Stocking or not stocking

posted on 27th of december, 2007

For a newby, an amateur, a raw meat like me to suddenly read that some think we should not be selling our photos comes accross like... surprising. But they do, there are lots of very good artists saying I shouldn't be one because I don't sell my pictures 500 apiece. And at that moment I get off my verbal sword.

I don't know if this is a subject in USA, but it is certainly a controversy here in Spain. A controversy which end result is already decided.

This is like the tomatoes problem. Now tomatoes don't taste and before they did. The why, they say, is the cheap tomatoes. No, you can find tasty tomatoes if you pay for them proportionally to what their cost was 50 years ago. And if you taste a real tomato once you might never again buy cheap ones, so what...

Selling photos, I am learning things about photography that I would have never learned otherwise. I would have never bought an artistic photo myself, but I could now and surely I could distinguish much better a good one from a bad one.

So all this photo-stocking is also creating a more informed market that would not exist otherwise.

When I was a boy and got interested in stamp collecting I was only able to trade bad stamps. One day someone bought from me a good stamp at a bargain price without my knowledge of its real price. So what... Does someone think that all the market will now find only master pieces at 1 dollar apiece by looking around and that all photo masters will be jobless because they need to sell their work at 1 dollar? Come on, that's a far fetched argument if I ever saw one and one far from real world.

What can happen, what I think that does happen is that in a big market even the masters need to know how to sail their way in promotion and positioning their qualities and it is not enough to make a work of art, it needs to be a work of art that sales too and one that sales to the potential buyer for that type of work of art.

Art is a quality of communication and if someone doesn't want to buy it is a comment on the communication capacity of that art. To increase quality more and more without communication is the curse of the "artist" who doesn't sale. The other end of this binomy is communication alone without quality and neither extreme is art.

Photo stocking we do learn a lot of this the hard way, magnificent photos (we believe) get rejected, not enough quality or didn't communicate; it doesn't matter what we think.

If quality was the reason for reject, but quality is present in the photo, don't worry, another stock will take it. But communication is either received or not received and the opinion of the sender (the artist) counts half a peanut.

So I don't sell my pictures at 500$ per copy, but I have a chance and if I ever make it, the stocks would have helped making an artist, a real one, one with quality and one who can communicate. Because of my age and my other interests this is not easy to happen, but I sure know it will happen to many others, maybe you who are reading me. And in such a case, you'll be a real artist, one who communicate and call sell your photos and one with the quality to charge 500$ per copy. That's my wish for you.

And when this happens, don't forget that stocking your first photos was the first step that made the second step easier to climb.

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Photo credits: 1enriquesniper.

About me

I became a photo lover through the work of some photographers in Nat Geo and other specialized mags. I bought an AE1 with the first money I ever made and the digital era has boosted my interest and possibilities.

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