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Thread: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    I was in Santa Fe last week at the Andrew Smith gallery and seriously considering buying an exquisite entry level 'Ansel' original or an Elliot Porter & Christopher Burkett combo package.

    My pragmatic side says buy the $8k Ansel 8x10 because (a) I liked the image and (b) if pretty it's probably as good an investment as you can get. However, I loved the Eliot Porter (it's one of his book covers) and I already collect Christopher Burkett's images but they'll only really appreciate when tragedy strikes.

    What would you do? Common sense sense says buy the Ansel original, plus my photo buddies can say that they know a friend with an original ... what would you do?
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 14th January 2015 at 23:21.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Seeing a Porter in real life inspired me to get my first camera.

    But I dunno. It would still depend on the images.

    --Matt

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    what would you do?
    Since I am down with a damaged knee, i will bite.

    I have heard (~year 2000) from a friend of mine about Ansel autographing a print (for $10/piece, "original") for his Sierra club while he was alive.

    A couple of years later, on a visit to Kodak, saw a friend who was working there at that time filling his walls with 8X10 contact prints with his own images that were very much influenced by Mr. Adams. He had unlimited supply of photographic materials and processing facilities.

    If the idea of getting a print is looked at as a monetary investment, I will get the ones from a living artist.

    If that isn't the case, I will spend my cash on travel and attending workshops.
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Usually, when I pururchase an art work, it is for the enjoyment of seeing it and having it be part of my surroundings and my life. On occasion, though, I have purchased art with an eye on value appreciation. In my experience, the pieces I have purchased for enjoyment reward me over and over; the pieces purchased for value appreciation are just there, and I probably would have enjoyed looking at an investment account statement just as much.

    If I found an investment piece that also made my heart sing, I would buy it… for the enjoyment. And, if I enjoy it that much, I am not very likely to sell it --- even if it appreciates.

    As they say, though, YMMV.

    John
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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    For what it's worth, the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Nat'l Park still sells "Yosemite Special Edition" silver gelatin prints and they're not terribly expensive. At the time of my visit, they had both an original and one of these Special Editions on display under the same lighting, and I think the latter held it's own save that it was smaller. I've owned a trio of the things for years, but to be honest, no single image holds my attention forever.

    What I love about some of Adams's work is knowing how fleeting some of the moments were, yet he absolutely nailed them. If money were no object, one photo I might really love might not be an iconic piece like "Moonrise over Hernandez", but a snap he took of Georgia O'Keefe using a handheld 35mm camera.

    But the most recent photo to stop me dead in my tracks was by a photographer unknown to me until now: Masahisa Fukase.

    The Solitude of Ravens by Masahisa Fukase - Aves Noir | Aves Noir
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Tragic story coming :

    My wife of 33 years brought a 16x20 Adams original of Clearing Winter Storm into the relationship. She and her ex had purchased that print, and Moonrise Over Hernandez, several years before. In the split, the images were divided based on the preference of each at the time of purchase. Moonrise was more money at time of purchase (by $400 I believe), but that was "his" print and Clearing was her preference at time of purchase.

    My wife and I were building a home as newlyweds, and soon had a daughter on the way, so guess what got sold to fund part of the new home? Yep, Clearing was sold to a gallery in Carmel, CA. It was helpful at the time, but it sure would be a pleasure to see it on the wall now. I believe her ex (still friends) still has his Moonrise print. He also had a number of 8x10 student prints which were Adams signed or initialed (16 prints). Very nice stuff to enjoy on one's walls.

    Edit to add: Trying to recall, we believe the two 16x20 prints were purchased for $1,200 and $1,600 respectively (Moonrise being more expensive). The purchase was probably ~36-37 years ago. The student prints were purchased first, then purchased the two 16x20s shortly thereafter.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 15th January 2015 at 14:01.

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Buy what you enjoy and will hang on the wall. I would not buy for the investment.

    But for an investment, Adams would be the bigger name, but it also depends on the number of the edition. Porter has really fallen out of favor in the art world--people really don't appreciate what he did.

    I would rather be able to say I know someone with a Chagall or van Gogh. Why not get one of those?
    Will

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    I'd go for the AA print just because it's his not necessary as an investment. You can also buy from someone you know (shameless plug) that while not as expensive they are beautiful nevertheless.

    Don Libby
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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    My heart says like Will, buy what looks good on the wall.

    My head says, buy the image/s that could go crazy and appreciate substantially in years to come. I'll loan you my crystal ball.

    $8K does buy a lot of camera gear.

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Don, I think you are on to something.

    Graham, that Adam's print is $100 a square inch. I'll sell you a print at $50 dollars a square inch. I mean, really, how many of your friends have one of my prints--talk about bragging rights (and I throw those in for nothing)!
    Will

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Well, I already have a couple of "Libby's" already, albeit tiles that I won in a raffle at Ken's house.

    Interesting thoughts and comments here. I definitely would only buy what I like to look at and enjoy. That is criteria #1. The Ansel print was really nice too and truly one of his, not a certified print from negatives that you can get much more affordably - and nice as they are, it's important to me that the print was produced by the artist master himself.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    I bought my Ansel out of the back of his station wagon somewhere around 1965.
    I think it cost me $35.00 at the time which my father thought was outrageous.
    -bob
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    ...which my father thought was outrageous.
    -bob
    Well, if you think about it, he was right...

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Ansel was probably glad for the $35 in 1965 ...
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Years ago when I was doing Pt/Pd photography, I bought a beautiful Pt/Pd picture of some ranunculus in a vase. I bought it so that I had a level of technical expertise to aspire. While I don't do that kind of photography anymore, I still greatly enjoy the print. It was a very limited print by an unknown artist and was very expensive so I likely overpaid, but I do enjoy its beauty.

    Another time, mid 1990s I believe, I traded a Nikon LF lens to John Sexton for a couple of his prints. While those have appreciated and the lens has not, I suppose that I did well in that regard. They are lovely prints and I can also aspire to achieve that level of technical expertise even with digital printing.

    Joel

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Porter was my original inspiration to start photography -- one of his fall tree shots on a poster somewhere. But shortly thereafter, to see and capture like Ansel did became my goal.

    I'd buy the Adams.

    But for net collectibility, I'd probably be looking at Westons.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    The Andrew Smith Gallery did have a couple of Edward Weston prints too. They were simply the most exquisite B&W prints that I've ever seen, and making Ansel's images look like they were printed using charcoal vs 1000's of subtle tones. However, they were both $500k out of my range
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Buy an Ansel or several other images?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    However, they were both $500k out of my range
    Maybe you'll find some at a garage sale one day
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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