This post in the blog could enter into a category that would be called something like "why Ricardo does the things he does". One of those things that I do, as I think you already know, is to sell copies of my photos. I think it can be interesting to tell my experience and then each one can do with it what he or she desires.
For me, selling photos is one more leg of the table. That is, you do not survive on it exclusively, but the sale of a copy helps. It is one more thing. Who wants to get into the business of selling copies to live exclusively on it, takes it raw. Even the best sellers find it hard to live exclusively on the sale of images, if they ever get it. So the advisable thing is to have it as one more source of income. This is my opinion, of course.
A copy is comparable to an artistic work, this must be taken into account. And no, I'm not freaking out. Its artistic value, and therefore commercial, is linked to this consideration. Even if a photograph is a mechanically reproducible object, the copies of images have an aura of uniqueness, either because they are a limited number of copies, either because they were exposed at that site, because they were made at a certain moment, or because the photographer has signed with his handwriting on the back. But not only that, they have that aura of uniqueness because it is us, as spectators, that overturn in one way or another in that image our own being. We like that image, it attracts us, it takes us inside. And that is what for many makes it unique.
So when buying a copy, you buy something that goes beyond the mere image. You buy an emotion that you want to have at hand and feel it every time you see it. That, in my point of view, is its value. And that is paid, as is natural. The price will vary depending on the image itself, its tangible and verifiable history, the cache of the photographer, the place of sale, the moment in which the image and the sale are inscribed, the size of the copy and even the mode of printing and the material used for it.
But there is something else that goes on the basis of the image itself. The above is circumstantial to some extent and will vary for good or for bad. What I'm talking about is time. No, not if today is sunny. But of the time that the photographer has spent making that image, of what he has worked, studied and researched before so that at that particular moment he can and knows how to make that image. Because the images are made. We not only press the little button and that's it, Photography is not a Kodak advertisement. For the vast majority, yes, and it is very good. But for whom we dedicate ourselves to it 24/7, to live by and in spite of it, Photography is something more like a way of life. And this, for better or for worse, is reflected in every image we produce. Therefore, when selling copies of our photos, the value of this has a minimum from which it grows. And that minimum is our time. It is our own life if we want to be acute. But the damn thing is that it is like that. From there, it is the market that puts you in one place or another, the one that labels that image as an artistic product and, therefore, as a luxury product, with everything related to the concept of the luxury product.
About selling, you will sell a few times. Every now and then someone buys you. It's normal and it's something you have to prepare yourself if you want to sell copies of your photographs. The usual thing is that people do not buy them. From there, what you sell well sold will be. Even if you already have a certain name, a certain trajectory, the number of sales is not something in general. There are always exceptions. Then you always expect one of those exceptions to be you. And the damn thing is that it can be given, but for it to be given, it has to be worked at different levels. Nothing, even a lottery prize, comes free and for sure.
What have I done for, not to be able to be that exception someday, but to simply sell a copy? Vanity would answer that I've done everything, but in the end, I suppose you can always do something else. So the answer would be that you do what you can, which is the least you can do. I mainly sell them through my website. For a while through a beautiful online store with its degree of sophistication, but today with a somewhat more personal degree: you write to me, we talk and you take it. I think that personal point is important because if someone buys me, they really want to buy me a copy. This is not Ikea. And the proximity I think it is appreciated when it comes to selling and buying a copy. This is learned by giving you the occasional slap that drops you to the ground immediately. In my case that slap I think it was the desire for sophistication mentioned above with an online store, with all that entails, and trying to sell through spaces/stores/web galleries that, in my case, did little or nothing for me. From there you learn that, as in other facets of life, photography goes to receive a slap, learn from that and pull forward. Trial and error, as some would say. Today, as you can see, buying me copies is something closer, something more personal. I think it's better, in short.
What is the process of work, printing, shipping? A while ago I did it myself. I have a professional printer and some knowledge to be able to do it with a more than decent quality. In fact, I print my own copies and hang around the house. But, a slap through, there came a time when I wanted to climb a step or, to call it in some way, make things better, make a better product, so the copies had to be printed by professionals. I dedicate myself to take pictures, they print them. And everyone is happy. Then, I looked for the printers that could help me most in what I was looking for and ended up finding thePrintspace, in London, on a very long street that on one side it guides you to the Tower Bridge and on the other to White Hart Lane. Not only did they provide me with high-quality prints (and of course, with the attached documentation of the copy), but also an economically more sustainable means of sending perfectly prepared and packaged copies to anywhere in the world. We live in a globalized world and equally we can sell you who live in Valencia, to you who live in London or Paris or to you who live in Akron, Ohio. This can be a stick on the wheel or an advantage, I see it more like the latter. In the end, the internet is for more than just watching porn.
And you know it.
Still, with everything, dear friend photographer, you still want to sell photos? Still, with everything, dear friend of Photography, you still want to buy photos? That's good. It keeps freaking me out that someone has such a high opinion of any of my photos or that some of my images do touch the heart in someone so that they feel they should buy a copy. It flirts, flatters and excites me. I'm the typical one who does more photos thinking of himself than thinking of others, so knowing that photo had touched to someone other than me in the deepest is not only a pride and satisfaction but something that it does not stop amazing me. This is the rush that gives you to sell copies, more than vanity and ego, just know that someone is excited by what you do. I hope that never changes.
Take out the violins if you want, but believe me what happens. Photographers are strange beings, as strange as we see in a mirror when we look at ourselves. The difference is that we record it, often on paper. But what ends up uniting us with the rest of human beings is that we also need to eat.