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  #1  
Old 02-11-2012, 04:34 PM
natural natural is offline
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Sculpture for Photography

Itís been a long time since Iíve posted on this board but Iím looking for some wisdom.
I recently entered a piece in a local art competition/charity auction. Since it was the only 3d piece they got, they photographed it so it would be represented on the wall along with the other entries. I really liked the photo which they originally offered to me. Half way through the bidding they came to me and asked if I would mind them selling the photograph, it went for quite a bit more than I expected. I usually donít think that photography of sculpture is good for more than marketing the original piece. Most sculpture (at least of mine) is no more inherently interesting as subject matter for art photography than tree bark(I like pictures of tree bark) but I think Iíve hit on something with this current series Iím working on. So now Iím inspired to make some work specifically to be photographed and market the photos. So my question is to those who feel theyíve successfully marketed photos of their work.

Did you hire a photographer, collaborate with one, or become a photographer?
Did the revenue from the photography effect the value(your pricing) of the original sculpture? Up or down? Do you figure your sculpting costs/time in the value of the photos?
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2012, 11:56 PM
Robson Valley Robson Valley is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

I've actually made good money in B&W photography and in watercolor paintings.
I do nothing but 4x5 B&W and print my own to 16" x 20". My water color paintings are $60/square foot.

To sell photographs of my carvings, several points come to mind:
1. Verticals are better, smaller footprint on the wall.
2. Nothing less than 16" x 20" (8" x 20" etc) for less than $80 unframed,
$300+ framed.
3. Very striking, angular, severe lighting to show off the dimension.

Just ideas but they work for me.
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  #3  
Old 02-12-2012, 06:34 PM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

Interesting concept. Reminded me of those photos of the eagles (gargoyles on the Chrysler building by Margaret Bourke-White, let's just say "et.al" because I thought Stieglitz did a few.) I usually think in terms of photos and sculpture when it is "architecture + photos" Sculpture though absolutely lends itself to photos. Henry Moore. Those are mountain like objects. Solid. With form. With Presence.
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  #4  
Old 02-12-2012, 07:09 PM
Robson Valley Robson Valley is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

KatyL: the lighting will make or break the photograph.

Also, what I implied but didn't say outright is that I wouldn't dream
of photographing sculpture in color. It allows the mind of the viewer
to make some glossy and unstudied assumptions.
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  #5  
Old 02-13-2012, 05:34 AM
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racine racine is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

primitive peoples around the world that fear the camera for stealing their souls are probably right.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2012, 11:18 AM
Robson Valley Robson Valley is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

Here in the Pacific Northwest, I observe that a lot more was stolen, including children for residential schools, jail time for potlaches and the gift in return was smallpox.
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2012, 11:44 AM
natural natural is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

Hey, thanks for the replies, I didnít mean to post and not get back here. Iím having some problems with attachments to show where Iím going with this.

Interesting thought on the black and white R.V.. I disagree in this case as the pieces Iím working on are fabricated steel still lifes. In black and white I loose the feel of the material so my toothpaste, for instance, could be actual toothpaste instead of forged steel. What Iím trying to capture is the surrealistic aspect of normally nonmetallic objects in kind of industrial, fabricated steel. As Iíve started working on the photography aspect Iím tempted to include models interacting with them, squeezing the toothpaste, reaching for a steel cookie, etc.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2012, 01:24 PM
Robson Valley Robson Valley is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

Well, the B&W is just a format (4x5) that I'm really comfortable with in 50 yrs of experience. I'm no Ansel Adams by a long shot. However, I do live in a spectacular, mountainous part of the world where I still do some landscape photography. I'm doing more and more of objects closer to me = slabs of slate, cavities left by missing pyrite crystals, etc. . . . maybe some peaks sneak into the background.

The stock photographer, Rohn Engh, explained why some of my prints sold by the dozens and others not at all:
a) the subject and scale are not terribly important as long as that is recognizable.
b) the presence of people in the picture destroys the ability of the viewer to fantasize about "being there."
c) the mind will juggle shades of gray, trying to assign color. If the answer is obvious (snow, apple, orange, banana, etc), the image is more appealing. I suspect that your fabricated steel would be here, as well.
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2012, 03:52 PM
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Chris_Johns Chris_Johns is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

I certainly think that photography is an extremely useful skill for a sculptor. Presenting good, represenative images of sculpture is often a problem and, as you suggest in your original post it's sometimes hard to really capture an abstract three dimensional object in a single images.

For me, therefore, it makes sense to do as much as you can to take control of that process yourself. There's a reasonable argument that the sculptor is in as good a position as anybody to successfully capture their own work in a single image.

I also think that photography, as a process, nicely compliments sculpture. I certainly find that when you're working on making objects for hours on end there can be a tendency to develop a sort of tunnel vision and photography seems a good way to reconnect with how it relates to its wider environment.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2012, 03:04 PM
Robson Valley Robson Valley is offline
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Re: Sculpture for Photography

I'd be approaching the project from the photographer's perspective (no pun intended). I have a little point&shoot digital.

My 4x5 cameras have independently movable fronts and backs with all movements (rises, rotation, twists and shift translation) which give me the freedom to control composition and any and all perspective distortions. Plus, there's a 4" x 5" ground glass so you can watch the effects of the movements. I can alter the plane of focus and depth of field to suit any object.
Really rather standard stuff which has been abandoned by the digital crowd.

So, I set up and manipulate the camera to your satisfaction. Close the shutter, select a single sheet of useful film, pop that into the back and away we go.
1/125 - 15 seconds, all the same to me. We could shoot a Paranoid 4x5 and have a look at a positive in a minute.
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