinmetz, David Hilliard

So don't get hung up on rules. Just buy what you love!

Comment

Comment

Minor Matters - Publishing Innovation That Matters

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 9.02.52 AM
Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 9.02.52 AM

I first heard rumblings about Minor Matters Books, the new imprint by publishing veteran Michelle Dunn Marsh, earlier this year, but it wasn't until I read this PDN article over the summer that I fully understood the concept.  It's a brilliant win-win(-win) for the artist, publisher, and audience. More and more it seems that photographers are asked to bring a large sum of money to the table in order to get their photobook published.  In essence, the photographer is fronting all of the hard costs of the publishing, and in return they receive a certain number of books that they can sell (without the help of a distributor, like the publisher has) on their own.  If the photographer can sell all of their copies (at galleries, exhibitions, independent bookstores that will buy direct from the artist), they have a chance to recoup most of their investment.

While there are valid reasons for a photographer to want to participate in this scenario, this model definitely economically favors the publisher.  But a publisher with a "pay to play" reputation begs the question - are the books they publish truly the best of contemporary photography today, or just the best of who can afford it?

Minor Matters Books takes a new approach.  They are combining crowdfunding with careful curation in a way that is collaborative, fun, and really smart.  Here's how it works (from the Minor Matters Books website):

In collaboration with each artist, we develop a $50 book, then present it to you, our audience, for a maximum of six months. When at least 500 of you make an advanced purchase, the book goes into design and production, and will be shipped to you upon completion (no more than a year from the book’s initial launch on the site). The first 500 people who purchase are listed within the book, along with the artists, writers, and printers who are part of making the book happen.

This model tests the market for the book before the book is published.  It also engages and helps build the audience for the artist.  I have loved David Hilliard's work for years, and while I probably would have gotten around to buying his photobook once it came out, it was thrilling to be one of the people to actually help make it happen.  And I become a co-publisher!  I feel even more invested in him and his photography, which is something a crowdfunding model can do that ordering a book on Amazon cannot match.

Oh, sweet innovation.

Comment