Artist Proof Prints traditionally were test prints that photographers made
when trying to make the perfect print. Older print processes like Cibachrome
and black and white darkroom printing have a manual component to the process
which inevitably leads to a lot of variance from print to print. In the digital
era, that is largely an irrelevant concept with the advent of monitor
calibration and color profiling.
Artist Proof Prints these days generally serve a different purpose. A/P
Prints are sometimes withheld from sales and kept as part of the
photographer’s personal collection. “Artist-Proof
Editions” are generally a marketing strategy to charge more for a print
particularly if the print is identical to the non-Artist Proof Edition prints.
There is also a benefit to having higher-priced items even if they never sell;
it makes everything else look like a bargain by comparison.
Let’s answer some questions here:
Should I buy an Artist Proof Edition print? Speaking for
myself, I have a collection of prints that I never intend to sell. These
prints were truly test prints and not up to the standard of what I would
normally offer for sale on my websites. I might have been testing a new
paper or struggling to work out some shadow details and needed to see how
it would print before making a decision on how to proceed. I have real
Artist Proof Prints. I just won’t be selling them. Maybe
you’ll find them at my estate sale someday.
If Artist Proof Edition prints are identical to Limited Edition
Prints then what makes them special? Other than sounding more
exclusive there is nothing particularly special. There is a lot of smoke
and mirrors when it comes to the art world. If I were to offer an Artist
Proof Edition someday I would process a special version of the photo and
make it an edition of 1 rather than make up bogus carbon-copy edition
Do Artist Proof Editions cost more than standard print
editions? Generally, yes. I believe that’s the point. The
purpose is to increase the perceived value of the print. Whether or not
there is real added value is up for debate.
Want to be notified if I change my mind about artist proof edition
photography prints someday?
Sign up for my mailing list. I promise I won’t email more than once a
month. Probably less frequent than that.
Fine art photography prints by Richard Wong. This online gallery features my photography from the past two decades. In addition to showcasing my fine art prints, fineartphotographyprints.com was created as an educational resource to answer common questions for prospective art collectors. I mainly specialize in landscape, nature and travel photography. My photography has been published worldwide and I have publishing credits in many different publications. My fine art photography prints have sold to private collectors, art consultants and business owners. Exclusive limited-edition prints and premium open-edition prints are available for purchase. Please reach out to me via phone or email if I can assist you with your art installation project.