Paper — Come Get Some

Volunteers, Green County, Alabama, 1992 by Kenneth Jarecke (vintage silver gelatin print)

Photographs are best seen on paper. Books, which are made of paper, do this well.

If you’re looking for a great book this holiday season, grab a copy of Arthur Grace’s latest. It shows moments he captured of his friend Robin Williams. It’s an excellent example of long-term documentary photojournalism from a personal perspective. Personal documentary photographs of a very public figure, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Speaking of books, I read one today. Well, not really. I read the review of a book today. The book is about how analog is making a comeback of sorts, but also how analog has never really left us. Or something along those lines.

I don’t have to read it Dottie, I lived it.

Oh photography, how we’ve cheated both you and ourselves. The greatest examples of photography are readily available to us today. Boom, right there online, whoever you want. Avedon, I see you. Brassai, I got you dog. Terry Richardson, you call that a perfume ad? So gross.

Just Another War, 1992, by Exene Cervenka and Kenneth Jarecke

Yeah, we can see you, but we don’t really get you. There’s no real commitment on our part. It’s too easy. Without an investment, without a barrier to entry we take you for granted far too easily. That’s where books, prints, polaroids, newspapers, and magazines come in. That’s where you get to really experience a photograph. To be sure, it’s also tactile thing. Holding something in your hand forces you to really examine it.

That’s why the analog version will always be valuable. It does what digital can never do. It has value because it exists, in the real world. There’s no need for a high-tech intermediary. All you need is a set of eyes.

Books are ideal. Unlike magazines or newspapers, they usually display the images closely to how the photographer intended. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive. Prints are good as well, because they are the actual work of the photographer, not a representation, but the original expression of the work in the way that the artist intended.

Beijing Opera, 2007 by Kenneth Jarecke (two pigment prints)

Pigment prints, the analog endgame of the digital process, are truly amazing. They’re somewhat easy to produce, relatively archival, represent the photographer’s vision as well as or even more so than their darkroom equivalent, and they’re collectable.

Two Bathers, NYC, 1990 by Kenneth Jarecke (vintage silver gelatin print)

A vintage silver print is like real estate, nobody’s making any more of it. That’s why they’re expensive and highly sought after by collectors and museums. They also have a visual quality that hasn’t quite been duplicated by inkjet printers yet.

One of the biggest strengths of photography is that the medium is easily reproduced. If the prints are made by the creator (or closely supervised by him or her) then you’re getting an original. The print is the final representation of the photographer’s vision as it was meant to be seen.

I like to sell prints. It’s one of the main ways I earn a living.

My prints are priced in the mid-range of what you’ll find in the photography market. I think they’re priced about right. Not so high as to never sell or keep most people completely out of the market, or so low as to flood the market and destroy their value. Each year at this time I do a sale of some kind. This year I’ve got a coupon which saves the buyer 30%, which puts my prints, for a short time, into the bargain category.

You can see my work here.

Use the coupon code HOLIDAY2016, which is good until December 13, 2016.

There are many other photographers doing holiday print sales, so shop around. Buy something you’ll cherish, and pick up a few books as well.

I speak for all photographers (and artists) when I say your patronage is greatly appreciated and crucial in helping us continue to produce great work.

Have a blessed and wonderful holiday!

(My apologies to photographers producing work on metal. Your stuff rocks. For those of you producing work on canvas, including Richard Prince… not so much.)