[Alt-photo] casein printer

Diana Bloomfield dlhbloomfield at gmail.com
Thu May 29 14:14:23 UTC 2014

Hi Laura,

You are most definitely speaking to the choir here.  No explanation needed, and I'm totally with you on your 'consideration list.'  And-- yes-- more power to him (and his gallery) if he's actually getting those prices.  I was (and still am) aghast, though-- mainly because there are many very well known photographers (both dead and alive) whose iconic imagery -- while certainly costly-- do not command prices as high as that.  And while many people buy artwork just because they love it, and not for any investment potential, if I were spending that kind of money on artwork, I'd probably buy work that not only appealed to me more, but that was also classic and that probably (possibly) had more sound (stronger) investment potential.  But that's just my way of thinking.  Even a lot of very successful and well-known ("developed") painters and sculptors and amazing dead printmakers (Rockwell Kent, for instance) don't often command that kind of pricing.  So, in viewing the pricing along those lines-- yes-- I would say he's possibly over-the-top.  Of course-- if they are, indeed, 'flying off the walls' -- then I obviously have no idea what I'm talking about. ;)  

Finally, while I think creating something hand-crafted at the 30x40 size is impressive and nothing short of heroic-- and making only one print (no limited edition-- just one) is incredibly admirable-- I'm not sure size itself should be a deciding factor in pricing (though making only one should be).  Time and materials are more, of course, but not that much more.  And so much of the work that I see that really appeals to me (so much more)-- both old and new-- is quite small.  And I love all those old classic prints that typically were no more than 8x10 (and, even today, cost less).  For me, the image and the process -- how they mesh, the execution, and just the personal appeal-- matter more.  So-- I guess we go back to that  age-old question-- does size *really* matter?  :)   Sometimes I envision really large images that I see at 4x5 (that's in inches), and think-- would it have the same impact if it wasn't mural size?  In my opinion, if it's a strong image, it should.

Anyway . . . that's just my way of thinking.  But, hell yes, if he can get those prices for his work-- more power to him.


On May 29, 2014, at 9:25 AM, Laura V wrote:

> Diana, that seems like a lot of money at first glance (and of course it is) but when you consider several things (like how much is the gallery taking - 50%?, how much is he paying in taxes, materials and overhead, vs time spent in creating the images and prints as well as all the development into getting to this point) - is it really that outrageous? These prints are 4 times as big as my "large" prints so I know that's a lot of work and cost. I say good for him if he's actually making a decent living for his efforts.
> I'd also like to know it the work is "flying off the walls" though :)
> Laura
> On 5/28/14 4:20 PM, Diana Bloomfield wrote:
>> Interesting, Chris.  Thanks for sending this along.  Looking at his work-- which I do like-- and all the other artists' work at Gallery 339, I've come away with one thought.  We need to raise our prices.  Good grief. Even though he's making only one of these, are people really paying from $6,500 to $12,000+ for his images?  If so, that's both impressive and astonishing.  Admittedly, I've never heard of him-- which means absolutely nothing-- but in thinking about the value (actual cost and investment value), that seems over-the-top to me.   I'm sorry-- the price of these overshadowed the actual work- for me. ;)  Of course, looking at the prices of all the other artists on there, too-- gulp.  I would love to know if work is flying off the walls up there.
>> Diana
>> On May 28, 2014, at 12:07 PM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
>>> Dear All,
>>> Recently I was made aware of a man, Don Camp, who has been using casein for years. He mixes it with dust. He even has received a Guggenheim for his casein work, an NEA, and a Pew fellowship!
>>> Here is his bio on Gallery 339’s website:
>>> Don Camp began his career in photography as a talented newspaper photographer.  After ten years as a photojournalist, Camp sought a degree in the fine arts.  With his forceful, yet intimate, portraits of African American men, Camp quickly established himself as an important new voice in contemporary art. Camp holds both a BFA and an MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and is the subject of an American Artist Oral History at the Smithsonian Institute.  He has been honored for his work with a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.  Camp has exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Delaware Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Noyes Museum.  Camp's work is included in a number of important public and private collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. As an artist in residence, Camp is now an Assistant Professor at Ursinus College. Camp’s work is characterized by both the unique process he uses to produce his prints as well as his in depth exploration of the dignity and nobility that can be found in the human face.  Camp’s printing methods are based on early non-silver photographic development processes.  He has adapted these processes by using photosensitized earth pigments, essentially dust.  His materials invest his already powerful portraits with a profoundly tangible, human quality.   Camp works intently on each print, and he makes only one unique print for each subject.  In representing African American men, Camp has sought to contrast broadly held public views that narrow the face into stereotype.  More recently, his portrait series has expanded to include men and women of all races, acknowledging the struggle against ignorance and intolerance as a universal one.
>>> And here is a link to his work.
>>> http://www.gallery339.com/html/artistresults.asp?artist=25&artistname=Donald%20E.%A0Camp
>>> Chris
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