The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps, art and culture

The photography site for sore eyes. Featuring: Art, photography, performance and theatre. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.

Do you support photography?

Like me, you are a self-confessed photography fan. I know this because you have found this blog. Something made you search for it. Maybe it was me, maybe it was a particular subject you searched for that I’ve documented or written about.

You have an interest in photography. You take pictures, you like looking at them. You like other people looking at your images – but do you really support the industry?

When you buy birthday cards, do you only pick up those which display a printed image? You should do, that is supporting photography.

Do you buy photobooks? Regularly? Have you ever even bought a print? Possibly you have not.

So, just how do you support photography? There are a lot of photography lovers whose love for photography stretches only as far as themselves. The only money they spend is on their own work. But if the photography fan does not support other photographers buy buying their products, how can we expect the unconverted to do the same?

Not a lot of people in Britain buy photobooks. A ‘big seller’ can actually sell as little as 2,000 copies. In my country, and I dare say the rest of the world, the idea of buying a photography book once a week or even once a month is alien to us. It just doesn’t happen.

Yet we think nothing of buying DVD movies every week. Some people pick them up at the supermarket during their weekly shop. For £10 a pop we buy the latest Hollywood blockbuster. We watch it and then leave on the shelf with all the others.

For just a few pounds more you could pick up an amazing photo book. A finely crafted hardback which you can return to year after year – and which often becomes increasingly valuable while DVDs become increasingly worthless until they are binned. You never throw away a good photo book.

I’ll let you into a little secret: Photobooks do not make money. Most are produced at great expense and huge effort in the hope that they will claw back costs. People produce photobooks not to become rich but to deliver something into the marketplace that others get great pleasure from.

The same goes for greeting cards, postcards, posters and anything else which is produced to show off photographs. They are there to give us pleasure – and we need to offer our support.

So the next time you’re browsing the DVD section on Amazon or in Tescos, spare a thought for the people putting in all their efforts to producing great photography books. Dump the DVD and invest in imagery.

TIP: The photobooks which are most likely to rise in value are those by a single artist. Compendiums or collectives on a single theme by unnamed photographers or groups of photographers are less collectable.

They can be quite nice though. And when you get good at buying the photo book you can enter the world of the self-published book where photos can be seen that would never otherwise escape the box under someone’s bed. It’s a brilliant place to browse.

FESTIVE MESSAGE: With Christmas coming up, now is the chance to bring the unconverted into the fold by handing them a photo book as a gift. They will love it and you will feel self-satisfied. Everyone’s a winner.

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2010 by in photo books, photogrphy.
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