We would like to introduce the Unseen Collection, an exclusive collection of works contributed by participating galleries at the Unseen Photo Fair. This collection will consist of more than 60 works, each of which will be sold for less than 1,000 euro. In anticipation of the Unseen Collection, to be viewed at Unseen from 19-23 September, we will feature one work of the collection every Wednesday. Today, we feature work by German photographer Ralph Baiker (1969), to be represented by Mirko Mayer Gallery. In addition, we asked Florentine Haverkamp, Manager of Foam Editions, the limited editions gallery of photography museum Foam, to tell us more about what to consider when starting a photography collection.
RALPH BAIKER / MIRKO MAYER GALLERY
C-print, mounted, framed
50 x 50 cm
€ 750 incl VAT
What are important things to consider when starting a photography collection, or purchasing your very first photograph? Can you tell us a little more about editions?
[Florentine Haverkamp] If you are thinking of starting a photography collection, there are a couple of things you need to know/need to do. First, get out there. Have a closer look at the work of photographers. Go to galleries, museums, auction houses and art fairs to find out what you like. Try to meet other collectors, keep your eyes and ears open, and talk to them, ask them about their experiences. Then, if you see something you are interested in, start doing some research: Has work by this artist been published? Has his or her work been exhibited before? Is the work representative of his/her oeuvre, or does it stand out? Find out about the edition. An edition is the number of prints made from a single negative. Limited editions, like we have here at the gallery, refer to a fixed number of prints in a particular size and format. The maximum number of editions is usually 20, but most of the works here are an edition of 5 up to 15. Be aware that some editions are scaled in price. In that case, when more prints are sold, the prints remaining become rare and therefore increase in price. It may, then, be an advantage to buy one of the first editions.
Are there any other factors that affect the price of a photograph, other than edition number?
Yes, of course. The reputation of the photographer is important. Fame is a factor but quality of the work remains paramount as does the consistency of the photographers' work. Size is a factor. Larger prints require more elaborating printing techniques and are, therefore, more expensive - there are exceptions, for example, if you think about historical work. Subject matter may also affect the price. An iconic figure like Marilyn Monroe is still very popular today. Lastly, price takes into consideration rarity of the work, condition of the work (i.e. physical condition and the quality of printing) and of course, provenance. Provenance is proof that a particular photographer produced that work. Any print without positive proof of authorship will be reduced in value. Make sure that you receive a certificate or label with a signature of the photographer and number of the edition, when purchasing a work.
Any last advice for first-time buyers of photography?
The most important thing when buying photography is that you really love the work!
Florentine Haverkamp is Manager of Foam Editions, the limited editions gallery of photography museum Foam. The gallery presents a well-considered selection of signed prints by young talent photographers at attractive prices in addition to asking internationally acclaimed photographers who have had an exhibition in the museum or who have been published in Foam Magazine to make a work especially for the gallery. Foam Editions can be found at Vijzelstraat 78 in Amsterdam. Visit their website to purchase work online.