Without Photos, Does My Art Even Exist?
February 11, 2015
Recently I unpacked an old piece of work knowing it had never been photographed. Beautiful work that I loved -- and had shown in my own living room. But the work was never photographed ... and usually sat in it's box in a closet.
To my dismay and a wrenching insight, I realized that without photos, how would a collector, gallery, or exhibition ever know of their existence. In effect, outside my own memory, the work did not exist.
If an artwork isn't photographed nor documented, and no one sees it, does it exist in the age of information?
With no photos the work can't be shown on my website. I can't sell the work or tempt a collector without photos.
Without photos, if damaged, I can't even make an insurance claim. I am usually so cautious that even if work is being photographed for an exhibition, I have photos taken before it is shipped.
It turns my world upside down to think that for 11 years, these chocolate cups just sat in a box.
Then one step further. Professional quality photographs are necessary, if you want the photos to represent the quality of your work.
If you have not documented the work with your Inventory Record, then it is not part of your oeuvre. Yet, we want to be remembered for our work!
Documentation is everything in the age of information.
Chocolate Cups—Whitman’s & Godiva © 2003 Harriete Estel Berman
Two chocolate cups constructed using recycled tin cans from chocolate candy products. The cups are filled with luscious "hot chocolate" made from polyester resin. Additional materials include: 10k gold and aluminum rivets, brass and stainless steel screws.
Whitman’s Chocolate Cup: 6” height x 4.5” diameter base x 4.75” width at top
Godiva Chocolate Cup: 6” height x 5 5/8” diameter base x 3.75” width at top
Retail Price for each cup: $985
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen 2015
RESOURCES from the Professional Guidelines:
Guide to Quality Photographic Images
Inventory Record: Documentation and Provenance